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Pornography & sexual assault

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Sink' started by Unofficial Reverand Alex, May 25, 2019.

  1. Unofficial Reverand Alex

    Unofficial Reverand Alex Look up Jason Evert on YouTube; he changed my life Supporter

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    The following is an academic paper I wrote for Advanced Forensic Psychology. Due to the limit of length of posts, I'll split it up into 2 pieces.



    Pornography’s Influence on Sexual Assault


    The question of what, if any, connection exists between pornography viewing and sexual abuse has been a long-standing, somewhat complicated question. Many factors have to be taken into account, such as the level of violence in pornography, the reaction of the victims in rape pornography, cultural effects, and the various traits of the individual who’s watching the pornography. While many studies have shown many different results, later studies that analyzed these studies have found important differences in what’s defined as “pornography”. When these differences are cleared up, the answers become much clearer. It seems as if violent and degrading pornography has a strong effect on attitudes about sexual assault, but non-degrading non-violent erotica has little impact.


    Pornography is becoming an exceptionally prevalent form of entertainment, made exceptionally easy to access by the Internet. As the demand for pornography expands exponentially, with so many more people able to access it from computers or smartphones, pornography has evolved to become increasingly degrading of women, and increasingly displaying physical abuse, with 88% of the most popular pornographic videos showing slapping, spanking, pulling on hair, bondage, and even choking (Foubert et al., 2011). This leads to a worrying question: How is this affecting the people who watch it?


    Introduction
    Many studies have been carried out, trying to find if there is any link between pornography and how people act. Many early studies found wildly different results, largely because of differences in how different studies defined pornography. Most notably, a distinction has been made between erotica and pornography. Erotica has been defined as being sexually explicit, but nonviolent, non-degrading, consensual sexual interactions between consenting adult men and women. Pornography, however, portrays actors (usually the woman) as being overpowered, objectified, only there for the enjoyment of the person dominating them, sometimes with use of force or physical violence; in short, pornography doesn’t see the actors as individuals, only objects of pleasure (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). Putting this distinction in place clears up some of the discrepancies between studies. Erotica hasn’t been shown to have any impact on sexual assault or any kind of sexually aggressive behavior; pornography still yields mixed results, largely based on the individual who’s viewing it, but in general, the more violent and degrading the pornography is, the stronger the correlation between pornographic viewing and sexually aggressive behavior (Foubert et al., 2011). However, this still doesn’t provide a clear answer, because it may be the case that people who are already more sexually aggressive are more likely to view violent and degrading pornography. More evidence is needed before we can make any conclusions.


    The Research
    Due to the nature of this topic, the research is primarily conducted by passing out surveys. One study conducted in 2011 specifically addressed college men, surveying fraternity men with questions regarding the kind of pornography they view, if they view it at all. Along with this, the study used widely accepted tests of assessing potential for sexual assault, rape, and willingness to help in potential rape situations. From this study, and from many other studies before it, it was found that the more violent and degrading the pornography was, the more likely the men were to commit rape or sexual assault, and the less likely they would be to help out in a situation where someone else was in danger of rape or sexual assault. These men that watched more violent and degrading pornography, such as sado-masochistic pornography and especially violent rape pornography, also had much stronger beliefs in rape myths, false ideas that sound like “Women enjoy being coerced” or “When she says no, she really means yes.” (Foubert et al., 2011).

    It is fair to point out that no distinction was found between the men who watched “mainstream pornography” (explicit, but not particularly violent or degrading) showed no significant difference from those men who watched no pornography, although the researchers mentioned that “mainstream pornography” is still a broad category that should be measured more precisely. Still, it seems that violent pornography, especially rape pornography, facilitates attitudes that are more accepting of sexual assault (Foubert et al., 2011).

    More recently, a 2018 study showed that any media that objectifies women leads to higher acceptance of rape myths and a lower desire to seek consent before sex. Pornography was seen to have this effect, but far beyond that, acceptance of rape myths and decreased desire for consent was also aligned with regular watching of sports programming, men’s magazines, reality TV, soap operas, sexual music videos, and even just TV in general. It seems as if any media that portrays women as objects for pleasure, even if it’s cheerleaders at a football game or actors in a reality show, reinforces ideas that women can be dehumanized and makes the idea of sexual assault much less distasteful (Seabrook et al., 2018).

    When looking specifically at the content of pornography, Bartol and Bartol (2017) have found 3 key factors that lead to acceptance of aggressive sexual behavior: the amount of arousal brought about by the pornographic videos, how aggressive it is, and the reactions of the victims. A higher amount of arousal generates more aggressive behavior, regardless of what causes the arousal; the particular issue with this in pornography is the connections made between aggression and sex. Likewise, the amount of aggression in pornography further strengthens the connection the viewers make between violence and sex, and further shows that aggression is acceptable, and consent isn’t necessary.

    Perhaps the most interesting of these criteria is the least discussed, and that is the reactions of the victims. While some rape pornography shows the victims suffering, most of it shows the victim enjoying the rape. It’s not hard to imagine how continually watching rape victims enjoy their treatment generates an acceptance of rape, and thus an increased likelihood to commit it (Bartol & Bartol, 2017).

    While not everyone who watches pornography becomes a sex offender, pornography has been shown to be the strongest correlate for sex offenses. Again, the more violent and degrading the pornography is, and the more frequently it’s watched, the more likely the viewer is to commit sex crimes. It’s also fair to point out that sex offenders often have court-mandated bans from pornography as part of their rehabilitation, and research on sex criminals shows that pornography doesn’t have a cathartic effect as many have said and hoped, but instead, pornography seems to reinforce their sexual desires, including the use of force to coerce someone into having sex (Johnson, 2015).

    A 2017 study of Peruvian boys, a third of whom said they’d committed sexual aggression of some kind, analyzed specifically the roles of gender dominance and rape supportive attitudes in relation to sexual assault. They found that gender dominance had little to no effect on likelihood of sexual assault, citing their own research as well as other similar studies that found the same conclusion. It seems as if men believing themselves to be superior to women isn’t sufficient for facilitating sexual aggression. However, rape supportive attitudes, such as beliefs in rape myths and an acceptance of violence for coercion of sex, had a strong correlate with the likelihood of sexual assault (Moyano et al., 2017).

    All these studies also demonstrate another key factor in pornography’s link with sex crimes: the individual. It seems as if all pornography affects some people, and violent pornography affects most people. While not everyone who watches pornography becomes a sex offender, most sex offenders regularly watch pornography, and pornography is the strongest correlate for predicting sexual offenses (Johnson, 2015). Even in people who watch pornography but don’t commit sexual offenses, watching pornography seems to facilitate rape supportive attitudes, and makes the viewer less likely to intervene in rape situations (Foubert et al., 2011). Furthermore, media that isn’t explicit, but still objectifies women, leads to greater acceptance of rape myths and coercion for sex (Seabrook et al., 2018). Finally, gender dominance (men are greater than women) seems to have little impact on sexual assault, but attitudes that make sexual assault more permissible seem to have a strong impact on the likelihood of committing sexual assault (Moyano et al., 2017).


    Implications
    Society
    As always, it’s difficult to rule out reverse causation, the idea that pornography doesn’t lead to sexual aggression so much as sexually aggressive people watch pornography. To properly test this would require serious ethical violations; we would have to find people who aren’t sexually aggressive, make them watch various levels of pornography, and measure how sexually aggressive they become. This sort of study will never be allowed to happen, so we may never have a conclusive answer.

    However, it makes sense that rape pornography would facilitate ideas that rape isn’t that bad, especially when the viewer gets used to seeing the victim enjoy the rape. And as the Moyano article mentioned, the likelihood of sexual assault is closely tied to the acceptance of rape supporting attitudes, and if violent pornography facilitates rape supportive attitudes, then that would make strong evidence that violent pornography leads to sexual assault.

    With this in mind, perhaps the case for the illegalization of pornography should be reopened. When the presidential commissions to determine if pornography should be illegalized were first conducted, in 1967 and 1984, pornography was very different than today. The most obvious difference lies in availability; people simply didn’t have access to it like they do today. Without the Internet, pornography was much more limited, and much easier for parents to control. However, with the exponential increase in availability came an exponential increase in the demand for pornography; more has to be made to meet the growing market, and a growing market develops a growing variety of tastes. The increase in demand has led to a surge of human trafficking victims forced into pornographic videos and pictures, and as viewers want more and more pornography, it has become increasingly violent; the official studies from 1967 and 1984 wouldn’t have involved such aggressive pornography as exists today.

    At a societal level, this information should still be closely analyzed; there has always been a lot of backlash from any attempt to restrict pornography, and we need to make sure we know what we’re talking about if another presidential commission will be called. Also, we need to make sure that this is something that actually poses a threat to society; while all the information I’ve found has pointed to violent pornography as a facilitator of sexual assault, later studies could still reveal flaws in what I’ve found. And as the articles themselves mentioned, the type of pornography has a dramatic impact on how damaging it may be; perhaps only a ban on violent pornography should be carried out.

    Even ruling out the legal implications of this research, increased awareness should still be made of the potential harms brought about by watching violent pornography. Perhaps this could be worked into education curriculums at schools. In any case, it’s best that people know that, even if we can’t definitively say that violent porn facilitates sexual assault, it’s a very good possibility. Even if not everyone is affected in the same way by watching violent pornography, it definitely facilitates sexual assault for some people. Raising awareness will at least make people more aware of the dangers of pornography, even if they still choose to watch it.


    Individual
    As an individual, I already don’t watch pornography of any kind. However, as long as I’m calling for increased awareness of the harms of violent pornography, then I suppose that my job is to begin raising that awareness. I find it interesting that I came to such a solid conclusion as to the connection between violent pornography and sexual assault; I carried out my research without leading questions, only looking up “Pornography and sexual assault”, and all of this is just what I found when leaving my search query generic.

    It’s hard to say too much about the implications of this research for myself, because this has been a lot of information to take in during a short period of time, and I’m not entirely sure what to do about all this. Still, this has led to interesting discussion with people, most of whom never knew that there was fairly clear evidence that violent pornography leads to attitudes that support sexual assault. I suppose the implications for myself are something I’ll better understand as I have more of these discussions.



    Insights
    This paper has certainly provided a lot of interesting information for me, but it’s hard to say much more than what I’ve said in the Research section. Perhaps the biggest insight I’ve seen in writing this paper is how strong the connection is between rape pornography and sexual assault. I’ve never done much research into pornography before writing this paper, but I’ve heard it both ways as to whether or not pornography has any connection with sexual assault.

    However, reading through these recent studies that dissected previous studies provided valuable insight as to this question of how pornography affects behavior. The distinctions between types of pornography is something I haven’t thought of before, and seeing how these distinctions are analyzed in relation to behavior is certainly an important piece of information to know.

    While it still remains somewhat ambiguous to measure pornography’s influence on sexual assault, linking together research from these articles provides strong reason to believe that violent pornography leads to sexual assault, at least for some people. Most of these articles showed that pornography, especially violent and degrading pornography, leads to (among other things) an increased acceptance of rape myths and other beliefs that make sexual assault seem more permissible. The Moyano article showed that rape supportive attitudes are a strong correlate with likelihood of committing sexual assault (Moyano, 2017). So, if violent porn leads to rape supportive attitudes, and if rape supportive attitudes lead to acceptance and increased likelihood of sexual assault, then it stands to reason that violent pornography leads to acceptance and increased likelihood of sexual assault.

    Another serious implication that isn’t talked about much is the idea that, even if people who watch pornography never commit sexual assault, regularly watching pornography significantly reduces the likelihood that the viewer will help out in any situation where someone may be raped, and may be less likely to take any talk about sexual assault more seriously. (Again, this depends on how violent and degrading the pornography is). It also seems to increase the viewer’s acceptance of rape myths, and lead them to be less interested in getting consent before engaging in sex, in theory or in practice (Foubert et al., 2011). Even if someone who watches pornography never acts out what they see, if they see someone else doing it, they would be much less interested in stopping it; why would they stop something they watch on their computer every day? And if rape is something they watch every day, as is the case with some brands of violent pornography, then is it really that bad of an action? Surely cognitive dissonance plays a role; someone who watches violent rape every day has to convince themselves that violent rape really isn’t that big of a deal. This mentality would naturally lead to a lack of motivation to intervene in situations of sexual assault, and it would make rape myths much more palatable.

    Another interesting point I found is that media leading to greater acceptance of sexual aggression isn’t limited to pornography. Sports programming, reality TV, or just TV in general is associated with greater acceptance of sexual aggression; the researchers argued that this is because of the mainstream media’s habit of objectifying women. Even though a shot of cheerleaders in a football game isn’t a sexual scene, it still displays women as objects for pleasure, facilitating the objectification of women. Reality TV may show men trying be sweet to women solely for the purpose of “winning” sex from them; again, showing women as objects for pleasure, removing their humanity, and furthering attitudes that accept sexual aggression as not being a big deal. Viewers seem to get used to people treating women as something to pursue for personal gain (Seabrook et al., 2018).
     
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  2. Unofficial Reverand Alex

    Unofficial Reverand Alex Look up Jason Evert on YouTube; he changed my life Supporter

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    It’s important to note that this paper was completed using 4 scholarly articles and 1 textbook. While these sources cited many other studies, it’s still worth looking deeper into where these articles got their information from, as well as staying aware of what the latest research is saying. It’s also fair to point out that there are far more studies out there than what I used in this paper; for definitive answers for anything referenced in this paper, it would be necessary to analyze many more studies and meta-studies than what I did.

    Further research should also include neurological studies, to see if any empirical evidence exists for pornography physically restructuring the brain. While the correlations mentioned in this paper appear strong, there is a notable lack of empirical evidence; such evidence is crucial to solidifying or disproving the evidence that violent pornography actually makes people more susceptible to sexual assault.



    Conclusion & Discussion
    All the evidence I found pointed to a few conclusions: watching violent and degrading pornography regularly facilitates attitudes that accept sexual aggression and increase the likelihood of committing sexual assault (Foubert et al., 2011). When pornography is less violent and degrading, these effects still happen, but in a lesser degree (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). Any media that objectifies women, whether pornography or otherwise, leads to an increased acceptance of sexual aggression (Seabrook et al., 2018). To tie all this more definitively to behavior, attitudes that make sexual aggression more permissible have been shown to be a strong correlate with sexual assault (Moyano et al., 2017), and pornography is shown to be very common among criminals arrested for sexual offenses (Johnson, 2015).

    Still, the variable that’s hard to measure is the individual. Some people watch violent pornography and don’t commit sexual offenses, and some people who commit sexual offenses don’t watch pornography. Looking into the personality traits or background of individuals that may affect how pornography affects the individual would be vital information for this kind of research.

    References

    Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011, October). Pornography Viewing among Fraternity Men: Effects on Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance and Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/[email protected]



    Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.


    Seabrook, R., Ward, L., & Giaccardi, S. (2018). Less than human? media use, objectification of women, and men�s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, (2018 05 21). doi:10.1037/vio0000198


    Johnson, Scott. (2015). Use of Pornography with Sex Offenders in Treatment: A Controversial Conundrum. Journal of Forensic Research. 06. 10.4127/2157-7145.1000309.


    Moyano, N., Monge, F. S., & Sierra, J. C. (2017, January 01). Predictors of sexual aggression in adolescents: Gender dominance vs. rape supportive attitudes. Retrieved from Directory of Open Access Journals
     
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  3. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It has helped me to be warned not to make any woman just an object for me to use. If I love women, instead, it is likely I won't violate them, even by simply tugging someone's hair or looking the wrong way at someone or flirting for no real reason. I can be violating a lady, just by trying to play around with her attention.

    But I see how if I were less concerned about how women feel about what I do, I might somehow welcome shows which seem to make it ok to use a woman for what I want.

    I think my own character, to begin with, will have a lot to do with if and how I act out what I have viewed. A show can give me ideas, it can support how I already am ready to feel and see things.

    If there is consent and it looks like they are having a nice time, I think there are men who want a woman to agree and approve of them; so if they see movies of women approving of the men with them, this might encourage them not to use force and violence, and to win the approval of a woman they like.

    But, even so, it could help to fuel them to do what is immoral, therefore more using a woman, not really finding out how to love her.

    I think that what is done to a person can give the person ideas about what he or she can do to someone else. And what we see in a movie can give us ideas. But, also, if we see a woman is suffering because of something, we can take this as a call to have compassion for women and feel for them and be kind to them.
     
  4. Rene Loup

    Rene Loup A saved wolf among sheep. Supporter

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    When society puts sex on a pedestal like this, of course we're going to have tons sexual assault, human trafficking, single parent households, high STD rates, Incels committing violence, breakdowns in relations between men and women, abortion, and many, many other ills. Worst part is that people are literally basing your value as a person on how many people you slept with. That is not a healthy measurement at all. Another thing too is that an obsession with sex is often one of the signs of a civilization in decline.
     
  5. MehGuy

    MehGuy Free speech warrior degenerate Supporter

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    Our evolution puts sex high on a pedestal. Especially for men, who tend to have to have to be more proactive and fight for sex partners. Sadly they'll always be a section of men who are genetically undesirable and fit into the incel category. Social media isn't helping that, because instead of being alone as a shut in, they're still shut-ins but now they can contact like minded people. Interestingly a femcel (female incel) movement seems to be rising too. Although they're more concerned with relationships than sex. Many of them complaining that they have masculine like physical features that turn many men away. Some of them even reporting to being mistaken as trans-female quite frequently.

    I have some solutions that might help, but I don't think I can talk about them here. Besides that, I think we'll have to wait for genetic engineering to quell some of these seemingly eternal biological problems.
     
  6. MehGuy

    MehGuy Free speech warrior degenerate Supporter

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    I think we need better education. Such as just because a woman or man is attracted to abusive people doesn't mean it is acceptable or healthy to engage in such behavior with them. Sadomasochistic tendencies probably exists in almost all humans in various degrees. Even the most vanilla people I know at least admit to liking spanking on occasion. We can deal with them in healthy and progressive ways. It is not the people in the sadomasochistic scene I see digesting "PUA" material, but clueless vanilla people who haven't thought of the repercussions of what they're doing very thoroughly.
     
  7. VCR-2000

    VCR-2000 Member

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    Why does society in both Christian and secular have the belief that "objectification" is only a women's issue and that men can't be seen as objects?

    I also thought God was supposed to created men and women as equal in respect to his image and laws.
     
  8. MehGuy

    MehGuy Free speech warrior degenerate Supporter

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    Not sure what we can really expect when the only equality group we can really defer to are feminists who understandably will probably always have a female centric bias, lol. An egalitarian movement where both men and women can speak freely about their issues would help solve many of these problems.
     
  9. VCR-2000

    VCR-2000 Member

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    I will get some heat for saying this, but I don't necessarily believe egalitarianism should be the end-all focus of society.
     
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