February 1, 2016

STATEMENT: Utah Legislators Consider Declaring Obscenity a Public Health Crisis

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – A resolution introduced in the Utah State Legislature seeks to declare pornography a “public health hazard” and urges education and policy change to battle it. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) commends this historic resolution and its call for policy changes, education, prevention, and research.

“The harms and consequences of pornography are so pervasive that it is beyond an individual or family’s ability to handle alone,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “The mounting research is clear: today’s hardcore pornography is significantly linked to increases in sexual violence, along with decreased brain matter for regular users in the regions used for motivation and decision-making, and we are finding that porn induced sexual dysfunction is on the rise. New research, The Porn Phenomenon, conducted by Barna Group reveals that a quarter of young adults are first exposed to pornography before puberty. This has dangerous social ramifications, because as pornography shapes the sexual templates of rising generations, violence and abuse of women and children becomes normalized. The government must recognize the science that confirms the harms of pornography to individuals and to society.”

“Experts have framed pornography as a public health crisis for years and this past summer, members of the U.S. Congress were educated on these realities in a Capitol Symposium hosted by NCOSE,” Hawkins continued. “If we want to curb child sexual exploitation, the rape culture, or the rise in demand for trafficked women and children, we must start addressing the fact that pornography is the cornerstone of sexual violence.”

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