While expert psychologists, researchers and law enforcement officers readily indicate high percentages of those who commit rape, sexual coercion and other abusive anti-social behaviors have pornography in their background, let’s understand that only a small percent of those who are addicted to pornography fall into these categories. Many who are otherwise outstanding citizens, church goers, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters are also addicted, and are affected in less dramatic ways.
Pornography addictions vary, and the effects of it also differ. Plus, even in rape cases it is possible that pornographic and rape are only indirectly related through other factors, like social permissiveness and “macho” attitudes among some misguided men.
Defining the social effects of pornography has been somewhat difficult because of the prevailing theories of its impact. Yet, there are still a number of very compelling statistics that suggest that pornography does indeed have a profound affect on society, and profound social consequences.
For example, of the 1,400 child sexual molestation cases in Louisville, Ken., between July 1980 and February 1984, adult pornography was connected with each incident and child pornography with the majority of them. Extensive interviews with sex offenders (rapists, incest offenders and child molesters) have uncovered a sizable percentage of offenders who use pornography to arouse themselves prior to and during their assaults. Police report that pornography consumption is one of the more common profile characteristics of serial murders and rapists.
Professor Cass Sunstein, writing in the Duke Law Journal, says that some sexual violence against women “would not have occurred but for the massive circulation of pornography.” Citing cross-cultural data, he concludes: “The liberalization of pornography laws in the United States, Britain, Australia and the Scandinavian countries have been accompanied by a rise in reported rape rates. In countries where pornography laws have not been liberalized, there has been less steep rise in reported rapes. And in countries where restrictions have been adopted and enforced, reported rape cases have greatly decreased.
So, why don’t we have stricter laws that are in turn enforced? While I don’t pretend to know all of the answers, I do know that pornography is virtually unregulated and that in many instances when attempts have been made to regulate, limit and even outlaw pornography, those lawmakers have faced criticism, and they have been accused of trying to practice censorship. And if censorship isn’t the issue, they’re accused of violating the First Amendment.
While its true that the Supreme Court clearly stated in Roth v. United States (1957) that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment, Federal, state and local laws permit the sale, display, distribution and broadcast of pornography. Plus, the Internet, and cable television are at present virtually unregulated because they’re not technically “broadcasting” as defined in the Federal Communications Act.
Obviously there are some things which desperately need to be amended so that someone can regulate them. We cannot and must not continue to allow pornography to go on with virtually no noticeable regulation. Pornography has an adverse affect on everyone who views it. (To be continued.)
Randy Reynolds may be reached by calling (817) 329-0430 or e-mail reynolds.randy@ gmail.com. Columns submitted to The Weatherford Democrat by guest writers reflect the opinions of the writer and in no way reflect the beliefs or opinions of The Weatherford Democrat.
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