Hubungan Antara Pornografi Dan Kekerasan Kejahatan Sex
(The Link Between Pornography And Violent Sex Crimes)
By Robert Peters
President of Morality in Media
Many other U.S. cities have reported killers who prey on prostitutes, including:
While reading an article for this article, I also came across the following study:
"The present study ... was aimed at studying sexual abuse of street prostitutes both prior to and following entrance into prostitution. Yet ... unexpected information emerged…that was unfortunately not studied in a systematic manner. ... Such was the case in the present study with regard to the relationship between sexual abuse and pornography…Two-hundred juvenile and adult, current and former, women street prostitutes in the San Francisco Bay area participated in the study. ... The study generated an enormous amount of data, quantitative as well as qualitative documenting stunning amounts of sexual abuse of street prostitutes as part of their job, outside their work environment and in their childhood prior to entering prostitution. Many of the open descriptions of these sexual assaults made reference to the role played by pornography . These references were unsolicited by interviewers. ... Out of the 193 cases of rape, 24% mentioned allusions to pornographic material on the part of the rapist. This is even more significant when it is understood that these comments were made by respondents without any solicitation or reference to the issue of pornography by the Interviewer. The comments followed the same pattern: the assailant referred to pornographic materials he had seen or read and then insisted that the victims not only enjoyed rape but also extreme violence." [Silbert, M. and Pines, A., "Pornography and Sexual Abuse of Women," Sex Roles , 10:857-868, 1984]
It isn't just street walkers and call girls who are the targets of violent sex crimes. In a statement to protest the "Erotica USA" trade show (held in New York City's Jacob Javits Convention Center, April 1999), Dr. Mary Anne Layden, Director of Education, Center for Cognitive Therapy, at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote:
"The job that [strippers] do is fraught with dangers and unpleasantry. In one study 100% of the strippers reported some kind of physical or verbal abuse on their jobs. Verbal abuse by customers is extremely common with 91% reporting incidents. They were routinely called degrading names like c--t (52%), w---e (61%), and b---h (85%). Besides the verbal abuse, all endured some type of physical abuse on the job. Despite the fact that it is illegal to touch a stripper, strippers reported that customers grabbed them by the arm (88%), grabbed their breast (73%), or their buttock (91%). Customers at strip clubs often assault the women. Customers pulled their hair (27%), pinched them (58%), slapped them (24%), or bite them (36%). They are often attacked in the strip club in front of bodyguards and other audience members. If men would do this to women in public, what would they do to women in private? Strippers are often raped. Strippers have reported that they have been followed home (70%) and have been stalked (42%)."
Every so often I read an article defending media violence—in film, TV, rap/music or videogames—which argues (in so many words) that while the author or others the author is aware frequently consume violent media, he or she or they don't commit violent crimes. Therefore, the argument goes, media violence is not connected to violent crime.
It goes without saying that violent crime is a serious matter. For many reasons, including fear of getting caught and fear of God, most people don't commit violent crimes. Their self-control is stronger than the anger, envy, hate, greed, jealousy, lust, etc. that stirs within.
But for many reasons— including alcohol, media, family breakdown, peer pressure, physical or sexual abuse, pornography, prenatal influences (often working in combination)—either internal restraints are inadequately developed or diminished or the urges become too strong (or both).
Here's how serial killer Ted Bundy described his experience in an interview with Dr. James Dobson (a psychologist who served on the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography and founder of Focus on the Family) on January 23, 1989, the day before Bundy was executed:
Dr. Dobson: "For the record, you are guilty of killing many women and girls."
Bundy: "Yes. Yes. That's true ... Okay, but before I go any further, I think it's important to me that people believe what I'm saying. I'm not blaming pornography . I'm not saying that it caused me to go out and do certain things. And I take full responsibility for whatever I've done ... That's not the question here. The question and the issue is how this kind of literature contributed and helped mold and shape the kinds of violent behavior."
Dobson: "It fueled your fantasies."
Bundy: "In the beginning it fuels this kind of thought process. Then at a certain time it's instrumental in what I would say crystallizing it, making it into something which is almost like a separate entity inside. At that point you're at the verge, or I was at the verge of acting out on these kinds of thoughts."
Dobson: "Now, I really want to understand that. You had gone about as far as you could go in your own fantasy life with printed materials, and then there was the urge to take that little or big step further to a physical event."
Bundy: "Right. And it happened in stages, gradually. It doesn't necessarily, not to me at least, happen overnight. My experience with pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality is that once you become addicted to it—and I look at this as a kind of addiction—like other kinds of addiction ... I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of materials. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder, harder. Something which gives you a greater sense of excitement. Until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far ..."
Dobson: "How long did you stay at this point before you actually assaulted someone?"
Bundy: "I would say a couple of years. What I was dealing with were strong inhibitions against criminal behavior—violent behavior—that had been conditioned into me, bred into me, in my environment, in my neighborhood, in my church, in my school. Things which said no, this is wrong. And I'm on that edge, and these last ... you might say, vestiges of restraint—the barriers to actually do something were being tested constantly, and assailed through the kind of fantasy life that was fueled largely by pornography."
Dobson: "Do you remember what pushed you over the edge? ... Would it be accurate to call that a frenzy, a sexual frenzy?"
Bundy: "...That's one way to describe it. A compulsion, a building of destructive energy. Again, another fact here that I haven't mentioned is the use of alcohol. But I think that what alcohol did in conjunction with, let's say, my exposure to pornography [is that] alcohol reduced my inhibitions at the same time.
Dobson: "Alright, if I can understand it now, there is this battle going on within. There are the conventions you've been taught. There's the right and wrong that you learned as a child. And then there is this unbridled passion fueled by your plunge into hard-core, violent pornography. And those things are at war with each other."
Dobson: "And then the alcohol diminishing the inhibitions, you let go."
Bundy: "Well, yes. And you can summarize it that way, and that's accurate, certainly. And it just occurred to me that some people would say that, well, I've seen that stuff, and it doesn't do anything to me ..."
Dobson: "Addictions are like that. They affect some people more than they affect others ..."
Dobson: "...You really feel that hardcore pornography and the doorway to it, soft-core pornography, is doing untold damage to other people, and causing other women to be abused and killed the way you did."
Bundy: "Listen. I'm no social scientist, and I haven't done a survey ... But I've lived in prison for a long time now. And I've met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography—without exception, without exception—deeply influenced and consumed by an addiction to pornography."
Ted Bundy made quite a "splash" during his brief lifetime. He did so because he killed nice girls—instead of prostitutes. He did so because the night before his execution he spoke with Dr. James Dobson about how pornography had affected his life for the worse. He didn't claim that pornography "made him do it." He didn't ask Dr. Dobson to intervene on his behalf with the Florida governor. Why then did pornography defenders work to discredit what Bundy said?
Well, some will say, "Why spoil my fun just because a few sickos commit violent sex crimes. We don't ban alcohol just because some people abuse it. Why ban pornography?"
Here are three good reasons.
First, it isn't just a few "sickos" who are adversely affected by pornography. Millions of Americans, young and old, are addicted to pornography, and violent sexual crimes are not the only rotten fruit of pornography. Other pornography victims include:
In Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton , 413 U.S. 49, the Supreme Court also recognized governmental interests (other than sex crimes) that justifying suppression of obscenity. They include:
The recent article, " Hard-Core Harm: Why You Can't Be Soft on Porn ," by Jan LaRue (Concerned Women for America , October 2003) provides a good overview of various harms linked to hardcore pornography.
Second, obscenity laws prohibit only "hard-core" pornography . Soft-core pornography and sexually explicit materials that, taken as a whole, have serious artistic, literary, political or scientific value are not prohibited under obscenity laws. Before sexual material can be deemed obscene, a jury (or judge), applying contemporary community standards, must first determine that the material depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner.
How many violent sex crimes against victims young and old should we tolerate so that libertines and sex addicts can view every form of pornography including—if the ACLU had its way—child pornography? Even with alcohol, we impose penalties on people who drink even small amounts and drive, despite the fact that most people who drink and drive do not cause serious accidents.
Third, Prohibition failed in large measure because most citizens believed that alcohol, used moderately, was not a moral evil. Obscenity, however, like prostitution, has always been considered an evil. As Supreme Court Justice Brennan noted out in Roth v. United States (1957):
"[I]mplicit in the history of the First Amendment, is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance. This rejection for that reason is mirrored in the universal judgment that obscenity should be restrained, reflected in the international agreement of over 50 nations, in the obscenity laws of 48 States, and in the 20 obscenity laws enacted by Congress from 1842 to 1956."
Since 1956, the Supreme Court has reiterated (see, e.g., Miller v. California , 1973; Sable Communications of California v. FCC , 1989) that the First Amendment does not protect obscene materials. Congress has strengthened federal obscenity laws ( Title 18, Chapter 71, U.S. Code ) at least four times (1984, 1988, 1996 and 1998).
In 2003, by unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 77 , expressing the "sense of Congress that Federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced throughout the United States ." As I write this article, an identical House Concurrent Resolution 298, with 79 sponsors, awaits a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.
In the 2000 presidential campaign, both Al Gore and George W. Bush issued statements supporting enforcement of obscenity laws. In 2003, President Bush issued a Proclamation in conjunction with Protection from Pornography Week in which he again expressed his strong support for enforcement of federal obscenity laws.
In a national opinion poll , conducted for Morality in Media by Wirthlin Worldwide in March 2002, 81% of adults supported "vigorous" enforcement of federal Internet obscenity laws. In March 2004, again in a national opinion poll for Morality in Media, Wirthlin Worldwide found that 82% of adults supported "vigorous" enforcement of these laws.
Burden of proof
In debating the issue of whether there is a causal connection between media violence and real life injurious violence, I often say, when common sense, anecdotal evidence and social science research all point in the same direction (as they do with media violence and real life violence), then the burden of proof should shift to those who deny a connection.
Common sense should also inform us that when individuals (often beginning at early ages) feed their minds (often for years) on hardcore pornographic material that depicts, among other things, bestiality, bondage, "domination" (humiliation & degradation), gangbangs, "golden showers" (urine), incest, marital infidelity, prostitution, rape, "rough sex" (strangulation and slapping), "scat" (feces), "school girls" (grade school through college), sexual murders, teen promiscuity, torture, and unsafe sex, their sexual "appetites" can become warped—often to the extreme.
There is also a mountain of anecdotal evidence—from the perpetrators themselves, victims, law enforcement agents, mental health professionals and others—that indicates that pornography adversely affects vulnerable individuals of all ages. The anecdotal evidence set forth in this article is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Just as non-sexual media violence ranges from slapstick comedy to graphic and sadistic depictions of mayhem, pornography ranges from non-violent and "non-exploitative" consensual sex to rape, torture, murder, bestiality, and on and on (see above). The potential for harmful effects on audiences presumably varies from problematic to severe across those ranges.
But the potential for harm from pornography is never absent. All pornography has the potential of becoming addictive, leading to escalation, desensitization, and predatory acting out of sexual fantasies. Moreover, there is evidence that violent sex offenders are stimulated by hardcore pornography that doesn't depict forced sex.
For example, in a study [Marshall, W.L., "The Use of Sexually Explicit Materials by Rapists, Child Molesters and Nonoffenders," Journal of Sex Research , 25, No. 2, pp. 267-288 (1988)] of patients at the Kingston Sexual Offenders Clinic in Canada, conducted over a period of 6 years, researchers made "an unexpected finding, and one not explicitly sought after"—namely, that:
"One of rapists reported that he characteristically used consenting sex depictions to incite rape images in the process of preparing himself to attack a woman. Subsequent questioning…revealed a further five rapists who made similar claims and 10 of the 19 rapists who currently used consenting sex depictions for enjoyment (not necessarily preparatory to offending) also said they used it to incite rape fantasies."
Even assuming, however, that what some call "non-exploitive," nonviolent pornography is rarely linked to violent sexual crimes, we still have a major problem.
The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography: Final Report (1986) found that "increasingly, the most prevalent forms of pornography" fit the description of "sexually violent material" (p. 323) and that "an enormous amount of the most sexually explicit material available" can be categorized as "degrading, the term we use to encompass the undeniably linked characteristics of degradation, domination, subordination, and humiliation. The degradation we refer to is degradation of people, most often women…" (p. 331).
To give the reader a better idea of what "sexually violent" and "degrading" mean, examples of promotional material found on pornographic Web sites that citizens reported to MIM's www.obscenitycrimes.org Web site (usually as a result of porn spam) are reprinted here.
The Supreme Court got it right when it said in Miller v. California (413 U.S. at pp. 34-35):
"[T]o equate the free and robust exchange of ideas and political debate with commercial exploitation of obscene material demeans the grand conception of the First Amendment and its high purposes in the historic struggle for freedom. It is a 'misuse of the great guarantees of free speech and free press'…' The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas to bring about political and social changes desired by the people'… But the public portrayal of hardcore sexual conduct for its own sake, and the ensuing commercial gain, is a different matter."
Not all are convinced
The effect that pornography has in the commission of violent sexual crimes is difficult, if not impossible, to measure scientifically. Perhaps in part for that reason, the link between pornography and violent sex crimes is often omitted or not taken seriously by the secular news media in their coverage of pornography, the pornography industry or violent sexual crimes.
For example, in his article, "Analysis: Obscenity crusade's flawed logic" (UPI, 12/6/03), Christian Bourge gives little weight to the statement of Bruce Taylor, a federal prosecutor, that "We are seeing much more treatment and therapy and social cost going into community health, domestic violence, rape and child crime that is related to pornography."
In her otherwise excellent article, " The Porn Myth " ( New York , 10/20/03), Naomi Wolf summarily dismisses the notion that pornography is linked to rape and sexual mayhem
"[T]he other night, I saw Andrea Dworkin, the anti-porn activist…If we did not limit pornography, she argued…most men would come to objectify women…and treat them accordingly. In a kind of domino theory, she predicted, rape and other kinds of sexual mayhem would surely follow…She was…wrong about the outcome."
While N.R. Kleifield and Erica Goode do note in their article "Serial Killing's Squarest Pegs…" ( New York Times , 10/28/02), that "[t]he majority of serial killers, experts say, use their crimes to act out elaborate sexual fantasies, sometimes involving rape and torture," they do not mention the frequent connection between those violent sexual fantasies and addiction to pornography. [I note, however, that in another New York Times article, "Who Would Abduct a Child? Previous Cases Offer Clues" (8/27/02), Mary Duenwald writes: "Many abductors harbor sexual fantasies that involve children and may exercise these fantasies by using child pornography."]
In his review of the book, "The Evil That Men Do: F.B.I. Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey Into the Minds of Sexual Predators," by Stephen G. Michaud with Roy Hazelwood, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt ("Finding Out What Is Standard About Deviants," New York Times , 2/4/99), had this to say about the connection between pornography and violent sex crimes:
"In the opening pages…Stephen G. Michaud drops several intriguing comments like these: … 'Aberrant offenders use pornography to validate their deviance…The more they see of it, and masturbate to it, the more their behavior is reinforced. ' Since these are all controversial observations, the reader is drawn to learn what more Mr. Michaud has to say on these subjects…" [Emphasis mine]
In writing this article, it was not my intention to prove scientifically, or otherwise, that behind every violent sex crime there is a pornography problem. Clearly, violent sexual crimes existed long before the advent of the printing press and photography. If rape had not been a problem in "Biblical times," the Law of Moses would not have prohibited it (Deuteronomy 22: 25-27).
I wrote this article because defenders of pornography are misleading the public by saying either that pornography is harmless or by saying that we lack the necessary "conclusive scientific data" that pornography causes sex crimes to justify suppressing pornography.
"Conclusive scientific data" is not necessary. There is already enough evidence of a causal link between pornography and sex crimes to justify enforcement of obscenity laws; and there would be much more if we would listen more to the people who deal with pornography first hand.
Used for the benefit of mankind, the scientific method is a marvelous tool, but it has limitations. Unlike laboratory rats, humans cannot be observed constantly, as in The Truman Show or Nineteen Eighty Four style, and controlled from birth to death.
Pornography addiction typically begins in childhood, but we can't therefore randomly select a group of ten-year olds and expose half of them to hardcore pornography to determine what effects this exposure has on them. Even assuming that it is ethical to observe over a period of time individuals ages 18 and over who have agreed to view pornography on a regular basis, it is unlikely they will commit violent sexual crimes, knowing that they are part of a study.
Not too many years ago tobacco executives defended their products by arguing that there was no conclusive scientific data that smoking causes cancer. To my knowledge, they were right! To my knowledge, we still don't have conclusive scientific proof that smoking causes cancer. But we certainly do have a large body of evidence linking smoking to cancer and other ailments, which in my opinion more than justifies governmental efforts to curb smoking.
Dr. Reo M. Christianson, Professor of Political Science (retired), Miami University , Ohio , provided valuable insights in his article, "Political scientist calls for common sense in porn issue," published in March 1989 and November 1998 issues of the AFA Journal :
"I agree with Professor Wilson of Harvard who states that social science does not have sufficiently sensitive and sophisticated techniques and tools for definitively proving what damage pornography does or doesn't do. Especially when it comes to its long range impact and its impact on people who are not emotionally healthy and hence are particularly prone to commit anti social acts……Conclusive proof? No. Persuasive evidence, yes…
"But if science cannot give us assured answers, let us use our common sense ... As has often been said, if destructive material can do no harm, then constructive material can do no good-and everything conscientious parents have believed from the dawn of the family is wrong ... But whatever conditions people to regard destructive sexual behaviors as harmless, or worse, as desirable will inevitably weaken those barriers which society erects against irresponsible sexual conduct…
"I would emphasize the significance of the study by professors at the University of Indiana and the University of Evansville showing that persons who see a lot of pornography believe that rapists should be treated more indulgently than those who don't. Charles Peters summarized earlier research ... as indicating that violent pornography inspires violence. ... Conclusive proof? No. Persuasive evidence? Yes.
"I might add that the ACLU ... has become shrill, dogmatic and closed-minded on the issue of pornography ... No censorship, it cries, hoping that buzz word will frighten people from exercising independent thought in this field ... Parenthetically, doctrinaire liberals ... worship only one god, and its name is the ACLU. When this deity speaks, they ... suspend critical judgment and parrot its lines. And feel smug and superior to the great and unenlightened masses who, being clear-eyed rather than dogma ridden, regard pornography as a disgrace which ought to be curbed.
"I think the time is come to act…Time for the nation to realize…that communities have a right to set minimal standards of decency and the right to enforce them."
A final word from retired FBI Agent Roger Young:
"If anyone is to reach an honest fundamental understanding about obscenity, that person needs to seek the truth and see the total picture . In so doing it becomes clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no such thing as just an obscenity case . Crimes associated with obscenity crimes include the following—arson, bribery, conspiracy, drugs, extortion, involuntary servitude, jury tampering, kidnapping, mail fraud, laundering, murder, obstruction of justice, prostitution, public corruption, racketeering, rape, robbery, sexual assault, sexual exploitation of children, tax evasion, and witness intimidation. Obscenity's impact on the quality of life and commerce, and its relation to violations of other criminal and civil laws (including public health laws), is resulting in devastating and harmful consequences to individuals, families, communities and our nation."
To learn more about the obscenity problem and what you can do about it, contact:
MORALITY IN MEDIA, INC., 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 239 , New York , NY 10115
• MIM operates the ObscenityCrimes.org Web site , which provides citizens with a means online to report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws. Reports to the site are forwarded by MIM to the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in Washington and to U.S. Attorneys around the country. There is no other comparable tool for filing citizen complaints on Internet obscenity.
• Morality in Media operates the National Obscenity Law Center (NOLC), a clearinghouse of information on obscenity and related laws, with a library that includes published obscenity cases, federal state, and local anti-pornography laws, and monographs on legal questions that are the subject of recurring inquiries. NOLC materials are utilized by prosecutors, law enforcement agents, municipal attorneys and others. The NOLC also runs the Safe States and Cities project, which has been distributing model statutes on sexually-oriented businesses to hundreds of municipalities across the U.S. The NOLC has its own website pages at http://www.moralityinmedia.org/nolc
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