Fortogragy Essay

This essay has a total of 1328 words and 9 pages.



In the September issue of The Forerunner (Vol. X, No. VI ), we examined the relationship
between pornography and violent crime in an article entitled "Mass Murder and Pornography
- Are They Related?"

Since the publication of the September issue, we have received a number of responses
challenging the claim that pornography and violent crime are related. These responses
implored us to use real, honest and acceptable facts in defending this position. As a
follow up to the many questions generated by this article, we have decided to give a more
complete overview of the research that has been done in this area.

The Effects of Pornography

Defenders of pornography argue that it is not harmful, and thus should not be regulated or
banned. Citing the 1970 Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, they
conclude that there is no relationship between exposure to erotic material and subsequent
behavior. But two subsequent decades of research based on the increased production of more
explicit and violent forms of pornography has shown the profound effects pornography can
have on human behavior.

Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (University of Wisconsin) found that brief exposure to
violent forms of pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behavior. Male viewers
tend to be more aggressive towards women, less responsive to pain and suffering of rape
victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape.1

Dr. Dolf Zimmerman and Dr. Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography
had serious adverse 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.2

These researchers also found that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for
increasingly deviant materials which involve violence, like sadomasochism and rape.3

Feminist author Diana Russell notes in her book Rape and Marriage the correlation between
deviant behavior (including abuse) and pornography. She also found that pornography leads
men and women to experience conflict, suffering, and sexual dissatisfaction.4

Researcher Victor Cline (University of Utah) has documented in his research how men become
addicted to pornographic materials, begin to desire more explicit or deviant material, and
end up acting out what they have seen.5

According to Charles Keating of Citizens for Decency Through Law, research reveals that 77
percent of child molesters of boys and 87 percent of child molesters of girls admitted
imitating the sexual behavior they had seen modeled in pornography.

Sociologists Murray Straus and Larry Baron (University of New Hampshire) found that rape
rates are highest in states which have high sales of sex magazines and lax enforcement of
pornography laws.6

Michigan state police detective Darrell Pope found that of the 38,000 sexual assault cases
in Michigan (1956-1979), in 41 percent of the cases pornographic material was viewed just
prior to or during the crime. This agrees with research done by psychotherapist David
Scott who found that "half the rapists studied used pornography to arouse themselves
immediately prior to seeking out a victim."

The Final Report of the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography lists a full
chapter of testimony (197-223) from victims whose assailants had previously viewed
pornographic materials. The adverse effects range from physical harm (rape, torture,
murder, sexually transmitted disease) to psychological harm (suicidal thoughts, fear,
shame, nightmares).

The Facts on Pornography

A day-care director, now serving three years for three counts of first-degree sexual
assault, confessed the he had "started picking up pornographic materials occasionally,
going to bookstores ... no one knew, not even my wife ... now I do recognize fully the
shocking facts about pornography and how it will draw you into its clutches away from God
into sinful fantasies ..."

Multiplied incidents like the above graphically illustrate how the $8 billion-per-year
porn industry has carved inroads into American life:
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