‘If Those Were Pictures of You, You Would Understand’

The New York Times

Two sisters talk candidly about their lives after being sexually abused as children. It has been 10 years, but online photos and videos continue to haunt them.

Two sisters from the Midwest are among the untold number of survivors of child sexual abuse who say they are unable to escape their horrific experiences because of the internet.

Millions of photos and videos of children being sexually abused exist on a wide range of platforms, from Dropbox to Facebook Messenger, for criminals around the world to see. An investigation by The New York Times found that the technology industry has consistently failed to take coordinated steps to shut down the illegal content.

Because online predators sometimes stalk people in the photos and videos, the two sisters, now 17 and 21, do not discuss their experiences publicly for fear of being recognized. They agreed, however, to talk to The Times if they were not named. They are identified here by their first initials, F. and E.

When they were 7 and 11, the sisters were sexually abused by their father. In one video, the younger sister, F., was drugged and raped by him and another man. Both men are now in prison, but the imagery continues to circulate on the web.

This year alone, photos and videos of the sisters were found in over 130 child sexual abuse investigations involving mobile phones, computers and cloud storage accounts.

The following has been condensed and edited for clarity from recorded conversations with the sisters and their mother.

Find more information online here.

Filed Under  Child Pornography  Childhood Sexual Abuse  News  Paroline 

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