I sit here and I weep. I’m sad, and afraid but most of all I am livid with fury. On Thursday afternoon, papers on each side of the Coast had stories about a major child pornography ring operating in cities across the country involving more than fifty people from Halifax to Vancouver and countless children.
[Note-child abuse is a complex issue, this is not the end of my stories on the issue just the first of many]
It’s not that I was shocked at hearing of the child porn/sex trade issue or that it is a fixture in Canadian life. Rather it is the continuing and growing magnitude of the problem that gets me. For each large ring the police bring down there are literally thousands of smaller groups and individuals trading and selling our children across the country and internationally daily. I wonder how many Canadians read the stories and allow themselves to feel the full impact of the information, I’m betting not nearly as many people as those who read the latest dirt on Brittany Spears weight gain or Jennifer Aniston’s break-up with John Meyers.
It’s impossible to believe hundreds let alone thousands of people across this Canada read of how babies so small (a week or less) that their umbilical cord was still attached were being used in child pornography or how the average age of the children being used were under the age of 8 years old. See, the reason why I can’t believe more than a dozen or so people read the stories is because I still don’t here people clamoring in the street, marching in protest, raising their voices in anger, standing at street corners wondering what we’re going to do as a community let alone a country to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Mind you, I wonder this at least once a day and sometimes even two and three times a day.
There is no way I can believe that there are more than a dozen people in the country (excluding abused children/adults, police and sexual abuse counsellors who know and imagine more than they want) allowing themselves to fully think and absorb what it must be like for a child to have fingers, tongues and penises poked in every tiny hole they have by people they trust, like friends and family members, or the adults in their lives they should be able to trust. It’s hard not to imagine how those young and small violated bodies, hearts and minds have given up hope that someone is going to come and save them from their bizarre nightmare of being used in sexualized ways. That someone, anyone will come and take them out from under the heavy, sweaty, panting bodies of men who are part of the multi-billion dollar Canadian child porn industry.
The reason why I have to believe that few people read these stories on the child porn/sex trade of children in Canada is because if more people did, well, how could we not be marching in the streets demanding that judges impose maximum sentences more often or that no child porn or abuse conviction could be less than years and certainly not as little as two weeks or worse yet, a conditional sentence.
If more people new the truth, how could they not give the environmental protection movement a run for its money in terms of active and involved protesting. However, since I haven’t seen any massive national mobilization to save children in the same way that I’ve seen and heard it for wales, seals and trees, I can only surmise that the stories this week are so unique that the country is still in shock and that within days my fellow citizens will trumpet a call to action.
There will be a cross-Canada impromptu day off work while people come together in grief and in anger to figure out how we’re going to protect our children. By the thousands, we are going to walk of the job, shutting down the country and letting our politicians, legislators and judicial system know that they hold their positions on our sufferance. That we as a people have given them power and that we as a people can take it away. The strength of our collectively raised voices and our physical presence will make it clear that we are not asking “please, could you do a better job of punishing pedophiles, child pornographers, child abusers and child sex traders.” No, the strength of our collective voices will not ask but command and demand that our children be protected and if the judicial system will not or cannot do it than we as communities will do whatever is necessary to make sure our children aren’t violated and if they are, that we will find the criminals and punish them in no uncertain terms.
Okay, okay, I’m back to reality now, depressed, sad, furious but knowing that the stories on babies being used as sex objects will produce less water cooler discussion than the best place to have a meal in Halifax or the best new beer to hit the shelves or who’s doing what to whom in Hollywood.
The truth is, the conservative estimates are that 65,000 people are involved in the child sex trade and in these recession times, it is a huge money maker in, as I have already said, the 2-3 billion dollar range. The truth is, that for many child sexual related offences the maximum sentence is only 10 years and the minimum is 14 days. Setences often range between three months to a year. Thats the value we put on the long-term harm and destruction we allow to happen to our children.
Whether our children are all grown up, we don’t have children or we believe we will never let anything happen to our own children we are all, every man and woman over the age of 18 years old, responsible for the horrible crimes being committed against Canadian children, all our children all our relations.
When we don’t speak up against something and we are silent, we are in essence giving our tacit consent for the behaviour. Our silence is a ringing endorsement that on some level we believe it’s okay to use our children in this way. After all, if the majority of the Canadian public felt otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this.
We would have made our ire felt by now and the children in our apartment buildings, our neighbourhoods, our towns, our cities, our regions, our provinces, our Nation would be safe, loved and protected, growing up to be happy, healthy, loving adults themselves.
If there was money in it, or if someone could figure out how to get multi-year government funding that guaranteed a six figure executive director position I bet there would be a movement to unionize abused children and have them sue their parents, family members, communities, their judicial system and their governments for breach of trust in keeping them safe and protected. There is no money in children unless its in the advertising, entertainment, gaming and clothing industries. We make money off of children but other than that, they hold little inherent value. If they did, we would do a lot better job of keeping them safe, fed and knowing they are loved.
People say well, you march. One person marching and shouting about protecting our children is a nut and locked up. A hundred people are looked at as a weird fringe movement. but you get a 100,000 or even 200,000 people (still less than one per cent of the Canadian population) and all of a sudden it’s the voice of the people.
Where is the voice of the people leading our children out of the living nightmares they exist in on a daily basis.
They are silent.