Harmful to Minors
Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex (ISBN 0-8166-4006-8 [hardcover], ISBN 1-56025-516-1 [paperback]) is a 2002 book by Judith Levine. The foreword was written by former United States Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who resigned after suggesting that masturbation be promoted as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity.
The "Author's Note" states: "Most of the research for this book, including interviews, was conducted between 1996 and early 2000, and pertinent statistics were updated in 2001. The names of all nonprofessionals have been fictionalized, along with some identifying characteristics."
In the book, Levine lambastes US laws concerning child pornography, statutory rape, and abortion for minors using a variety of studies and interviews with teenagers and adults alike (see Acknowledgments). Levine also analyzes abstinence-only sex education, which Levine considers counter-productive and dangerous.
The book also examines the terms "harmful to minors" and "indecency," which Levine considers to be umbrella terms for censorship, as well as the Dylan v. Heather case, and the little-known SPARK-Support Program for Abusive Reactive Kids and STEP-Sexual Treatment Education Program and Services, both of which she claims do far more harm than the child sex offenders did themselves.
Because of its controversial nature and content, it was nearly impossible for Levine to find a publisher—one prospective publisher even called it "radioactive." University of Minnesota Press eventually agreed to publish the book, despite cries of outrage from the right wing of Minnesota's political establishment.
It became famous after it won the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Current Interest. Conservatives such as Joe Scarborough and Robert H. Knight accused Levine of promoting pedophilia for her suggestion that the US adopt statutory rape laws similar to those in effect at that time in The Netherlands (The Netherlands has since repealed those provisions).[clarification needed] Some demanded the book be removed from libraries.[who?]
- Duffy, Michael (December 19, 1994). "Getting Out the Wrecking Ball". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
- Official webpage (from University of Minnesota Press).
- Radio interview about Harmful to Minors (with Doug Henwood – links to MP3 and streaming audio).
- "The Taboos of Touch" by Debbie Nathan, AlterNet, April 18, 2002. - A review of Harmful to Minors.
- "What Judith Levine is Really Saying" by Liz Highleyman, AlterNet, April 26, 2002.
- "Reject Academic Cover for Child Molesters, CFI says", Concerned Women for America, March 28, 2002.
- "Response to Judith Levine's Harmful to Minors" by S. Michael Craven, National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.
- Harmful To Minors (book review) by Deborah Roffman, Psychology Today, August 01, 2002
- Parents: Hello boys by Marina Cantacuzino, The Guardian, April 17, 2002.