If we knew, would we view?

I’ve started to read through a few papers on the effects of pornography. As you might suspect all is not as glamorous and happy as the porn producers would like us to believe. For now, though, I want to consider those enticed into the porn industry and pose a simple question:

‘One study reports that at least 70% of adults involved in the sex industry were sexually abused as children while a review of the literature on prostitution concludes that 60-90% of prostituted women (including those in pornography) were sexually abused children.’

Dr Karen Boyle, citing Doreen Leidholt “Prostitution: A Form of Slavery” in Making the Harm Visible: Global Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls, (eds. D. Hughes & C. Roche, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, 1999) and Melissa Farley “Prostitution and the Invisibility of Harm”, Women and Therapy 26 (3-4), pp.247-80, 2003

My guess is that when viewing pornography not a moment’s thought goes into the backgrounds of women pretending to be enjoying themselves. It suits the process of stimulation & ecstasy not to ask any awkward questions. The acceptance of what is viewed at face value is also a worrying consequence of the pornification of our culture. If porn stars can be photographed cheerfully with world celebrities, then surely it’s a dignified profession? The effects of performing in the porn industry will be looked at subsequently, but for now the fact that the majority of entrants are victims of child sexual abuse should be considered in its own right. Let’s get the information out there so that everyone will be in no doubt: viewing porn creates an unsafe haven for the vulnerable. But if we knew, would we view?


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