I read about it in the Prostasia Foundation’s email newsletter. I recommend everyone be subscribed to it, as it does supply useful doses of information regarding various different things.
For those who hadn’t read it, I’ll paste its contents.
BACP suspends counselor for saying that cartoons are not abuse images
Fay Brown is the founder of Project Snowball, a charitable organisation raising awareness by providing counselling, group support and education both for children and adults affected by pedophilia or child sexual abuse. In 2019, Fay, who is a sexual abuse survivor herself, spoke on Prostasia’s podcast about sexual and intimacy conditions related to the trauma of sexual violence and assault.
Last month, Fay was suspended from membership of the BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, in response to a campaign by online trolls who objected to a video that she had posted to YouTube. The video, shown below, was made in defense of a young artist who had himself been subjected to troll warfare over claims that his fan artwork was “pedophilic.”
In her video, Fay argues:
“people are being incredibly offensive to actual sexual abuse victims by labeling drawings as child sex exploitation material. Now they are not—they are not—they are a drawing. Child sex exploitation material is the image of a child rape or abuse, so to [conflate the two] does damage to both things, now. If you find hentai, lolicon, and manga offensive then don’t go and look, but [it is not OK] to totally delegitimize an entire section of people because they do, either because they are trauma victims—and they are equally valid in the way that their trauma lays in their body as you are—or that is their kink, in which case we don’t kink shame in 2020 either.”
Fay applied a similar argument to the demonization of young people who exchange sexting images with each other, contending that “Teenagers are sexual and they’re online nowadays, so to demonize them as creating child sex exploitation material simply by being in a relationship with a fellow teen is also not okay.”
In appealing against her expulsion from the BACP last month for stating these not unreasonable opinions, Fay struck back against the organization’s capitulation to the stigma-based arguments of the online troll army. In her appeal, Fay writes, “Free speech includes my right to talk about laws that I feel are unjust, terminology that is outdated, and stigma that gets in the way of survivor’s rights and prevention initiatives.”
Prostasia Foundation calls on the BACP to rescind its suspension, and to restore Fay Brown to full membership of the organization—if she chooses to accept it—with an apology.
As someone who was looking into, as a matter of personal interest, the BACP for some of their research into counseling methodology as a means to build an understanding of how traditional counseling methods vary, this is extremely disappointing and nauseating to read. The fact that they would dare argue that something which is NOT abusive can somehow be abusive is oxymoronic. It turns the very definition of abuse imagery on its head when you try to lump in materials that ARE NOT MADE FROM, NOR DO THEY DEPICT REAL INSTANCES OF SEXUAL ABUSE!!!
The main reason why lumping in materials that are not the product of sexual abuse like this is because the purpose of outlining CSAM/CSEM as proper terms, you are focusing on the abuse of a real child, a victim. The focus is on the child, and their pain and/or suffering, in addition to their overall safety and well-being. None of that exists in material that is a fictional character. Like Faye Brown says, it’s literally just a drawing and it’s existence, consumption, and creation are not linked to real sex abuse, nor are they likely to incite or encourage such abuse. Because it is not the product of abuse, nor is it likely to incite real abuse if viewed by an pedophilic individual, the relevancy such materials would even have is spurious indeed. This would be akin to labeling a horror film as a ‘snuff film’.
Here’s a thought exercise. Would material made using petite, youthful-looking adults, rather than drawings or art be considered ‘child sex abuse material’? The fictional characters played by the adult film actors and actresses, for narrative and appearance-purposes, are minors, with themes, dialog, plot elements, and other narrative and artistic bits to further cement the pedophilic nature of the content being created, even the appearance of the actors themselves could fool a seasoned pediatrician into believing that they are minors, possibly with the aid of digital editing, compositing, cinematography to help further that, but because the thing that the camera is pointed at are not children, but rather consenting adults playing a role in a pornographic film, it wouldn’t be.
How can the argument be different with respect to drawings or fiction? Something that is unequivocally just lines on paper, a cartoon set in motion, 3D models, or mere written words. It can’t, because the element of truth that matters, the lack of a real minor, is still present in both situations.
By attempting to blur the lines between these definitions, these ‘clinicians’ are causing very real harm! They are trying to impose a normative definition that would no longer be representative of the material or subject matter it was designed to be narrowly tailored to. Drawings, text-based stories, 3D models, and other forms of fiction that do not involve real children cannot be read to fit within the scope of CSAM or CSEM because they are not instances of abuse! I’ve repeated myself ad nauseam here, and it’s extremely disheartening to see this because it’s very clearly an attempt to silence the and intimidate clinicians who know better!
Absolutely disheartening, and it’s exactly why I’m thankful for organizations such as @prostasia for being a beacon of hope and reason in this controversial area which cannot help but be politicized by bad actors trying to misuse their authority in ways that would undoubtedly cause real harm and undermine the reality that is child sex abuse!
I’ve already talked about this before, and for those interested here’s the thread:
I urge everyone here to read into this and I hope that Ms. Fay is in good spirits and is able to continue the good work she is doing.
@terminus Thank you for bringing this to people’s attention. I don’t know how recent this development was, but I hope Fay and all others are not discouraged to step forward. This was nothing more than an attempt to silence and intimidate so they could present the illusion of an empirically valid normative definition, one that would be counter-productive to the goals of protecting and counseling victims.