Herald Sun (Australia) May 23, 2008
PEDOPHILES have admitted using children’s fashion ads to get their kicks, Victoria’s Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary has warned. Mr Geary has also raised concerns about the premature sexualisation of children in a submission to the Senate inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the media. He said the situation was “a significant concern,”, and singled out “sexy” children’s clothing. “What benefit or satisfaction adults would obtain from purchasing children’s clothing with slogans such as ‘Ms Floozy’, ‘Mr Well-hung’, ‘Mr Pim’, ‘Mr A–hole’ . . . ‘Naughty butt nice’, ‘Bite this’, ‘$$$ Worth it’ and ‘I only look innocent’, is difficult to comprehend,” Mr Geary said. “The fact that adults purchase this sort of clothing for their children illustrates that, unfortunately, not all parents and adults make appropriate choices for children.
In his submission, Mr Geary said that professionals working with offenders had told of clients’ “interest in, and use of, sexualised images of children within advertising and marketing”. He quoted Royal Children’s Hospital Gatehouse Centre co-ordinator Karen Hogan, who said staff working with children and young people who engaged in sexually abusive behaviour had noticed “a marked increase in perpetrators using underwear advertising magazines for stimulation that are delivered to homes”. “Males tell us that they are particularly interested in the children’s section and that they can use these magazines without detection as it is so commonplace to have this material delivered to their homes,” Ms Hogan said. Victoria Police Forensic Interviewing of Sexual Offenders manager Patrick Tidmarsh is also quoted as saying such images encourage pedophiles. “What sexualised/eroticised child images in advertising obviously do is provide validation for those considering further exploitation of children and sex, as part of a pernicious descending spiral,” he said.