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Letter: Sexual legacies

IT IS quite true that some people become addicted to pornography, sex with prostitutes, sex with children ("Yes, I am addicted to sex", 3 May).

Is it any wonder? Every child's first encounter with sex in our market- driven society is through its pervasive exploitation by the mass media in order to sell almost every conceivable product and service. Most alienated individuals in the cultural deserts of suburbia, where community has long ceased to exist, seize upon sex as their only source of pleasure. The common factor for all types of sexual addict is that their partners are treated as objects. Any child who undergoes the shock of abuse is at great risk of learning to treat others as mere pieces of meat. Hence the proportion of abused children who go on to become abusers themselves. The only difference with Mary Bell was that she didn't wait until she was older - and her rehabilitation started sooner.

Dermot Smyth