May 29, 2018

Let’s talk about WHY: The connection between pornography and sexual violence

Do you ever ask yourself why?

Why is there so much pain, hurt and sexual violence happening to and around us? Does the #MeToo movement make you ask how this could be happening on such a massive magnitude? Why sexual assault on college campuses is at an all-time high?

Let me give you one explanation: we live in a hyper-sexualized, pornified culture where pornography is mainstream, accepted and shaping the sexual template of the next generation. “The most respected and cited study on mainstream pornography content found that physical aggression, which included spanking, open-hand slapping, and gagging, occurred in over 88% of scenes, while expressions of verbal aggression was found in 48% of the scenes. The researchers concluded that 90% of scenes contained at least one aggressive act if both physical and verbal aggression were combined.” Boys and men are consuming pornography and being told over and over again that women enjoy violent, nonconsensual sexual encounters. A meta-analysis of pornography and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies show that, “the accumulated data leave little doubt that, on the average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression than individuals who do not consume pornography or who consume pornography less frequently.”

Pornography is the narrative for so much of the media in pop culture. Our movies, music, video games and TV shows are all porn informed. And they are informed by the violent, aggressive pornography described above. The media that we are consuming is constantly feeding us these themes of sexual violence. Take the HBO show The Deuce for example, the entire story line is about the pornography industry and prostitution which sets up its producers for gratuitous pornographic scenes and disturbing, graphic sexual content. Steam, a video-gaming platform, is steeped with games that promote themes of sexual violence, exhibitionism, and rape. For many of the games, they are practically pornography films that users are able to interact with. House Party’s, one of the worst offenders on Steam, main objective is to successfully coerce and trick women into sex. Users get to act out sexual encounters on these video games that by any standard would be considered rape and extreme sexual violence. All of these examples support the obvious fact that our society and pop culture is being controlled like puppets being manipulated at the hands of the pornography industry.

Honestly, how can we be shocked by all the sexual violence when our culture is so deeply influenced by the pornography industry and everything it teaches?

It’s time to open our eyes to all the harm pornography is bringing into our world and its connection to violence against women.

If the #MeToo movement is really committed to changing the narrative about sexual assault and treatment of women, then let’s get serious and hold the pornography industry accountable.

Natalie Ford

Natalie Ford

Intern

Natalie Ford, a senior at Brigham Young University completing a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion, is NCOSE’s Political and Strategies intern. Over the past few years, Natalie has been involved with several projects supporting different vulnerable population including a trip to Lesvos, Greece to work in a refugee camp. She will graduate in April 2018 and is excited to put her education and experiences to work and is especially interested in women’s health issues.

Further Reading