February 7, 2018

Kansas Resolution Continues Societal Awakening About the Negative Impacts of Pornography

The Kansas Senate voted Tuesday to pass a resolution condemning pornography for the harm it causes both individuals and society; the Kansas House took similar action in 2017. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds these actions.

It wasn’t long ago that the American public considered smoking innocuous. People smoked at work and in restaurants. Cigarette commercials were common on television and in magazines. Some doctors event touted faulty research claiming smoking was beneficial. But, ultimately, the dangerous effects of smoking could not be denied.

Today, we are experiencing a parallel societal awakening about the negative impacts of a different toxic material—pornography. As research and harms from personal experiences mount, elected officials and the general public are increasingly recognizing the wide range of public health harms associated with pornography.

With yesterday’s action, Kansas joined a growing list of states officially recognizing pornography’s public health harms. These include Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The house chambers in both Virginia and Pennsylvania have also done likewise.

These resolutions are backed by numerous studies that demonstrate the link between pornography use and negative impacts. For instance, 38 neuroscience-based studies of Internet pornography users assessing brain structures and functioning provide strong support for the addiction model, and more than 45 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health and poorer cognitive outcomes. Numerous studies also associate pornography use with erectile dysfunction in men, as well as the link between pornography use and decreased relationship satisfaction.

In light of these significant findings, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to recognize the public and individual health harms of pornography.  Pornography consumption is ubiquitous in our society, and its public health consequences only promise to grow if the public is not made aware of the dangers.

The American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri did significant work to advance and encourage the passage of the Kansas resolution.

For an overview of representative research on the harms of pornography visit: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth.

Lisa L. Thompson

Vice President of Research and Education

Lisa L. Thompson serves as the Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, where she oversees NCOSE’s strategic planning for increased public understanding of sexual exploitation related issues. To this end Lisa conducts analysis, develops research initiatives, and liaises with a wide-range of public officials, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher learning, and academics to generate collaborative action to combat the full spectrum of sexual exploitation especially as pertains to the harms of pornography, stripping, prostitution, and sexual trafficking.

Lisa joins the NCOSE following nearly two years with World Hope International (WHI), where as its Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa administered WHI’s anti-trafficking and sexual-violence recovery programs in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While working for WHI Lisa also served as a steering committee member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), a collaboration initiative she helped found, and as a reviewer for the Journal of Human Trafficking.

She has written on the subjects of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation for publications such as Christian History and Biography, Caring, Mutuality, PRISM, and Social Work and Christianity. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global in which she contributed chapters about the use of torture by pimps, as well as the policy conflicts between sex trafficking abolitionists and HIV/AIDS advocates. She is the co-editor of a special anti-trafficking edition of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work journal Social Work & Christianity and has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress. Lisa routinely speaks about sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution, pornography, stripping), and facilitates anti-trafficking training events for a diverse range of audiences.

Additionally, Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters. In that role she pioneered strategies for The Salvation Army to create recovery services for survivors of sexual trafficking and advocated on public policy issues and initiatives related to combating sexual trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Lisa chaired The Salvation Army’s North American Anti-Trafficking Council and directed its Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking. Previous to her arrival at The Salvation Army, Lisa served as Policy Representative for the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, from 1998 to 2001. While there, she was heavily involved in NAE’s advocacy efforts seeking passage of legislation now known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. She has also worked for consulting firms managing Community Develop Block Grants programs in Kentucky, and taught English as a second language in the People’s Republic of China.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Western Kentucky University, and her Master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute and University.

Further Reading