Allow me to put on my "old prude" hat for a moment. I have wanted to write this blog for more than a year, but it's not easy to write. Recent technologies sort of pushed me to it.
A client of my previous employer was a local ISV who created an "eraser" for your computer. It erased evidence of visiting pornography web sites from your computer. And, they were printing money – it was "flying off the shelves" (if such a thing is possible on the Internet).
But, alas, since Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox X internet users have these tools built into their internet browsers. Erase for free.
There's no denying the untoward application of these functions. But if we could meter their usage, it's a fair gamble they are routinely and universally exercised.
With the forthcoming Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 browsers, we have simplified clandestine internet surfing with "InPrivate" and "Incognito" respectively.
These features launch a special browser instance whose tracks are absolutely invisible. They keep no cookies, no cache, and mask their browser string to the consuming sites.
It will now be possible to visit pornography sites on the internet without the fear of getting caught – other than someone walking up behind you or sampling HTTP traffic.
We know a lot about pornography.
Everyone knows pornography is prevalent and incredibly available. But it is also addictive, manipulating the brain to require regular stimulation. Therapies and groups exist to help victims.
We know pornography is destructive as it infests lives, families, and souls. It corrupts minds with violent and distorted images, and unwinds the trust between couples.
We know it preys on children. 5,000 Indian little girls are kidnapped into forced prostitution every year. Russian and Chinese (all Asian) numbers are higher. They are victims of sexual commerce.
Experts estimate 2 million children (mostly girls) are enslaved in sex trafficking right now. That's nearly one for every 100 Americans.
If these girls live to their teens, they are physically subjugated, chemically controlled, and brutally malnourishment to keep them skinny, dependent, and afraid.
According to the International Justice Mission, many enslaved prostitutes live in closets and small rooms with other slaves and service more than thirty customers a day. It's horrific.
These hopeless girls, especially in Russian and Slavic nations, are commonly the subjects of Internet pornography videos – forced to participate, raped, terrified.
But pornography also victimizes teens. Sites advertise "teens" and other youthful adjectives to suggest usurping child pornography laws. The message is: exploit the young, don't protect them.
Girls are approached in malls and other safe places. They are solicited to pose for money, eventually graduating to sex. Drugs and violence are often used to entrap victims into a new lifestyle.
Run-away children, neglected children, abused children, and mentally disturbed children are the most at risk. They are "taken in", accepted, and then victimized into prostitution and pornography.
Now, we have to consider. Is there a virtue to pornography?
What is pornography? I define it like this: nudity or false intimacy for the purpose of sexual arousal or pleasure. I know that many popular movies, television shows, and songs would qualify. I am not afraid of that. The escalation of the industry is the propagation of its victimization.
There is no virtue in pornography, because it requires a victim.
The next time you are tempted, the next time you consider the anonymity of the Internet to allow you to consume pornography, don't consider YOU – consider the thousands of victims.
Protect your mind, protect your soul, and protect the hopeless others. Were you born into any other circumstance you, too, might have been a victim. Accept that blessing as a duty.