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Child Prostitution And Sexual Abuse: A Short History

2741 words - 11 pages

A common misconception among many people is that child prostitution and child sexual abuse is a relatively recent and regional phenomenon, something that is now more widespread than times past. In actuality, it is a child sexual abuse consciousness that is more widespread. The child sexual abuse and prostitution identification as we understand it today is different to how it was perceived by the majority of humankind in previous millennia. The separation of sexual identity and child prostitution identity that we take for granted is not seen in early civilizations, or in many existing tribal communities.Throughout history children have been sexually abused in one way or another. The abuse has taken many forms, from marriage at a very young age to incest, and even slavery. It has not just been prevalent in today's society, child sexual abuse and prostitution was widespread in the time of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages.While today the sexual exploitation of children might be for the enjoyment or for the financial gain of the individuals who take advantage of the children, it serves no affirmative purpose, economic or otherwise in the lives of the children who are thus exploited. Child prostitution and sexual abuse is more prevalent than anyone could possibly imagine. It is a multibillion-dollar industry, with children being bought, sold and traded like mass-produced goods.Ancient TimesSexuality between adults and children is not a new phenomenon. History shows us even 2000 years ago, during the time of ancient Greece, it was not considered as abuse, but as training/education of a boy or girl to prepare them for the behavior and ways of adulthood and of citizenship. This is often hard to imagine of the Greeks, due to their history of love and care for their children and the amplified feeling in our own culture to issues of child abuse.A considerable part of education of boys in ancient Greece was entrusted to warriors and statesmen who used them as what we now might call homosexual lovers. This relationship was condoned throughout Greece, although in Sparta it was considered to be part of a boy's training to become a warrior. The child would become the experienced man's younger lover, who would serve as a tutor and role model and in time they would complement each other as a fighting team. In the end the warrior/ teacher would help his student choose a wife. Bloch (2001) reports that "According to Athenian custom, Plato tells us, there can be no 'dishonor' to 'one who does service to another under the idea that he will be improved by him either in wisdom, or in some other particular of virtue"' (p. 186/187). Plato in this case is speaking of what we now call pederasty.Young girls were not exempt from this type of training. Spartan girls were given a similar upbringing by mature women that allowed them activity unknown elsewhere in Greece or the known world. Girls like boys were trained in...

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