Sexualized images of children are images, videos and/or other material that depicts children in sexually explicit ways or how they are being sexually exploited. Commonly, this material is referred to as “child pornography”; other terms used are child exploitation material or child sexual abuse images/material (CSAI/CSAM).
Like many other countries, using so called “child pornograhy”, or even browsing for it, is a punishable offense in India. The definition of so called “child pornography” can vary from country to country.
Pornography is defined as depicting sexual acts with consensus of two or more adults. However, unlike adults, children cannot give consent to perform and be photographed. It can thus be stated that CSAM (so called “child pornography”) is produced without the consent of the minor involved. It is an abusive act in itself and should preferably not be called as “pornography”. In order to accurately describe the criminal nature of the material and avoid any confusion regarding consent, we will refer to it as CSAM.
Using CSAM can have many adverse consequences both for its users as well as children.
- First, for many people, a session of watching CSAM is followed by feelings of guilt, shame and low self-esteem. Furthermore, as watching CSAM is a criminal offence, people using CSAM risk severe legal consequences like police warrants, charges, or even conviction.
- Second, the use of CSAM is harmful to the children as well. The child or young adolescent who was exploited during the production is already under stress. As the data is shared and distributed quickly, it is unlikely that this material can ever be completely deleted.
- Third, people using CSAM do not directly abuse children. It indicates, however, an indirect support for sexual exploitation of children.
- Fourth, the consumption of this material reflects a ‘demand’ in the market which can lead to an increase in the production of CSAM; thus increasing the number of victims of sexual exploitation.
Research has shown there is a link between sexual attraction towards children and the use of CSAM. Many people who use CSAM have a sexual attraction towards children (pedophilia) and/or early adolescents (hebephilia).
Due to all the reasons described above, it is important to refrain from using CSAM. However, some people with an inclination to watch CSAM might find it difficult to resist their wish and abstain from using CSAM. People with the inclination to watch CSAM can be distressed by their wishes and may need professional assistance.
The question arises ‘Is there help available in India’? The answer is ‘Yes, there is!’. There are experts who are trained and offer treatment to those who wish to abstain from watching CSAM. In the treatment individuals learn to develop a better self concept, healthy coping mechanisms, and improve the quality of life.
Click here to learn more about the treatment.