The Links Between Pornography and Sexual Violence

Pornography

Pornography is a government-controlled industry for many reasons. It is sexual in nature and involves risky behaviors in its production. Moreover, some studies suggest that pornography is directly linked to sexual violence.

Pornography is an adult form of entertainment from which children are generally banned from viewing and participating. Some religious groups believe pornography to be bad because they believe it promotes promiscuity and sexual aggression towards women. Many people believe it causes rape. Critics also point out that pornography provides participants with an environment where all of their sexual needs and fantasies are met, which can cause a person to be overly excited or aroused, sometimes to the point of using violence or force to fulfill their sexual desires. A 2011 Bartol & Bartol study found that men who are highly aggressive towards women tend to drink, watch porn, and believe men should overpower women sexually.

An overwhelming majority of people support the ban on pornography for children, and over half of people support adult porn regulation. Conservative Protestants are the leaders in America on this position, according to a study by Darren & Christopher in 1997. This religious group believe pornography is an abomination to God, because in their Bible, it violates the practice of a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman for the rest of their marriage.

Conservative Protestants also strongly believe in the faithful attendance of church and the practice of abstinence among the young and single. Their followers believe pornography promotes sexual violence and aggression towards women and that it creates contempt for and victimization of women. This leads to the breakdown of the family, morals, and social structure in society. In their minds, women are supposed to be good mothers and faithful wives who care for and take care of their families. Children are supposed to be obedient and respectful to their parents until they are grown-ups who are able to choose best for themselves. Men are supposed to be faithful husbands and good fathers who protect and provide for their families.

In their view, pornography solicits the extreme opposite behaviors and practices of these moral and religious beliefs and codes, bringing evil to society. They want to keep the world safe for adults, fun for children, and right with God, and they are strongly against pornography on all levels because it influences people to do things in direct opposition to these beliefs.

A 2003 study by Lemonik found that pornography, child pornography, and other kinds of degrading and sexually explicit materials lead to violence and sexual violence towards women, boys, girls, and men in some instances. People are aroused at the sight or touch of another person they perceive to be a sexual object. Arousal also is heightened by dominating someone thought to be less powerful. Asian and Eastern European women are forced through violence to participate in the sex trade.

According to Lemonik, three factors contribute to sexual violence: the need to satisfy sexual desires, the desire to obtain power through force or violence, and the belief or practice of degrading and exploiting adults and children. When these children are young, they are forced to watch pornography not only as a way to show them for what they are wanted, but also, surprisingly, to ease the discomfort, anxiety, or fear of participating.

Twenty-seven years ago, the United States Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography showed a connection between sexually violent content and sexual aggression towards women because many sex offenders admitted to watching it or participating in it as a youth or an adult. According to Argosy University, most sex offenders who are rapists are young, male, single, unemployed, drink or use drugs, and have an arrest record.

Pornography is easier to get now than it was 40 years ago and it is available for free on some Internet sites. Most free, online adult porn does not contain the violent and degrading material found in other kinds which are for sale and controlled by the government. The kind of porn which depicts extreme forms of domination, force, violence, humiliation, and abuse to another person is called triple-X. Studies on pornography and women show that men are more aggressive towards women who upset them prior to the sexual encounter. Already angered males are even aroused by the sight of a woman suffering. According to Bartol & Bartol, people with a history of sexual abuse associate pain with pleasure, and believe it is normal to be aggressive or violent to a sexual partner. The aggression and abuse played out in triple-X videos influence the behaviors seen in violent sex offenders.

Regulation for the pornography industry is necessary because the product itself causes people to be sexually aroused, aggressive, and violent towards participants, particularly women and children. Women and children are used for sex and for profit, and are abused and sexually abused in the process. There are concerns over sexually transmitted diseases being passed from person to person because there is multiple and frequent changing of sex partners during the making of porn.

Other concerns give rise to the question of whether the sexual aggression and humiliation presented in triple-x and adult porn perpetuates certain false ideas surrounding women and sex. The Palys study states that some men believe women mean yes when they say no, women will like it once they try it, and women who get raped deserve it. These issues lead to some of the moral and social destruction taking place in society concerning the rights of women and children. The U.S. has the highest number of rape crimes in the world. If these are the effects of pornography on individuals and society as a whole, then pornography needs to remain under strict control of the government.

While pornography is supported by its consumers and producers, there are larger concerns in communities and societies about the effects it has on individuals, particularly rape victims. The impact of rape passes the point of actual victimization of the sexual offense; rape victims experience victimization in the justice system, in the media, and in the community. In order to minimize these effects, there needs to be more education in the community on the appropriate uses of pornography and effective responses to situations where people are presented with porn or being exploited for sexual favors.

Opinion by Tamilia Seivwright

Sources:
Argosy University. (2012). Rape.
Bartol C. R. and Bartol A. M. (2011). Criminal Behavior: A Psychology Approach, 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc, Print.
Print, Darren, E. S., & Christopher, G. E. (1997, May). The cognitive structure of a moral crusade:
Conservative Protestantism and opposition to pornography. Social Forces, 75(3), 957-980, Print.
Print, Lemonik, B. R. (2003, Dec). Book review of dangerous relationships: pornography, misogyny, and rape by Diana Russell California: Sage, 1998. Sexualities, Evolution & Gender, 5(3), 217-221, Print
Print, Palys, T. S. (1986, Jan). Testing the common wisdom: The social content of video pornography. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 27(1), 22-35. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0079859, Print

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