ISPs Allow More Online Abuse

by Fr. Shay Cullen

Server cluster | Photo by RobH via Wikimedia Commons

There is greater awareness of child and woman sexual assaults worldwide and a strong reaction against it in recent years after centuries of tolerance and cover-up by society, religious institutions, and government agencies. Despite this awareness and more cases in court, child sexual abuse is getting worse. The child and adult pornography on the Internet spread by the Internet Service Providers is a major cause.

During the implementation of the lockdown from March 1 to May 24, 2020, incidents of online sexual abuse of children and exploitation increased by 265 percent. The first National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children conducted in 2015, which was led by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), revealed that one in every five children (17.1%) aged 13-17 years old experienced sexual violence while 124 (one in 25 or 3.2%) of all respondents experienced rape during childhood. The perpetrators are mostly family members, and that more boys (65.2%) than girls (60.4%) were raped. Yet, hundreds of thousands of sexual assaults go unreported because the victims fear they will not be believed or will be blamed. The victims bury the feelings of anger, hurt, and fear deep within them that can cause negative psychological effects for life.

In the UK, according to a search on Google for the year ending March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 3.8% of adults aged 16 to 74 years (1.6 million) had experienced sexual assault by rape or penetration (including attempts) since the age of 16 years (7.1% for women and 0.5% for men.)

The child and adult pornography on the Internet spread by the Internet Service Providers is a major cause.

In the United States, every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. Only six offenders in every thousand are arrested, tried, and convicted. Only a fraction of victims reports the sexual attack.

The Irish Times reports that “Last year (2020) the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ordered the prosecution of 168 people charged with rape, up from 124 in 2019. . . Meanwhile, 530 suspects faced prosecution for sexual offences in 2020, up 15 per cent from 459 the previous year. . . Ninety percent of rape victims do not report such crimes at all.”

In the natural world, only the human species sexually abuses their offspring on such a scale. Silence, tolerance, and apathy in society and institutions seem to be the norm. The child protectors are in the minority, it seems.

Multiple sex crimes against children are continually being allowed to pass through the computers of the telecommunication corporations with impunity and available for the perverted thrills of pedophiles.

The Philippine law, Republic Act 9775, demands that these telecommunication corporations, such as PLDT/Smart, Globe Telecoms, and Dito, must install state-of-the-art child porn blocking software, but they flout the law. The National Telecommunications Commission officials quiver with fear, it seems, before the almighty corporations that control the Internet. Proposed legislation to strengthen this law should set the daily fine for non-compliance at a million pesos a day until they comply. Microsoft has not confirmed if its effective software PhotoDNA and VideoDNA are deployed by the ISPs. We can presume the ISPs have not installed it since the child abuse images continue online.

“Powerful President Rodrigo Duterte, known for direct action, has yet to issue an executive order curbing the abuse by the ISPs. He should hold the owners of the ISPs accountable and protect our Filipino children, and no one else can do it.”

Thousands of Filipino children as young as three continue to be terrorized by being sexually abused online. This is arguably the worst act of terrorism, subversion, corruption, and criminal activity in the Philippines, done with impunity, not food sharing pantries declared as communist fronts.

Powerful President Rodrigo Duterte, known for direct action, has yet to issue an executive order curbing the abuse by the ISPs. He should hold the owners of the ISPs accountable and protect our Filipino children, and no one else can do it.

The family courts are doing justice for child victims, but too few are ever reported or get to court. This one did. In a landmark decision, Judge Gemma Theresa B. Hilario- Logronio, the acting presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 12 in Olongapo City, found on 12 May 2021 the accused Benito Andres y Rabago, alias “Lolo Bito,” guilty beyond reasonable doubt for crimes in violation of the Revised Penal Code concerning Republic Act 7610.

He was found guilty of committing two counts of lascivious conduct against each of two sisters in December 2016 and was sentenced in the first case to 12 years and one day to a maximum of 15 years, six months, and 20 days. In the second case, he was sentenced to suffer imprisonment of 10 years and one day to 17 years, four months, and one day. He was acquitted on another charge of rape. He was ordered to pay civil indemnity, moral and exemplary damages to each of the victims in each of the cases.

The defense lawyer argued that the minor son of Benito Andres y Rabago was the one to abuse the sisters. Being a minor, he would not be imprisoned but go to rehabilitation. He also argued that the Preda Foundation who had care and custody and protection of the children, had put them up to making a false accusation. After their testimony and recovery, the two sisters were reintegrated into their mother. During the trial, the defense lawyer presented the child victim/survivors as witnesses withdrawing their testimony by an affidavit of recantation.

“The Preda Foundation protects and helps child victims of trafficking and sexual abuse recover and starts a new life after the abuse. The aftercare program helps them continue their studies and maintains counseling and help for them.”

Judge Gemma Theresa B. Hilario-Logronio rejected that ploy and was convinced by the child victims’ original testimony in her decision that they testified clearly. In her decision, she said, “The minor complainants were firm, consistent and straight-forward in their testimony that it was not just the son of the accused that molested them but also their Lolo Bito. . .”

The Court also stated, “In fact, the probability that their mother influenced them in desisting from the instant case is higher than the PREDA influencing them to file the cases against the accused and to fabricate accusations to implicate him. While the mother has all the reasons to defend the accused, the Court cannot find any reason for PREDA to maliciously incriminate him.”

The Preda Foundation protects and helps child victims of trafficking and sexual abuse recover and starts a new life after the abuse. The aftercare program helps them continue their studies and maintains counseling and help for them. In this case, justice has been done. The accused is still out on bail as he is expected to file his appeal of the decision. Preda helps the children in its care win an average of 15 convictions every year. Justice is an important aspect of the healing process.
www.preda.org

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