Pornography and violence against women: does a link exist?

Pornography and violence against women: does a link exist?

"If looking at another woman's breasts at the bar makes your husband go to work in a better mood, what's so wrong about that? If watching a video on the Internet puts him in a good mood, why stop him from watching it? It’s not like he betrays you with a screen, it’s not like he’s betraying you with just a look... you should be more open to it."

A psychologist who deals with couple therapy spoke these words; that is from a person who is supposed to value a woman’s dignity and her relationship with a man.

Not everyone will agree with him; probably many of his colleagues will dissociate themselves from his assesment, but it is a fact that there are specialists with similar ideas and ordinary people who accept, without any doubt, the malpractice, or rather, the social plague of pornography.

Yes, social plague, because pornography is more than a vice. Pornography implies a distorted and insane way of approaching the opposite sex, a distorted and insane way of thinking about the man-woman relationship.

You cannot defend a practice that makes the woman a mannequin – just a faceless person.

You can’t think of helping a couple to find each other, telling the bride to "tolerate" her husband looking at other women and above all looking at them as objects of pleasure and not as human beings to be respected. And the reasons are countless.

We have already talked about pornography as a disease, as an obsession that destroys those who use it and marriages because it "raises barriers" between spouses. But what would you think if pornography also encouraged violent or strongly demeaning behavior towards women?

Pornography and violence against women: a concrete relationship

As it is well explained in this article (in which the link between porn and violence is analyzed in a clear and detailed way), more than twenty years of studies reveal that there is a connection between the consumption of porn and the social plague of aggression against women.

The article reports useful and alarming data collected by the FightTheNewDrug.org Association (which specifically deals with analyzing the impact of pornography on the person, on relationships, and on society and attempts to offer ways of healing). Well, a study carried out in 2010 took into consideration the content of the 50 bestselling porn videos, and it was discovered that in 304 sex scenes, 88% included physical violence, half of them verbal violence; only one in every 10 scenes didn’t contain any kind of aggression. In 95% of the violent scenes, women responded to aggression with approval and smiles.

In short, these videos show violent men and women humiliated but happy, encouraging in the viewer’s mind – continues the research – the perverse idea that violence within an intimate relationship is normal or even positive.

And something dramatic happens: porn has the ability to affect the brain, creating a powerful association between violence and sexual excitement.

Reality tells us that people who use porn rape.

Other than harmless pastime

Yes, porn favors violence against women by the fact that by approaching certain contents we end up seeing women as an object, therefore deprived of freedom to respect and personal dignity. Because with an object you can do whatever you want.

This alone would have been sufficient enough reason to warn our children about the use of pornographic material.

Unfortunately, however, the problem is even more serious when analyzing the contents of the videos, which enhance violence as an almost indispensable erotic element.

So be careful.

The fight against pornography is part of the fight against violence

Violence against women is a problem deeply felt in our society, where we are increasingly seeking to affirm gender equality and to defend the rights of every person, regardless of its connotations.

It is not difficult, therefore, to feel outraged when the news brings to light a new case of aggression of a man towards a woman.

And there are many initiatives working to defend victims of violence or prevent this kind of situation. Associations, reception centers, law enforcement agencies, and people involved in the legal field try to help women recognize potential perpetrators, to denounce those who use violence against them, and help to improve the laws so that there is better protection.

There is a lot of excitement in the field of communication. Let's think about the slogans posted in many cities: "There is only one way to change a violent boyfriend: change your boyfriend," "If he beats you, he does not love you," "Do not leave a man tomorrow who is better left today." These are just some of the messages shown in the metro stations and on buses.

We then think of celebrities who take a public position in defending abuse victims.

All this certainly favors a positive change in culture.

Yet, we must acknowledge the fact that together with these initiatives, in our society there are behaviors – tolerated if not promoted, as we have seen in the case of the aforementioned psychologist – that denigrate women and favor a man overpowering her. This is also the case with pornography.

Fighting pornography therefore means fighting violence.

Enhancing intimacy to reduce cases of violence

We cannot be champions of the defense of women and then joke about or close our eyes to a practice that is so closely connected with the phenomenon of gender violence.

We cannot consider "excessive" those women who do not accept compromises, who want porn out of their marriage.

We cannot educate children about respect for women if we do not forcefully reject anything that favors them being overpowered.

It is not enough to post good slogans or stigmatize rapists, it is not enough to change the law: it is essential to start with educating, to value affectivity, and to reject everything that tries to smear it.

Of certain phenomena, especially if large and complex, we usually only see what is most evident, and it is difficult to get to the roots of the issue.

But remember that we only ever see the tip of the iceberg, while the rest remains hidden in the sea.

And it is the ice that is unseen that sinks ships.