It was a brief break in the midst of a hectic day. I clicked over to Facebook for a minute to see the latest fall foliage pictures from friends in the north (we're still waiting on the glorious color here) and what cute things my friends' children were saying.
Instead, the first thing to hit my eyes was a post about John Grisham's "apology" for his statements in a recent interview with the London Telegraph slamming the U.S. Justice system's crackdown on those who view child pornography.
I was only able to glance at a bit of the post before it was time to hit the ground running again, but I was completely appalled at what I had read. I told myself that surely it wouldn't be so bad when I was able to read/listen in more detail.
However, when I sat down later and listened to video of the interview, it was actually worse.
Listening to Grisham's words from the interview, I had to fight not to be physically sick.
In the interview (video available here), Grisham says the U.S. Justice System has "gone crazy" in sentencing men convicted of viewing child porn, and and suggests that while there should be "some type of punishment", "these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences."
He claims that many of the men serving these "harsh" sentences would never hurt a child and have never hurt anybody, but simply had a little too much to drink and ended up "pushing the wrong button".
My head has been spinning for days over his remarks. It's still spinning. There is so much I want to and need to say in response to Grisham's comments that after six days, I'm still struggling to form any sort of coherent reply.
So bear with me if I just jump in and start typing. I'll try to keep the ranting at low volume.
Grisham is an educated guy. As a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, he's an attorney. He's made millions as a novelist. He should know better. And yes, he has "apologized" for his remarks. However, there is absolutely no excuse for those remarks to have been made in the first place, particularly by someone like John Grisham.
Child pornography is ugly. Ugly doesn't even begin to describe it. It is vile and heinous and extremely damaging to anyone connected to it in any way. Grisham talks about 16-year-old girls dressed up like they're 30. He compares 16-year-old girls to 10-year-old boys as if the former (as objects of child porn) are "okay" and the latter are not.
First, exploiting 16-year-old girls is not okay. Even if they are okay with it. Even if they aren't being "forced". Exploiting 16-year-old girls is wrong, and vile, and horribly damaging both to the girls and to the ones viewing them.
Second, people need to realize that the world of child porn goes far, far, FAR beyond 16-year-old girls dressed up like 30-year-olds and naked baby pictures.
Child porn involves children from infants to teens being forced and coerced to perform all manner of heinous acts. These acts go far beyond what those who have thankfully been sheltered from that world could possibly imagine.
Unfortunately, through my past career in child protective services and circumstances in which someone close to our family is currently in federal prison due to child pornography, I'm not so sheltered. I've seen the effects on those involved. I've sat through court hearings and listened to testimony, expert and otherwise. I've read court documents.
Just thinking about things I saw and heard years ago makes me physically ill. They are heinous and horrible and there is no excuse or defense for any involvement in any aspect of child pornography, period.
I want to address several of Grisham's comments, and the falsehoods behind them, directly. However, this post is already long, so I will address those points in part 2.
Part 2 of this post can be found here.
[Note: This post has been sitting in draft for a couple of weeks, but while the story may be "old news" by now, the issues are definitely not. To make sure you don't miss part 2, follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. Or sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.]