Volume 93, Issue 74

Thursday, February 10, 2000


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Child safety

Editorial cartoon

Child safety

A student publication at the University of Victoria recently came under fire from its publisher for attempting to print a photo of a semi-nude mother and her naked daughter.

The Womyn's Publication Netwerk, a monthly periodical which rotates its theme, decided this issue would be dedicated to sex and sexuality. It took submissions from students and the community, which included poetry, articles and the photograph in question.

The editor of the publication said the picture was a family photograph taken at a co-ed sexual awareness festival earlier in the year, with the complete consent of the mother. Let it be noted the mother was wearing a black latex bodice with the breast section cut out, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, while holding a beer.

The editor also said that Island Publishers' negative reaction to the photograph was because it was taken severely out of context – the picture in no way reflected any sexual act or sexual activity with the minor. Let it also be noted the minor is a girl who appears to be approximately 6 years of age and is wearing nothing other than running shoes.

According to the criminal code of Canada, printing pictures of the sexual organs or the anal region of anyone under 18, or anyone who appears to be under the age of 18, is illegal – even if the image is as innocent as a bare-buttocked five year-old sauntering in the sand.

With child pornography laws constantly making the news and citizens getting as far as the Supreme Court to fight for the right to possess child pornography, it is commendable that a publisher had enough courage to take a stand on the issue.

One could argue the publisher took the conservative approach for fear of persecution. However, one could also argue motives are incidental when it comes to smearing publications with pictures of naked children, regardless of the context.

The scary truth is, the realm of context cannot be given any weight in a world where one person's opinion of innocence is another's perversion.

There is no room in society, regardless of how innocent it may seem, for the wide spread publication of a nude child. Sadly, there are too many people out there who live for pedophilic activity.

The criminal code is strict for a reason. Society needs to take a zero tolerance stance when it comes to child pornography. Island Publishers were following the law and at the same time, preserved the innocence of this child.

With pop culture icons such as Britany Spears and her wannabes running rampant on televisions and radio, society needs to recognize the gripping epidemic which targets our youth as sexual objects. Any possible way to eliminate the encouragement of pedophilia and child sexual predators should be embraced.

Kudos to Island Publishers for accomplishing just this.

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