Aprils Law

This is an article I wrote back in 2007 for Associated Content.

This is the story of April, told in her own words:

“I can tell you that I don’t remember having much of a child hood after age 6. My entire world and my view of life changed after that year. I was molested and raped by a man named Genardo Sanchez, the grooming and molestation lasted forever to me. I remember trying to tell him no but he was so persistent and then the rape came, I hated myself and living. I couldn’t understand the feelings I was experiencing or why it was a secret. Finally I was questioned by my Aunt and told somebody which made it worse. Having to go to counselors and then to doctors and court officials, than having Chlamydia as a child. I blacked a lot of things out and really all I wanted to do was be kid with that free and sunny nature kids have, but I would never feel that again.

After the abuse from Genardo I was stuck in a dark cloud of emotions, guilt, fear, insecurity, hatred, what was gonna do? I ended being the victim of more sexual abuse from other babysitters throughout the years, I never really told anyone about them, I guess I didn’t see the point and really felt like it was somehow my fault, something about me, about 9 or 10 I gave up on God. I remember grabbing a bible and crying while I wrote in marker all over the pages, “LIES, LIES ,LIES GOD IS DEAD”, then I figured I was going to hell anyway for all the bad things I’d done.

Into adolescence I got into sex and drugs at around 11 and 12. I hated myself. I would get into situations with older men and hate myself even more. I started to cut myself and that would give me some relief, to watch myself bleed, as if being punished I felt so isolated and different than everyone, I could never get enough guts to cut deep enough to kill myself so I would hit my head against the wall till I passed out. From 14 to 17 I can’t give an accurate age or date about anything, I was so involved in drugs and alcohol it really all seems a blur and like one really long drawn out year. The cutting and burning myself continued, as did unsafe situations with older men. I got pregnant after I was raped in an alley and had an abortion, than I really hated being human, how could I kill another being that was inside me, that still haunts me. So at 17 I hooked up with drug dealer and got pregnant again, this time I thought I felt love so while he went to prison for drugs I got sober and had a baby.

From 18 till now [26] I have picked up 2 felony drug charges, been in rehab, and married and currently have 4 children. I love my husband and my family, but I have to say I struggle everyday with the effects of my past abuse. I have a really hard time with my sexual life in my marriage. With all this I am a stronger person today but it makes me sick to think and know that my initial predator was only in jail briefly then went on to abuse more children as young as 18 mos. for 19 long years. Why does my country and government allow this to happen? Why is it that for my drug charges I almost spent 25 to life, when a sexual predator only gets probation and allowed to abuse again? Wake up America and the entire planet earth, Sexual predators are not fixable, rehab does not work for them, please get a clue and show our children that their life is worth living, I am still not convinced.”

Her mother, Debra Rowbury, is fronting a campaign against websites that promote child pornography, pedophilia and related crimes against children on the internet. This campaign is to launch Aprils Law, named after the young woman who wrote the above story. Her molester had frequented legal child pornography and pedophilia sites to fuel his desires for under-aged girls and find support from his peers. Aprils Law would call for better policing of pedophile activities on the internet and make sites that advocate pedophilia and all its forms illegal and force removal of them. Right now the policing of these sites relies largely on a “cyberhood”. That means that someone has to find the websites and turn them into the authorities. The authorities don’t go looking for them to close them down.

While child pornography is illegal, there are some lines that get blurred along the way. It is harder to police websites that come from outside the United States because different countries have different laws regarding child pornography and what constitutes age of consent. Another problem is that there are websites that promote pedophilia inside the United States that are perfectly legal, such as the website for NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association. This association has been around since 1978 and their goal is to gain acceptance for “conceptual” relationships between men and boys. From their website “We support greater economic, political and social opportunities for young people and denounce the rampant ageism that segregates and isolates them in fear and mistrust. We believe sexual feelings are a positive life force. We support the rights of youth as well as adults to choose the partners with whom they wish to share and enjoy their bodies.”

This website is perfectly legal because it does not show pornographic images and they claim to be a civil rights, political and educational organization. They also offer the disclaimer: NAMBLA does not provide encouragement, referrals or assistance for people seeking sexual contacts. NAMBLA does not engage in any activities that violate the law, nor do we advocate that anyone else should do so. They may not show explicit pictures or advocate violation of the law but they do offer support for those engaged in such things. This is not the only website like this on the internet.

Another site, Puelulla, run by Lindsay Ashford in the Netherlands, routinely gets shut down only to reappear months later. Earlier this year in a radio interview, Ashford made a statement where he said that a 6 month old child has nerve endings and pleasure receptors and therefore has the capability of consenting to sexual advances.

Websites like these coupled with child pornography statistics are the reasons that more regulation is needed in order to help protect children. The problem is these sites are protected under the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech. When Larry Flynt went to bat in the late 90’s to protect the First Amendment right of pornographers, he probably had no idea that it would be carried to this extreme.

According to the LAPD child pornography is used by pedophiles for three reasons, to stimulate themselves, to destroy the consciences and lower the inhibitions and resistance to sexual activity in their intended child victims and to teach a child what to model in a sexual encounter with an adult.

Some disturbing statistics from The Internet Watch Foundation, The National Coalitions for the Protection of Children and Families, The Center for Missing and Exploited Children and The American Prosecutors Research Institute in a paper titled From Fantasy to Reality: The Link Between Viewing Child Pornography and Molesting Children by Candice Kim:

  • As of 2005 child pornography generated $3 billion annually and it is believed that number has at least doubled.
  • 20,000 images of children that are considered pornographic are placed on the internet each week
  • 20% of pornography on the internet is of children
  • According to a study by US Customs there were around 100,000 sites that peddle child pornography in 2002 and the Internet Watch Foundation, in 2006, knew of 10,656 child abuse domains.
  • 54% of all child abuse domains are in the United States.
  • The fastest growing demand in commercial websites for child abuse is for sexual images depicting adults and children engaged in sex or sadism or children engaged in sex with animals.
  • The internet search engine Gnutella has 116,000 daily requests for “child pornography”.
  • Around 80% of all purchasers of child pornography are active abusers. 39% of those had pictures of children and toddlers between the ages of 3 and 5 and 19% had pictures of children under 3.
  • 1 in 7 children who use the internet have been sexually solicited.

The internet has not only made it easier for pedophiles to find each other and form support groups such as NAMBLA and Puelulla, it has made finding sexually explicit material easier for them to find as well as giving them new hunting grounds for victims making it harder and harder to protect children. Because of that Aprils Law has been proposed. This law would make it illegal for any internet provider, web host or any other private, public or commercial services that provides a data center space and/or connectivity to the internet or local area network to host or provide access to websites that show children in a suggestive manner as well as pornography that is digitally altered to make the individuals engaging in sex resemble children in a suggestive manner. It would also make websites that offer support systems, such as NAMBLA, illegal in the United States. The law would call for those persons involved in either running or viewing such sites to be required to pay a $250,000 fine and have all computer equipment seized, be sentenced to 25 years with five of those years being mandatory jail time and 20 years probation and restricted from the internet as well as having to register as a sex offender.

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