What's Wrong with This Statement?

By Jeanne Sarson | Jul 4, 2011

What is wrong with the wording “having sex with a 2- to 3-month-old baby” that is in a newspaper article describing an U.S. Army major accused of raping an infant? This is the question I want to shout out at the world of media reporting. Over and over I read similar statements in column after column of newspaper reporting, words describing that an adult, parent or non-parent, has committed sexualized rape, even sexualized torture, against a baby or older child, as “having sex”. How is it that in 2011 news reporters and editors think that such wording is appropriate? This wording is a form of misopedic objectification and sexualization of a victimized infant. Misopedic is an ancient word referring to the disregard or hatred of children. It is not only absolutely wrong; it is also harmful to refer to the rape of an infant or child as “sex”.

According to one Canadian report, it is the girl child that is the predominate victim of sexualized violence. This report assessed 4,110 pedophilic images taken from 15,662 websites hosting child pornography and showed that girls were in 83% of the pedophilic images; 9.8% of the violent images involved newborns and toddlers and these images were becoming increasingly prevalent. Some images involved necrophilia and 111 (2.7%) children suffered torture, bestiality and “bondage”. Even the use of the word bondage is sexualized.

When did such psychological distortions and corruption begin? I have read that some sociologists are of the opinion that the first relational taboo of our species was about sexualized violence against children. Such a taboo, of course, meant that sexualized violence inflicted by adults against their own children or other children was not to be discussed—in other words, the taboo was organized to hide and silence the reality of sexualized violence against children.

Such a taboo is still enacted within some family systems, some intergenerational, which inflict all forms of sexualized violence against children. This reality plays out much like whistle-blowing because often when one child tries to tell on a family system, the system including other victimized children, respond by trying to silence and discredit the ‘whistle-blower’. This taboo is still effectively inflicted as one of the most dominant threats used by pedophilic perpetrators. Over and over, Linda and I hear from mostly women, but a few men, who were so victimized, that they were always threatened never to tell because no one would believe them. And often this is the reality, although I think education on child victimization is starting to break down the willful social denial and taboo regarding the degree of sexualized violence children suffer.

Getting back to the headlines of, “Having sex with a 2- to 3-month-old baby”, what are adults who report on such atrocities in this way thinking? What are readers thinking when sexualized violence against a child is being reported as “having sex”? Has it not been considered that such wording delivers a harmful message about adult-child relationships? And what message does such a headline deliver to children who are old enough to read? What are children to think?

What do the reporters or audiences think “having sex” is? My understanding is that “having sex” means that the persons involved are of legal age and are seen as being able to rationalize a position of consent to engage in sexualized activities with a peer. A child is not in this position. Sexualized violence against a powerless infant or child is never about sex—never. It is time that such distorted reporting stops. Besides being distorted it is also harmful. It supports the position of every pedophile who says that what they do is not harmful or violent but is about love-sex with a child.

I repeat my-Self: sexualized violence—rape and torture—inflicted against a powerless infant or child is never about sex—never—it is always violence and a crime and a violation of their human rights as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is time the media becomes so informed.


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