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UNCRC.txt (7279B)

      1 [This document is in plain-text format. I do not have access to a word
      2 processor compatible with Microsoft Word document formats. I hope my
      3 input will still be considered. If I must, I can find someone to
      4 convert and redistribute this into a doc, docx, odt, pdf, or any other
      5 format suitable for the convention's consumption.]
      8 My comment focuses on paragraph 63 in the "DRAFT Guidelines on the
      9 implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights
     10 of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child
     11 pornography", quoted below:
     13 > The Committee is of the view that “simulated explicit sexual
     14 > activities” should be interpreted as including any material, online
     15 > or offline, that depicts or otherwise represents any person appearing
     16 > to be a child engaged in real or simulated sexually explicit conduct
     17 > and realistic and/or virtual depictions of a child engaged in
     18 > sexually explicit conduct. Such depictions contribute to normalising
     19 > the sexualisation of children and fuels the demand of child sexual
     20 > abuse material.  
     22 While I appreciate the efforts to combat abusive behaviour on a global
     23 scale, I am sceptical of some of the approaches that would be taken, as
     24 described in this draft. I will bullet point my concerns below, as a
     25 summary, and go into detail shortly thereafter.
     27 My concerns:
     28  1. I am troubled by the implications of treating "simulated explicit
     29     sexual activities" equally to real acts of sexual abuse,
     30     molestation, rape, manufacture of pornography involving
     31     unconsenting human parties, and the like.
     32  2. Further, I would like to see this draft revised in order to promise
     33     action against sexual abuse against parties of any age, not just
     34     children.
     37 To expand on my first concern, I realise there is a fear of negative
     38 effect concerning society's exposure to simulated sexual content
     39 involving fictional minors. I believe this fear is best addressed by
     40 analogy: there are numerous fictional works addressing themes that are
     41 unpleasant to many -- themes such as sex, violence, and any other
     42 manner of activity that is seen as taboo if acted upon in a
     43 nonfictional setting. While these themes are largely distasteful, they
     44 serve purpose by being published in fictional works:
     45  - Audiences can derive educational benefit from these works, as to
     46    learn from history and "not repeat the past". Education is powerful
     47    only when the student is exposed to all the sides of an issue,
     48    including being exposed to the negative feelings associated with an
     49    issue so one may understand just why an action is considered taboo.
     50  - Audiences may channel their negative thoughts and emotions through
     51    fictional works so as not to act on them in real life. I personally
     52    find value in video games such as Grand Theft Auto that allow me to
     53    explore the alluring aspects of a "thug life" without endangering
     54    anyone in the real world.
     55  - And for one counterpoint, of course audiences may derive outright
     56    pleasure and wish to emulate the acts they see in fictional works.
     57    However, this can be combated largely with education and medical
     58    (psychological) assistance. These cases are generally isolated and
     59    triggered by preexisting circumstances (e.g. a person who is
     60    predisposed to be a criminal, loosely speaking).
     62 These three major purposes arise equally from any artistic or
     63 pornographic work involving fictional minors. As I have said publicly
     64 on my blog in 2018 [1], I am against rape and abuse toward any human or
     65 other sentient being, but even then am I reluctant to believe that
     66 fictional works have any overall negative effect on society. Works such
     67 as Lolita are infamous for addressing themes of sexuality toward
     68 minors, but such works are nonetheless held in deep regard for their
     69 artistic value, and dare I say they are also respected for being brave
     70 enough to cover subjects seen by many as "touchy". By proposing any
     71 action against simulated explicit content, the world would be robbed of
     72 these literary and artistic masterpieces, we would have a narrower view
     73 of the world, a lesser understanding of taboos, and a greater
     74 difficulty learning more about the human psyche and the motivations
     75 people have for engaging in distasteful behaviour.
     77 As for simulated child pornography (including -- and perhaps whereupon
     78 the largest debate lies on the Internet about this draft -- lolicon and
     79 shotacon), many of these pornographic works still hold artistic value.
     80 Many people use this type of pornography as an outlet of sexual
     81 frustration rather than a gateway to committing crimes against
     82 real-life people. I believe if anyone wants to place the blame on
     83 fictional child pornography for causing sexual crimes, that there
     84 should be a study investigating whether fictional works are the cause
     85 or the effect, because I am under the impression that few people
     86 (including myself) actually know the answer to this. To me it seems
     87 like a knee-jerk reaction to believe that fictional works are the
     88 cause, and it is a fair reaction because this is such a heavy subject
     89 to debate, but I believe it is one that must be debated fairly.
     92 As for my second concern, I have also mentioned in my blog post (albeit
     93 in casual and blunt terms; if I were to rewrite it today I would reword
     94 and restructure some of what I said, but I believe the general point
     95 carries) [1] that there should be no difference in severity of sexual
     96 abuse cases, based on the age of the victim alone. Sexual abuse is a
     97 scarring event no matter the victim's age. Furthermore, I do not
     98 believe this fits well within the scope of the United Nations to
     99 decide; individual nations have long had varying ages of consent. By no
    100 means do people unanimously agree what objectively defines a child and
    101 when that child becomes an adult. To me, the word "child" is only
    102 brought into play so that it may convince more people to be on board
    103 with this drafted legislation. It seems irrelevant to the core goal of
    104 this draft, which -- to my interpretation -- is to address sexual abuse
    105 and trafficking.
    108 I hope I have brought up some useful considerations and opinions in
    109 response to this draft, and that the Convention on the Rights of the
    110 Child may take these points into consideration before arriving to a
    111 conclusion. I hope to see this draft revised into something beneficial
    112 for all and controversial to none, something that may be passed into
    113 legislation easily if not unanimously. I am willing to continue
    114 participating toward this issue in any manner I can, whether this
    115 involves direct input or additional resources I can follow so that I
    116 know the future status of this draft.
    119 All parties involved have permission to redistribute my message,
    120 verbatim, either with or without attribution. See the terms of the CC0
    121 licence [2] for full details. I have published a copy of this message
    122 on my website [3] and would be happy to release any replies to this
    123 message with the writer's permission.
    125 [1]<>
    126 [2]<>
    127 [3]<>
    130 Thanks for your consideration,
    131 opal hart
    132 --
    133 wowaname <>
    134 Please use detailed subject lines and reply below quoted text
    135 whenever possible.