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Image by Andrik Langfield

There are a lot of misconceptions about CSAM. The reality is very different. Below you can find common cognitive distortions/misconceptions that CSAM users use to justify their behavior.

5.1 Analyze your misconceptions

1. My pathway to CSAM

Various underlying factors and motivations form a path towards your use of CSAM, by triggering thoughts and emotions that lead you to harmful behavior. In the exercises, you will be asked to reflect on your own life and values, as well as other perspectives on the use of CSAM.

Task 17: Analyze your thinking related to misconceptions

Think about the misconceptions and the reality behind them. What do you think about them?

Misconception 1: Children are sexual beings, just like adults.

Reality: Based on what we know about children’s sexual development, we can conclude that children do not identify themselves as sexual beings in the same way as adults do, and they have difficulties with understanding adults’ sexual acts and feelings.

Misconception 2: Pictures do not harm anyone. Using CSAM is a “victimless crime”.

Reality: Many individuals who have their photograph circulating on the internet against their will, feel that they are being abused over and over again. The child may feel intense feelings of losing control and powerlessness, which are related to the fact that the child is unable to make decisions regarding themselves and their bodies.

Misconception 3: The child themselves has taken the picture and made it public. Therefore, it has been the child’s decision and they feel good about their choice.

Reality: Children are not able to make good decisions regarding their well-being and often make mistakes (e.g. experimenting with drugs and alcohol) that they regret later on. This is because they are still developing and they are unable to think about the consequences of their actions in the long run. Therefore, it is the adults’ responsibility to protect children and not to strive to benefit from their mistakes and poor choices.

Misconception 4: Someone else produced the material. In any case, this material is circulating on the web. It is not my fault that it is available.

Reality: Demand generates supply. The more people willing to access and use the material, the more it will be generated and made available. By being part of the demand, you are personally contributing to the supply of CSAM.

1. My pathway to CSAM

Various underlying factors and motivations form a path towards your use of CSAM, by triggering thoughts and emotions that lead you to harmful behavior. In the exercises, you will be asked to reflect on your own life and values, as well as other perspectives on the use of CSAM.

What is a self-help program?

  • it is based on treatments that have been shown to be effective in treatment

  • it consists of different sections

  • it includes information and exercises to help you manage your everyday life and symptoms

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