Anastasia Powell receives funding from the Australian Research Council, and is currently undertaking research on technology-facilitated forms of sexual violence and harassment. The legal changes are welcome. There are three key problems with not calling these images what they are: online child abuse material, or child exploitation material. First, it creates a false distinction between the viewing of images and the contact sexual abuse of a child. Not only does research suggest that there is an overlap between those who view child abuse material and those who engage in contact sexual offences, but the viewing of the material also contributes to the demand for its production. Viewing the material needs to be understood as collusion in the continued sexual abuse of children.
This story originally appeared in the July issue of Good Housekeeping. Names have been changed. My life unraveled with an unexpected phone call from my mother: "Do you know what your husband's doing on the computer? It's how he unwinds," I responded.
Can a government legitimately prohibit citizens from publishing or viewing pornography, or would this be an unjustified violation of basic freedoms? This question lies at the heart of a debate that raises fundamental issues about just when, and on what grounds, the state is justified in using its coercive powers to limit the freedom of individuals. Traditionally, liberals defended the freedom of consenting adults to publish and consume pornography in private from moral and religious conservatives who wanted pornography banned for its obscenity, its corrupting impact on consumers and its corrosive effect on traditional family and religious values.