US Capitol Building
January 23, 2018

Educating Congress on the Connection Between Pornography and Sexual Harassment

National Center on Sexual Exploitation staff have been making rounds on Capitol Hill, visiting with both members of Congress and senators, to educate elected officials and their staff about the connection between pornography consumption and sexual harassment, as well as other forms of sexual exploitation.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the formation of the #MeToo movement, lawmakers and their staff became more acutely aware of issues regarding sexual misconduct in the Halls of Congress.  As a result, efforts have been made both in the House and Senate to formulate sexual harassment training to protect both members and their staff from future instances of sexual misconduct.

Haley Halverson and Lisa Thompson in the Hart Senate Office Building
Haley Halverson and Lisa Thompson in the Hart Senate Office Building

Exposing the Connections

Our organization believes that such any training on sexual harassment would be incomplete without a discussion of the connection between pornography consumption and sexual harassment, violence, and assault. For example, elected officials and staff should know:

  • Pornography Teaches that Women Enjoy Sexual Violence: Analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos (those bought and rented most often) found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression. Eighty-seven percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated against women, and 95% of their responses were either neutral or expressions of pleasure.
  • Pornography Is Linked to Increased Sexual Violence: A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.

Influencing Lawmakers

In one of several fruitful meetings with different House and Senate offices, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and her staff engaged in a discussion with two of our VPs, Haley Halverson and Lisa Thompson, not only about the harms of pornography, but also about the dangers of sex trafficking on websites like Backpage.

You can learn more about the harms of pornography consumption here.

Katherine Blakeman

Katherine Blakeman

Director of Communications

Katherine Blakeman joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) as Director of Communications in August of 2017.  She works to foster a community of people who want to restore human dignity and end sexual exploitation through traditional press outreach, digital media, and email marketing.  She has testified before the Maryland House of Delegates on the public health harms of pornography.

Katherine has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including LifeSiteNews, NewsBusters, American Family News, EWTN Radio, Relevant Radio, Cosmo, Elle, Deseret News, the Daily Signal, the Daily Caller, NPR, HLN, and Fox News. She has been featured on Matt Fradd’s Love People, Use Things podcast, as well as the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s radio show Family Policy Matters. She writes a column for Townhall.com.  

Prior to joining NCOSE, Katherine served as Communications Director for two members of Congress and as the Communications Deputy at Heritage Action for America, where she blogged, conducted social media outreach, and joined radio shows across the country to discuss the organization’s priorities and goals.

Katherine participated in the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute fellowship at the United Nations Youth Conference in July of 2011, which sparked in her a passion for human rights issues and for speaking out for those living in poverty or a cycle of exploitation, particularly those who suffer from sexual exploitation. She is a graduate of Ave Maria University in Florida.  

Further Reading

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