Child sex abuse images: A linguistic revolution

Right, here goes. Let’s cause linguistic mayhem.

I am sure most people reading this (hi mum!) are familiar with and may have used, terms like ‘child pornography’, ‘child prostitution’ and ‘underage prostitute’ (erhem Silvio Berlusconi).  Well, I reckon it’s time we stopped.

The words prostitution, prostitute and pornography are normalised and common in most societies around the world. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what they mean and what they stand for – the words themselves are used casually and have become assimilated into everyday language.

How about adding the word child?

Adding the word ‘child’ obviously adds a different dimension but essentially it has the same meaning; a child engaging in something that we talk about on a day to day basis, nothing out of the ordinary.

But it is out of the ordinary. It is a child.

I know laws around the world differ but essentially it is agreed that a child cannot, or does not choose out of free will to be involved in pornography or the sex industry without an element of coercion or force. Why then, is it given a normal name?

Surely child pornography should be reclassified as ‘child sex abuse images’ or ‘videos of children being abused’ because that is what they are. Child prostitution is not prostitution, it is abuse and rape. The end.

So I hereby call on you, beloved readers to help me shake things up.

Also, this use of lazy and inaccurate language may affect people who choose to look at, and engage in, child abuse. ‘It has a ‘normal’ name, so it can’t be that wrong’.  Maybe if we call it abuse (which it is) it would cause someone to stop and think.

C’mon world, let’s do it! Let’s call it what it is. It’s not pornography, it’s not prostitution it’s abuse and rape.

I declare from this moment on I will only use accurate terminology to describe child abuse.

I urge all of you and your friends to join my quest for a linguistic revolution.

Your slightly angry Victoria Kuhr

7 thoughts on “Child sex abuse images: A linguistic revolution

    1. Martin

      Sorry. Im not on board with this.

      It means that the teacher who was charged with possessing child pornography (ie cellphone pictures of his students flashing which they sent to him) would now actually be accused of possessing ‘child sex abuse pictures’? Old coffeetable art books which have been classified as child pornography are now to be called “books of children being abused”?

      I think that words should be accurate. Is all child pornography also a depiction of rape and abuse?

      Would you say Silvio Berlusconi (and I’m no fan), among his many faults, is also a child abuser and rapist?

      Your argument is that the words “prostitution and pornography” have become normalized, and by adding the world “child” we somehow normalize this concept as well by implication. Your motives are laudable, but would your “mayhem” create as many problems as you solve?

  1. Bobby

    I completely agree with you! And you’re not the only one – I’ve heard other people (mostly specialists working in the anti-trafficking field) saying “for me ‘child prostitution’ doesn’t exist – it should be called ‘child sexual abuse'” and this is what I stick to too!
    Spread the word!
    Cheers, Bobby

    1. Hi Bobby! Thanks supporting the Linguistic Revolution. I wonder what the best way to stop the media using inappropriate words for child sex abuse is. Maybe a barrage of letters? Media use the wrong terms constantly so they are on my hit list!

  2. Delorfinde

    Victoria! (Miriam here). I agree with you – in fact, I’m going to go tweet this post.

    I also notice that that picture is the one of you, isn’t it, from the book?🙂

    1. Miriam! How nice to hear from you! I am glad you like the blog post, thanks for tweeting! (the photo is a secret! I felt very uncomfortable putting an image of a young person next to the article. I am fast becoming the UK’s leading shoadow model!)

  3. I am completely on board with this! These children are raped and tortured. We need to stop watering down the language. Because I am a linguistUsing terms like prostitute, brothel, pornography leaves the child with a hateful label. In a world where grown adults are still deemed powerless over a thirteen year old ” predator”, language matters!

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