Winnipeg, MB: Today, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), on behalf of the Phoenix 11, are releasing an Advocacy Impact Statement to advance the voices of victims and survivors whose sexual abuse was recorded and, in most instances, distributed online.
Over the last year, C3P and NCMEC hosted a series of meetings with a group of survivors of child sexual abuse and child sexual abuse imagery. As a result of these meetings, these young women have banded together as the “Phoenix 11” and have created a multi-year advocacy agenda to advance the voices of victims and survivors who have been historically marginalized.
One pillar of the advocacy agenda is to call upon governments to do more to address the global epidemic of child sexual abuse imagery. The misuse of technology has accelerated the propagation and spread of child sexual abuse imagery, contributed to normalizing the sexualization of children, and made it abundantly easier for offenders around the world to actively participate in the illegal and illicit behaviours. The problem is only getting worse, and the Phoenix 11 are determined to do what they can to change this reality for themselves, and for future victims.
“We are proud of these amazing young women and their enormous courage to speak and use the collective power of their voices to affect change for themselves and the others who continue to suffer in silence,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P.
In advance of the Five Country Ministerial meeting in Australia in August, C3P and NCMEC, on behalf of the Phoenix 11, wrote letters to senior government officials focusing on the right of survivors to demand and expect the expeditious removal of their child sexual abuse imagery from the internet, and to develop tangible programs and remedies to assist in victim recovery as well as the identification and rescue of current victims.
“For many years, NCMEC has advocated on behalf of those children victimized in sexually abusive images. Finally, the time has come where these strong survivors are using their own voices and demanding a better world for all child victims, many of whom are currently in abusive situations,” said Michelle DeLaune, NCMEC Chief Operating Officer.
To underscore the serious impact of these crimes, the Phoenix 11 drafted the following Advocacy Impact Statement to shed light on the serious social epidemic.
Phoenix 11 Advocacy Impact Statement
“For a long time we were afraid. We were afraid of the dark, we were afraid of the unknown, we were afraid of our past and what it meant for our future. Alone, isolated, yet exposed to the world, we knew there were others like us out there, yet we were scared to confront their pain because of what they understood about our pain.
“Last year we all took a bold step to overcome the fears about ourselves, to band together to become a force for change. To speak for all those who cannot speak for themselves. To make the invisible visible. To make the two dimensional three dimensions.
“We are the Phoenix 11. Sexually abused as children, reduced to child sex abuse images, and stripped of our dignity and humanity, we have risen together as powerful young women who are retaking our identities and self-worth.
“No longer content to live in the shadows, we are redefining what it means to be victims who were powerless to stop the relentless onslaught of the technology of abuse.
“We are survivors of sexual torture, child rape, erotic photoshoots, pedophile sleepovers, elementary school sex shows, streaming BDSM, and twisted sexual desires whose digital images are trafficked worldwide to fulfill the endless needs of an evil perverted community which takes pleasure from our pain.
“Now we are putting the world on notice that we will no longer be a silent suffering collage of young girls and boys whose nameless and often faceless images and videos circulate worldwide in the internet cesspool of humanity.
“We are the Phoenix 11.
Hear our voice.
See our strength.
Answer our call.
We will not be stopped.
We will not be silent.”
A spokesperson is available for interviews in Brisbane.