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Porn leads to violence against women

Published: Monday, Aug. 1 2011 10:16 p.m. MDT

NEW YORK — The hits pornography generates on the Internet may not be limited to website statistics. Morality in Media is trying to bring attention to studies that show pornography increases violence against women.

"Today's porn producers are featuring violence due to its popularity among consumers," said Dawn Hawkins, Morality in Media's executive director, in a press release. "Spousal violence is also one of our greatest concerns — the husband consuming violent porn and then living out the pornographic scenes in his marriage."

The release is part of a four-week awareness campaign that began on July 11. The first week focused on pornography addiction. This was followed by looking at the harm to children and links to sex trafficking. This week it looks at violence against women. A website called PornHarms.com details the campaign.

Patrick Trueman, president of Morality in Media, told CNS, "Men are watching porn movies that are very violent and they want their wife or partner to repeat out what they see in the films. There's an increase in sexual trafficking, because as men see pornography they're hiring prostitutes."

In July, Newsweek magazine looked at prostitution and its connections to pornography. It also found a link with violence, "Overall, the attitudes and habits of sex buyers reveal them as men who dehumanize and commodify women, view them with anger and contempt, lack empathy for their suffering, and relish their own ability to inflict pain and degradation."

In the Morality in Media press release, Trueman said studies show that pornography leads to violence because the excitement factor for porn diminishes and requires more and more deviant materials to gain the same level of excitement. "Internet pornography consumers are essentially training their brains to demand violence, because the images available are unimaginably depraved and violent. By not putting a stop to this illegal pornography available on the Internet, our country is creating a culture of violence for today's woman."

Porn Harms is hosting several events about the subject this week, including a live discussion on FaceBook today at 2 p.m. MDT.

Ironically, because studies show that viewing pornography actually causes harm, it is getting more difficult to conduct studies on the subject. Mary Anne Layden, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania told CNS, "For those of us who are in academic institutions, our research has to be cleared by an institutional review board … You're mandated not to hurt your subjects. … What institutional review board is going to give you permission to do your study?"

At least one correlation study, however, claimed pornography has the opposite effect on violence. Todd D. Kendalls, who was an assistant professor of economics at Clemson University in South Carolina, found that "the arrival of the Internet was associated with a reduction in rape incidence." He told the Christian Science Monitor that saying pornography causes sex crimes "is a bit like saying that many Mexicans like tacos, and so the way to solve our country's illegal immigration problem is to abolish Mexican food."

Layden, on the other hand, told CNS about a study from 1984 where one group watched a lot of pornography, another group watched less and a third watched none. The group that watched the most pornography, for example were more accepting of rape — thinking rapists should spend 50 percent less time in jail than the group that watched no pornography.

But getting something done about pornography, even with all the proof that it is harmful, is difficult. Hawkins at Morality in Media told OneNewsNow, "The goal of that is to get the Department of Justice to prosecute illegal, hardcore adult pornography." But, so far "there have been zero prosecutions under this administration."

Email: mdegroote@desnews.com

TWITTER: degroote

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