Mr. Speaker, it is not always a privilege to have to stand in these kinds of debates, but it is a privilege to stand on behalf of the children of our nation. I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Edmonton North.
First of all, I want to talk a little bit about the reality of child pornography. There was a headline story on CTV News on January 16 about a global pornography investigation covering more than 2,300 people in Canada. That is only one investigation and that is how many people they found connected in our country, so we cannot dismiss this problem as being somewhere else in the world.
As a part of the conference entitled “Rethinking The Line: The Canada-U.S. Border”, Dr. Max Taylor of the University College, Cork, Ireland, said that each week his team collects about a thousand child pornography images from 60 different Internet news groups and that there is quite a number of children being added to these sites every week as time goes on. It is a growing problem and we need to remember that.
Bill C-20 has its weaknesses. The bill does not address sufficiently how to get the convictions and how to cut down on this international problem.
We sometimes forget about the plans of the pornographers. We pass over that and we talk about things such as community good or artistic merit.
However, the plans of the pornographers are these. Number one is to familiarize, to familiarize the community and familiarize children with these kinds of scenes because that leads to desensitizing them. The children become less sensitive to those kinds of things. They begin to accept them as normal. In other words, they sanitize. They familiarize and desensitize and then they sanitize it until it seems like that is what everyone else is doing, which then makes it more normal.
So the guard comes down. The red flags are buried. The pornographers can then move on to tantalize and actually tempt people to move into sexual experiences with other kids, with adults and in all kinds of situations that are set out. There is no reason for this kind of pornography to be made other than to use it as a tool to recruit and enlist other victims.
The results of sexual abuse on children are so awful and so terrible that we are very hesitant many times to speak about that. I want to make that the major part of what I want to say today.
I will read a quote for members, the source of which is a book by Tsai and Wagner, 1984:
Sexual victimization may profoundly interfere with and alter the development of attitudes toward self, sexuality, and trusting relationships during the critical early years of development.
It interrupts the development of a child.
Then, from Whitlock and Gillman, in 1989, there is this quote:
Sexuality is regarded not simply as a part of the self limited to genitals, discrete behaviours, or biological aspects of reproduction, but is more properly understood as one component of the total personality that affects one's concept of personal identity and self-esteem.
There is a great impact, in other words, on the life of a child who has experienced sexual abuse.
I asked Kathy Broady, the clinical director of AbuseConsultants.com, for a quick, short list of consequences observable in children who are suffering from sexual abuse. Let me give part of that list and then follow with a quote from Ms. Broady.
She wrote as number one: fear, mistrust, abandonment issues, intense clinginess to the safe person, and no trust in people. Number two: withdrawal from friends or no friends, no normal play, not smiling, and not happy, and the withdrawal from society continues in comparison to how serious the abuse is. Number three: depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, anger, acting out, and serious misbehaviour. Number four: eating disorders, self-injuries, and addiction to drugs, alcohol and other substances.
I have heard of how some of these children act when they are being sexually abused; they can be very young and do this. Sometimes we might see a child sitting alone, sitting in a corner or sitting in a private place, and we might see that child rocking. We might see that child displaying nervous symptoms or slapping itself, hitting itself on the head or pulling its own hair. Sometimes that is what happens when children are being subjected to sexual abuse, and that abuse does not even have to be severe.
Ms. Broady has given me this quote:
Severe childhood sexual abuse literally steals a lifetime of productivity, happiness, fulfillment, and peace from its victims.
The Internet and child pornography on the Internet and in other forms is a recruiting tool to reach children and to bring them in to the sex trade on many occasions.
Children who have been severely sexually abused and sold into the sex slave industry experience a great number of negative impacts. I am going to give members only a few of those listed by survivors in a survey that was done by AbuseConsultants.com, a survey, by the way, in which those impacts cover 50 pages in a book. I will give members less than one page.
The first category was “constant fear and no sense of safety or security anywhere, any time”. The survivors listed these points:
One: Constant fear about something, anything, always. Two: No peace, no ability to relax, constant hyper-vigilance. Three: Inappropriate or extreme responses to problems. Four: Always waiting and anticipating the next bad thing that will happen. Five: Very fatalistic thinking, preparing for doomsday--because “bad stuff” did happen so frequently, repeatedly, it was the one constant that could be expected, therefore, “it's best to always be prepared for and expecting the worst”.
Those were comments made by abuse survivors. There is one more category: self-harm. It may come as a surprise to some as to what actually can happen. It is as follows:
One: Cutting--wrists, arms, legs, stomachs, breasts, genitalia, face, absolutely anywhere. Two: Burning--by cigarettes, fire, stoves, scalding water. Three: Stabbing--legs, stomachs, vagina, abdomen.
Mr. Speaker, I remind you, these are the things these victims are doing to themselves. It is not the abuse; it is what they do to themselves because of the abuse.
Also included are:
Five: Slapping face, legs, private areas, anything anywhere. Six: Mutilation of any sort in any place by any means. Seven: Scraping layers of skin off the entire face or genitalia. Eight: Strangulation, hangings. Nine: Overdoses of drugs and alcohol. Ten: Jumping off bridges or throwing themselves in front of traffic.
This problem creates some horrendous repercussions. I will quote from a book by about five authors, not all of whom I will list:
Early identification of sexual abuse victims appears to be crucial to the reduction of suffering of abused youth and to the establishment of support systems for assistance in pursuing appropriate psychological development and healthier adult functioning. As long as disclosure continues to be a problem for young victims, then fear, suffering, and psychological distress will, like the secret, remain forever with the victim
I say that because there is something that resides there and so many people deny the awfulness of this.
What is the responsibility of Parliament? It is the protection of the citizens, protection of the vulnerable; it is to deal with the truth and make value judgments, making sure that the laws of this country are the very best possible.
We cannot allow Bill C-20 or any other bill that would address child pornography to fall so far short of dealing entirely with the situation and that would be to do. In the words of my colleague from Wild Rose, let us stamp out child pornography.