Internet Offenders as Girardian Scapegoats

Bruce STEVENS

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter

Abstract

Child pornography made easily accessible through the internet has created a new group of criminal offenders. Once convicted of downloading prohibited material, sentencing usually means going to jail. Some offenders have also committed contact offenses by engaging in sexual activity with minors, but not all. I will argue that internet offenses comprise an unusual crime, for which offenders are harshly treated and arguably are made into scapegoats, according to Girard's definition. While I will invite controversy in some of what I will argue, I affirm that viewing this material should remain illegal and appropriately prosecuted. The "passive" downloading of child pornography is an offense. To see child pornography is to witness a crime in progress. Any support for this industry is aiding and abetting child sexual assault and is rightly considered criminal, and this extends equally to the downloading of images. Naturally we should do everything possible to protect all children from any form of sexual exploitation, but internet-mediated child pornography is possibly one of the most malignant forms of such exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationViolence, Desire and the Sacred
Subtitle of host publicationRené Girard and Sacrifice in Life, Love and Literature
EditorsScott Cowdell, Chris Fleming, Joel Hodge
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherBloomsbury
Chapter14
Pages183-192
Number of pages10
Edition2
ISBN (Electronic)9781441146892
ISBN (Print)9781623561963
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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STEVENS, B. (2014). Internet Offenders as Girardian Scapegoats. In S. Cowdell, C. Fleming, & J. Hodge (Eds.), Violence, Desire and the Sacred: René Girard and Sacrifice in Life, Love and Literature (2 ed., pp. 183-192). New York, USA: Bloomsbury.