MICHAEL REAGAN: Child Porn Is Child Abuse. I Know Because It Happened to Me

On December 1 Salon.com published an article that suggests that exposure to pornography can help protect children from exposure to sex abuse. -- This is something like teaching children to be pickpockets in order to prevent them from living a lifetime of crime. -- The article's headline “Could child porn prevent abuse?” cites a controversial study published by a University of Hawaii researcher in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. It proposes the outlandish idea that the availability of child pornography can prevent child sex abuse.

The author of the study, University of Hawaii professor Milton Diamond, is so convinced by the so-called evidence that he recommends it could be beneficial to society to make digitally manipulated kiddie porn more widely available. "They can do it artificially and if that reduces child sex crimes, I think that is a plus," he said.
As a survivor of child sex abuse and child pornography, I am, as we should all be, outraged by this patently absurd proposal that would put innocent children at risk.

When I was a mere eight-year-old boy I was sexually abused for an entire year of my childhood life. In addition to the horrific abuse my abuser took child porn photographs of me and had me develop them at his apartment.

He put his hand on my shoulder and said “wouldn’t your mother like a copy.”

My childhood ended at that moment.

Five years ago I wrote a book “Twice Adopted” in which I described what an sexually abused child goes through. Today it is used as a training manual at for Arrow Child & Family Ministries and is meant to help those that deal with the children better understand what we go through at the hands of an abuser.

Some 300, 000 children a year are taken from their homes because of neglect and abuse. The most horrific crime that can done to a child is sexual abuse. The ridiculous idea is that you can stop abuse by allowing digital child porn. I was a real child exposed to child pornography and it almost killed me.

To this day I remember everything and it still hurts because it cost me my childhood.

Child pornography is one of the most overlooked forms of child abuse that exists. This is due in part to the misconception that these victims are willing participants.

It is estimated that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 children sexually exploited in the United States. Make no mistake this is child abuse. Ask our law enforcement agents who arrest child molesters and most will tell you they found them in possession of child pornography. One detective in the Los Angeles Police Department estimated that of the 700 child molesters arrested over 10 years, more than half had child pornography in their possession and about 80% owned either child or adult pornography.

The effects of pornography on children specifically and society as a whole are quite obvious. Almost all agree, even the researchers from this study, that in the case of child pornography, where a real child is videotaped or photographed there is always a victim.

Most would also agree the effects are similar for the victims whose pictures have been altered and their face is superimposed on an adult body. However, there is the other way in which children are abused by this industry. Potential sexual abuse victims are “groomed” by their abusers. Many times this process involves exposure to child pornography. The perpetrator uses guilt and eventually brainwashes these vulnerable young minds that this is normal activity for children.

The most mind boggling suggestion from this Salon article is that computer generated images might serve a greater good.

Make no mistake, this is evil, our entire society suffers. Whether these are real children, enhanced photos or digitally produced, all foster an addiction that provides absolutely no value to our society and destroys the very fabric of America.

As Mark Tennant, Chairman/CEO of Arrow Child & Family Ministries has said: “we must stand against this extreme and flawed ideology or we will pay the price with the lives of our children.”

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of Ronald Reagan, is a child issues advocate who supports the Michael Reagan Center for Advocacy and Research through Arrow Child and Family Ministries. He is also chairman and founder of The Reagan Group, The Reagan Legacy Foundation and The Reagan Report.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is a political consultant, founder and chairman of The Reagan Group, and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. He is the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). Visit his website at www.reagan.com.