PORN AND SEXUAL CRIME...
Stated well from another article on the link between porn and sexual crime is the stance we at FTND take on THIS article written by our organization (italicized is our addition to the statement that more accurately fits our organization’s purpose).
“In writing this article, it is not our intention to prove scientifically, or otherwise, that behind every violent sex crime there is a pornography problem. Clearly, violent sexual crimes existed long before the advent of the printing press and photography. We wrote this article because defenders of pornography are misleading the public by saying either that pornography is harmless or by saying that we lack the necessary “conclusive scientific data” that pornography causes sex crimes to justify suppressing pornography. “Conclusive scientific data” is not necessary. There is already enough evidence of a causal link between pornography and sex crimes to justify the education of the harmful effects of pornography”.
I once had a friend who was seriously hurt because he jumped down the stairs at a theater after watching a movie where an action star jumped off buildings. (Hey, I didn’t say it was my smartest friend, I just said it was a friend.) That may sound crazy, but because of the way we learn, it’s really not.
The thing is, everyone’s brain is wired to repeat what it sees and hears; it’s a major part of how we learn. And the more senses you get involved in the learning process, the more consistent the message, and the more often you see it, the more likely you are to be influenced by it (30). That’s just one more reason why viewing pornography is dangerous. It’s a short jump from using pornography to imitating what you’re seeing. And just like my friend, sometimes imitating the things you see can really hurt yourself and other people.
Did you know that there’s been a correlation found between people who view pornography and people who commit sexual crimes? Now I’m not saying that viewing pornography will make you go on a sexual crime rampage, but the way pornography affects you, it can influence your judgment and be connected with sexual violence.
Proving this point is kind of tough, because an accurate study “would require a sampling of much more than a thousand males, exposed to pornography through puberty and adolescence, while the other group is totally isolated from it’s influence in all its forms and varying degrees. Each group would then have to be monitored—through the commission of violent crimes or not” (1).
See what I mean? It’s kind of a tough study to set up. “In spite of the lack of formal research, though, the FBI’s own statistics show that pornography is found at 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators” (1). Now I think that’s kind of tough to ignore.
The people who promote pornography think that’s actually easy to ignore. They say either that pornography is harmless, or that there isn’t “conclusive scientific data” that pornography causes sex crimes to justify suppressing pornography. Sounds about right coming from someone who stands to make a profit in the industry. The fact is that the “conclusive scientific data” they’re talking about isn’t really necessary. There’s enough evidence, like the stuff from the FBI, to prove that there’s a link between pornography and sex crimes.
In fact, here’s a bunch of evidence about that link:
- * The University of New Hampshire did a study that showed that the states with the highest readership of pornographic magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, also have the highest rape rates (2).
- *The Michigan State Police Department found that pornography is used or imitated in 41 percent of the sex crimes they have investigated (3).
- *Dr. Victor Cline did research that showed how men who become addicted to pornographic materials begin to want more explicit or deviant material and end up acting out what they have seen (5).
- * Now this one will make your skin crawl—Dr. James Dobson interviewed Ted Bundy, one of the nation’s most notorious serial killers, on the day before his execution. Bundy said that the “most damaging kinds of pornography are those that involve sexual violence . . . The wedding of those two forces, as I know only too well, brings about behavior that is just, just too terrible to describe” (1).
- *Two doctors noted in their research-based book, Pornography and Sexual Aggression, that “Certain [aggressive] forms of pornography can affect aggressive attitudes toward women and can desensitize an individual’s perception of rape. These attitudes and perceptions are, furthermore, directly related to actual aggressive behavior against women.” They also found that adult pornography was connected with each of the 1,400 child sexual molestation cases in Louisville, Kentucky, and child pornography was connected with the majority of them (21).
- *Another review of controlled studies found that extensive viewing of the type of pornographic material commonly sold at adult bookstores was positively correlated with an increased self-reported willingness to commit rape or other forced sexual acts (28).
- *The Kingston Sexual Offenders Clinic in Canada found “an unexpected finding” when they conducted a study of their patients over a period of six years. “One of the rapists reported that he used consenting sex depictions to incite rape images in the process of preparing himself to attack a woman. Subsequent questioning revealed a further five rapists who made similar claims, and 10 of the 10 rapists who currently used (pornography) for enjoyment (not necessarily preparatory to offending) also said they used it to incite rape fantasies (22).
- *Another study says that a non-rapist population will show increased sexual arousal after having been exposed to “media-presented images of rape,” especially when the female victim demonstrates signs of pleasure and arousal. This exposure, they further claim, may also lead to a lessened sensitivity toward rape, acceptance of rape myths, and increased self-reported likelihood of raping and self-generated rape fantasies (11)(12).
- *Dr. Dolf Zillman and Dr. Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious negative effects on beliefs about sexuality in general, and on attitudes toward women in particular. They also found that pornography desensitizes people to rape as a criminal offense, and that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials that depict violence (such as sadomasochism and rape) (29).
- * Individuals with a predisposition for aggression (i.e., men who are at relatively high risk for aggression) have shown to be particularly drawn to images of pornography and are more likely to expose themselves to such images in the future than lower-risk individuals. Moreover, a number of priming studies have shown that men with earlier risk characteristics may interpret sexually explicit material differently than lower-risk individuals, such that pornography activates and reinforces inappropriate cognitive representations (e.g., hostility toward women) and fosters the development of sexual preoccupation in these men (14).
- *A review study based on 81 research studies (35 using aggressive porn stimuli and 46 using non-aggressive porn stimuli), concluded that “the empirical research on the effects of aggressive pornography shows, with impressive consistency, that exposure to these materials has a negative effect on attitudes toward women and the perceived likelihood to rape.” The study also noted that 70 percent of the 46 non-aggressive studies reported clear evidence of negative effects of exposure (25).
- *A meta-analysis, using the results of 24 original experimental studies, found that “violence within the pornography is not necessary to increase the acceptance of ‘rape myths’ (i.e., the myth that women secretly desire to be raped).” The study noted that the link between acceptance of rape myths and exposure to pornography stems from a simple premise—“that most pornography commodifies sex, that women become objects used for male pleasure, and that as objects of desire, they are to be acted on” (25).
- *A study for the Canadian Department of Justice found that when they exposed individuals who were habitually “high-frequency porn consumers” to non-violent, dehumanizing porn, those individuals were particularly likely to report that they might rape, were more sexually callous, and reported engaging in more acts of sexual aggression. The authors noted that the porn the individuals were exposed to was the kind that may in fact be most prevalent in mainstream commercial entertainment videos. The study found that more than twice as many men indicated at least some likelihood of raping after exposure to this material—20.4 percent of those who were exposed, versus 9.4 percent of those who weren’t exposed (25).
- *Another review of a series of studies of “common pornography” found that its consumption led to insensitivity towards victims of sexual violence, trivialization of rape as a criminal offense, trivialization of sexual child abuse as a criminal offense, increased belief that lack of sexual activity leads to health risks and increased acceptance of pre and extra-marital sexuality. The study noted, “habitual male consumers of common pornography appear to be at greater risk of becoming sexually callous towards female sexuality and concerns” (25).
You can see that there’s tons of info that backs up the connection between viewing porn and committing sex crimes. But, just so you get both sides of the issue, the porn pushers think they have evidence to support their point too. Here are the studies they always talk about:
So what’s the catch? Why is there support for both sides? Well, the porn pushers love to talk about these studies because they seem to validate their points. What they don’t like to talk about is how the people who have since reviewed these studies have found some major flaws in the conclusions. It turns out that there are a couple of things that distorted the results.
First of all, at the same time that pornography was legalized in all of those countries, a lot of other sex crimes including peeping, “indecency towards women,” and certain types of incest, were also made legal. So with those things no longer considered a crime, it’s no wonder the crime rates dropped.
Second, Kutchinsky put rape in the same category as less serious sex crimes. That made it easier to hide the fact that serious crimes like rape actually increased after pornography was legalized in Denmark (5).
Porn advocates also don’t like to talk much about the results of studies in Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, where the number of rapes increased when the constraints on the availability of pornography were lifted. Like how “when South Australia liberalized its laws on pornography and Queensland maintained its conservative policy . . . the number of rapes in Queensland remained at the same low level while South Australia’s showed a six fold increase” over a 13 year period (25).
There are some other things too that pro-pornography people like to say to discount the connection between pornography and sexual crime. Some people say it’s the characteristics of the people involved in sexual crime that matters more than the availability of pornography (1)(26)(27). Other researchers basically suggest that aggressive images rather than sexual images may be the primary instigation toward sexual offense (11)(12). Others reviewing the relation of aggression to sexual assault conclude it is time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior and “may actually provide a catharsis to alleviate sexual aggression” (13). A lot of people call this the “Cathartic Theory.” (So, mostly it’s just a lot of “scientist people” that call it that. I mean, when was the last time you heard one of your friends talk about the Cathartic Theory?)
But no matter what people say to try to try and make pornography seem good or harmless, there’s enough evidence out there that says it’s not, especially when it’s in the wrong hands. With porn being so easy to find, affordable, and accessible, you’ve got to know what you’re up against. Learn the facts about the negative affects of porn—all of them, there’s way more than just the link between porn and sexual crime—and you’ll think twice before looking at it.
- The Addiction Cycle
- Scientific Explanations of Addiction
- THE CHEMICALS BEHIND THE ADDICTION
- THE BRAIN & ADDICTION
- HOW IS PORNOGRAPHY REALLY A DRUG??
- COMPARING PORNOGRAPHY TO A HARD DRUG
- Choice Points: Stepping Out of the Addiction Cycle
- What Are the Effects of Pornography Anyway?
- STAGES OF ADDICTION & HOPELESSNESS
- UNCONTROLLABLE CONSUMPTION
- How We Got Here Part 4: The Media’s Drive for Higher Profits
- How We Got Here Part 3: Advancements in Technology
- How We Got Here Part 2: Slow Cultural Shifts
- How We Got Here Part 1: A Lack of Education and Awareness on the True Effects of Pornography
- PORN & RELATIONSHIPS
- PORN AND SEXUAL CRIME