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.

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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