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It’s staggering that in 2016, so many are still refusing to acknowledge the broader harms of pornography on society – but what are the harms exactly?

With high speed wifi available at the touch of our fingertips, and smart phones found in most teens pockets, it’s no surprise that the age of first-exposure to pornography is constantly lowering – and this is having a dangerous effect on the attitudes of our youth toward sex, consent, and violence.

There have also been many performers in the industry who have spoken out about the harms done to them through pornography; with sexual, physical and emotional abuse often experienced on set and behind the scenes.

Since many people don’t often like to read long studies and thesis pieces, I thought I’d put together this simple post, with examples of how pornography harms society.

1. Pornography use has been linked to an increase in sexual assault and domestic violence/violence against women. 

  • “Convicted rapists and others caught assaulting young girls and minors confessed to having watched porn videos before committing such crimes.” – Big Porn Inc (2011), p243. Originally in Karmakar, 2010.
  • Michigan State Police ( Lt. Darrell H. Pope) studied and recorded the use of pornography in sex crimes, researching 48,000 sex crimes spanning a 20 year period (1956-1979). (Research was done in 1977, replicated in 1981).
    • In 42% of the 48,000 sex crimes investigated, police indicated that pornography was involved — used just prior to, or during the act of sexual assault — as stated by the victim or the offender. (Source)

2. Pornography has been proven to negatively influence the attitudes of teens and young men toward sex. 

  • A London based study of 130 teenagers aged 16-18, showed that risky, coercive and painful anal sex had become normalised amongst many teens, with girls rarely engaging out of sexual pleasure – but rather, coercion – and boys wanting “to copy what they saw in pornography.” Source
  • “The biggest common denominator of the increase of intimate partner rape of women between 14 and 80 is the consumption of porn by the offender … We have seen a huge increase in physical injuries, torture, drugging, sharing photos and film without consent and deprivation of liberty.” – Di McLeod – Director of Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence. Source
  • NSW Police and Men’s Referral Services discuss links between pornography consumption, and dangerous attitudes of teenage boys toward sex. (Source)
    • “The fastest growing part of the problem of domestic violence is young people. We are seeing more young people put before courts than we have ever seen. The high use of pornography by young men is astounding…the highest users are [aged] between 14 and 25. Researchers tell us that when young men, 16-year-olds have to be told and educated that it is not OK to have sex with a young woman without consent – that’s not ok. Some young men don’t know any better unless they are educated. It’s true that’s the battle front.” – NSW Police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch.
    • The Men’s Referral Service manager Nathan DeGuara said there was a strong correlation between pornography and domestic violence. “Pornography sets up the expectations of what a man should expect from a woman. Pornography is typically about men doing whatever is it is they want to do to women.” He said the service, which offered confidential telephone counselling for men with violent urges, often received calls about domestic violence stemming form unrealistic sexual expectations. And these were often created by pornography.
  • In an Australian study, it was revealed that children as young as 4 are demonstrating sexually inappropriate behaviour, as well as sexually abusing other children. Experts believe this is due to children being exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages (Source).
    • 56 per cent of the cases of sexual assault and indecent acts reported on school grounds were committed by juveniles aged 10-17 (The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – data from Sep 2014 to Sep 2015)
    • 20 years ago, only 11% of sexual abuse on school grounds was committed by juveniles
  • A Canadian study of teen boys revealed that ‘those who regularly accessed porn tended to think that it was okay to hold a girl down and force her to have sex’. Wellard (2001). In: Big Porn Inc (2011). Groomed to Consume Porn: How Sexualised Marketing targets Children. Hamilton, M p 20

3. Exposure to porn increases acceptance of rape myths and violence against women

  • “A meta-analysis of 46 published research studies on the effects of pornography on sexual perpetration, attitudes regarding intimate relationships, and attitudes regarding the rape myth found that exposure to pornographic material puts one at increased risk for committing sexual offenses, experiencing difficulties in one’s intimate relationships, and accepting rape myths (i.e. beliefs that trivialize rape or blame the victim for the crime).
  • Specifically, there is a 22% increase in sexual perpetration; a 20% increase in negative intimate relationships; and a 31% increase in believing rape myths. A total sample size of 12,323 people comprised the present meta-analysis. The studies confirmed the link between increased risk for negative development when exposed to pornography.2 – Elizabeth Oddone-Paolucci, Mark Genuis and Claudio Violato, The Changing Family and Child Development, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 48-59.  Online Source
  • Another meta-analysis examined 30 different studies with a total of 2,040 participants and concluded that exposure to pornography increases behavioral aggression. While there are many factors that influence this effect (for example, the content of the pornography viewed), the researchers conclude that a connection between exposure to pornography and subsequent behavioral aggression exists.        Allen, M.; D’Alessio, D.; & Brezgel, K. (1995). A Meta-Analysis Summarizing the Effects of Pornography II, Human Communication Research, Vol. 22, Number 2. pp. 258-283. Online Source
  • A study from Zillmann, Dolf (1982) found that massive exposure (4 hours 40 minutes over six weeks) to standard pornography (people having consensual, nonviolent sex) resulted in:
    • 1. a loss of compassion toward women as rape victims and toward women in general;2. a loss of concern about the effects of pornography on others;
    • 3. a need for more violent and bizarre forms of sex;
    • 4. a desensitization to violent, non-coercive hard core pornography; and
    • 5. a trivialization of rape. (Source)
  • A content analysis of the 50 best-selling adult videos revealed that across all scenes:
    • 3,376 verbal and/or physically aggressive acts were observed.
    • On average, scenes had 11.52 acts of either verbal of physical aggression, ranging from none to 128.
    • 48 percent of the 304 scenes analyzed contained verbal aggression, while more than 88 percent showed physical aggression.
    • 72 percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated by men.
    • 94 percent of aggressive acts were committed against women. [xvii] Source
    • 95% of targets responded with either expressions of pleasure or neutrally – Bridges (2010). p46. In: Big Porn Inc. (2011). Tankard Reist, M & Bray, A. Introduction, p xix.

4. Pornographers admit to violence against women in porn:

  • Sam Benjamin (author of Confessions of an Ivy League Performer) stated that his job was to make sure ‘the girls got punished,’ and that the most memorable scenes were those where female ‘targets were verbally degraded and physically humiliated.’ (Source: Big Porn Inc, 2011).
Note: This post will continue to be added to over time.

If you suffer from sex addiction, you can learn more about resources that can help in this previous post of mine: Click here.

If this post has triggered you, please call Lifeline or your nearest crisis support centre.

 

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