July 12, 2016

STATEMENT: GOP Considering Pornography as a Public Health Crisis

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – According to a recent news report, the Republican National Convention is currently contemplating an amendment to its platform, which would declare pornography a public health crisis. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is encouraged by this development, and asks the Democratic National Convention to take similar action.

“The public health crisis of pornography is a bipartisan issue,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “I am encouraged to see the Republican National Convention consider the amendment to its platform recognizing the harms of pornography, and I am calling on the Democratic National Convention to do the same. The harms of pornography are becoming clear in light of overwhelming scientific and social research. For instance, research shows that pornography use is linked to increased verbal and physical sexual aggression, acceptance of rape myths, decreased brain matter, risky sexual behaviors among adolescents, higher incidence of STIs, reduced impulse control and decision making, and increased erectile dysfunction.”

“In addition to its negative impacts on public health, pornography damages the equality of women in society,” Hawkins added. “A study analyzing scenes from popular pornography films revealed that 88% of the scenes depict acts of aggression against women. It is time for Americans, no matter their political affiliation, to take a stand for women’s equality and for human dignity. There can be no true equality in America when violence against women is considered sexy.”

“I believe pornography today will follow the trend of the tobacco industry in public perception,” Hawkins continued. “Pornography today is pervasive and popular, similar to smoking in the 1950s, but as the harms become apparent, both the general public and elected officials will demand that a multi-disciplinary public health approach be implemented across the country to address it. I am calling on both the RNC and the DNC to endorse vigorous enforcement of existing federal obscenity law, and to make it clear that the inherently sexually exploitive pornography industry is inconsistent with American principles of human dignity and equality.”

To learn more, visit: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

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