February 6, 2015

Research Claiming Porn Decreases Rape is Bad Science

Research by Dr. Milton Diamond (1999) and Anthony D’Amato (2006) has resurfaced claiming to prove the increase of porn use has significantly reduced the incidence of rape in the United States and around the world.

According to experts, the conclusions of these studies are wrong based on bad data sampling and incorrect scientific methods. In other words: this is junk science.

“Diamond and D’Amato correlate government stats over the last few decades showing that rape is decreasing while porn is increasing,” said Dr. Donald Hilton, a neurosurgeon and clinical associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center. “They make an indefensible error in jumping to causation from this data.  By this reasoning, fertility rates are also decreasing over the same period.”

Dr. Hilton further explains the researchers used “notoriously unreliable government rape stats that have no scientific validity. They did not obtain this data themselves, but use politically nuanced numbers where police and government agencies are pressured to report lower data.”

Many studies, including Dr. Corey Rayburn Yung’s work last spring, have found that rape and sexual assault crimes are significantly underreported.

This research is highly flawed, as is the “conclusive” evidence. Dr. Mary Ann Layden, the director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, takes issue with the lack of scientific understanding of data.

“D’Amato says we can see the result by just looking at the graph of data he uses.  First, we do not just ‘look’ at data.  But even if we did, what you would see from the graph is that the drop down in the rape rate was almost all before the Internet (pre-1996).  After the explosion of the Internet, the graph shows the data go down and back up. If we were to just describe the data by ‘looking at it,’ we would say that early in the ‘Internet period’ the rate went down, and into the ‘Internet period’ the rate began to climb again until it was at the same level it was in 1996.”

This data does not definitively find that pornography reduces rape in society. Other studies have proven that porn use significantly effects how the brain functions, changing how a user acts and reacts in the real world, away from their computer and against other people.

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We must fight the misinformation in the media, supported by the porn industry.

Go to our Action Center for ways to get involved from home!

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