Porn Addiction and Violence: The Case of Ariel Castro

Written by Hysen Sisco, MIM Intern

On July 26, Ariel Castro plead guilty to 937 felony counts and declared, “My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind.” At his sentencing hearing, Castro made a bizarre, rambling testimony focused on two points: he was not a monster and his addiction to pornography broke down his self-control. While the first point is debatable, the second is founded in reality.

The escalation of porn to violence is well documented. As an addict develops a tolerance, they need to move to harder material to satiate their appetite. This pattern famously dictated the actions of Austin Sigg and Ted Bundy. Sigg, charged with the kidnapping, killing and dismemberment of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in October of 2012, actively sought out violent child pornography for a year prior to the attack.

Castro admitted he experienced the same acceleration in degree of pornography until he reached his current state, attempting to recreate what he had seen in porn. Many of the incidents described by his victims include restraint with chains and/or tape and the use of props.

Castro explained his actions (aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault) as a complete lack of self-control, broken down over a lifetime of “practice[ing] the art of masturbation and pornography.”

“I believe I am addicted to porn to the point that it really makes me impulsive and I just don’t realize what I am doing is wrong… When picked up the first victim,… I didn’t even plan it that day… I did not prey on these women, I just acted on my sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction.”

Dr. Mary Anne Layden, a psychotherapist and Director of Education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, testified before Congress in November of 2004 about the escalating effects of pornography. Layden’s testimony centered on Pornography Distortion, where reality crumbles into an idea that “Sex is not about intimacy … Sex is about predatory self-gratification, casual recreation, body parts, violence, feces, strangers, children, animals and using women as entertainment.”

Layden also explained that, “pornography causes violence and [those with] Permission-Giving Beliefs become carriers of these beliefs back to their homes, onto their jobs, into the street, onto the school yard. There they encounter women and children who do not have bodyguards.”

The three victims of Castro were not carefully chosen; his appetite, in effect, detonated on them.

 

WRITTEN BY HYSEN SISCO

Hysen graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in English. She is from Tokyo, Japan and enjoys reading, biking and analyzing movies and other people’s relationships.

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