Pornography and Crime

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In March of 2011, the Kansas Legislature debated passing a bill requiring police to report any and all pornographic materials found during sexual crime investigations.

crime scene protect by caution tapeTestifying in favor of the bill, Psychologist Mary Anne Layden laid out findings, including her own experience in treating sexual trauma victims and perpetrators, as well as her own research and that of colleagues.

Overwhelmingly, the research agrees. Porn and sexual crimes are inseparably linked.

Dr. Mary Anne Layden:

“Thank you for allowing me to address you today.

“I am speaking today in support of the passage of HB 2042, The reporting of pornographic materials during the investigation of sexual crimes. There are many reasons why this is an important bill and why this bill can help solve the kinds of psychological and criminal problems that I deal with everyday.

“I had been doing this work for more than 10 years before I realized that I had not treated one case of sexual violence that did not include pornography.

“The types of cases that I treat are varied and differ in many important ways. Sexual harassment cases are different from rape cases which are different from incest cases. However, they all involved pornography.

“Most people understand intuitively or from looking at research or clinical experience that there is a connection between using child pornography and the behavior of child rape. The images in child pornography are Permission-Giving for sexual behavior between adults and children. Child rapists tell me they know that kids like to have sex with adults because they have seen their smiling faces in the child pornography they access on the Internet.

“The same people who understand this connection may forget that adult pornography is Permission-Giving as well: for adult rape, for combining sex with violence, for the message that when women say no they mean yes, for male sexual entitlement to have sex with whomever they want, whenever they want, however they want, for the message that male sexuality is viciously narcissistic, predatory and out of control and that female sexuality is insatiable and indiscriminant.

“Pornography is hate speech against men and women and is mis-education about sexuality.

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“It is also Permission-Giving for psychological psychopathology and crime.

“The crimes that are connected to the Permission-Giving Beliefs which are spread in pornography are not just incest and child rape. They are adult rape, sexual harassment, adult and child prostitution, adult and child sex trafficking and domestic violence combined with sexual assault. All of these connections have been found in both clinical experience and in research.

“Research also indicates that there are three factors that predict sexual violence. (1) Hostility toward women (2) The belief that sex is a non-intimate, recreational, adversarial behavior (3) The use of pornography.

“In fact, all of these factors are connected to the use of pornography.

“My own research indicates that the earlier young males are exposed to pornography the more likely they are to engage in non-consensual sex and the more pornography females use the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex. Pornography is an equal opportunity toxin for both males and females.

“You can find these research results in the research summary I have provided with a listing of 29 findings showing the connection between pornography and crime.Tweet

“While today we are focusing on the crimes connected to pornography, the research indicates that the social, psychological, physical, developmental, financial and spiritual consequences of pornography are enormous as well.

“Due to the universal availability of pornography on the Internet the world is facing a sexual tsunami unprecedented in history. We know that sexual abuse is the most effective way to produce psychiatric problems in adults and it shows up in the histories of adult patients more than any other factor.

“To help stem the tide of this criminal and psychological catastrophe, we need laws, we need enforcement, we need education, we need research, we need treatment. A good first step would be to have police report the presence of pornography connected to crimes. They may find what I have found that there is no case of sexual violence that does not involve pornography.

“Knowledge is power, but once you know the truth silence is complicity.

“I urge you not to be silent. I urge you to pass this bill.

“Thank you.”

 

Dr. Layden is the director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the Center for Cognative Therapy, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania. For 25 years she has specialized in the treatment of sexual violence victims. In the last 8 years she has also worked with sexual violence perpetrators and sex addicts. She has testified before the US Congress on five occasions and has spoken at one Congressional Briefing.

Adult (>18 years old) exposure to pornographic media is connected with:

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  1. Believing a rape victim enjoyed rape
  2. Believing women suffer less from rape
  3. Believing women in general enjoy rape
  4. Believing a rape victim experienced pleasure and “got what she wanted”
  5. Believing women make false accusations of rape
  6. Believing rapist deserve less jail time
  7. More acceptance of the rape myth
  8. More acceptance of violence against women
  9. More likely to go to a prostitute and to go more frequently
  10. Increasing their estimates of how often people engage in sex with violence
  11. More self-reported likelihood of forcing a women sexually
  12. More self-reported likelihood of rape
  13. Creating more sexually violent fantasies to get aroused
  14. Engaging in more sexual harassment behaviors
  15. More likelihood of forcing a woman sexually
  16. More likelihood of future rape
  17. Using physical coercion to have sex
  18. Using verbal coercion to have sex
  19. Using drugs and alcohol to sexually coerce women
  20. Having engaged in rape
  21. Having engaged in date rape
  22. Having engaged in marital rape
  23. Being an adult sex offender
  24. Being a child molester
  25. Being an incest offender
  26. Engaging in sexual abuse of a battered spouse
  27. More willingness to have sex with 13-14 year olds
  28. More sexual attraction to children
  29. Having sexually abused children

 

 

Studies Supporting These Points

  1. Believing a rape victim enjoyed rape

Check, J. & Malamuth, N. (1985). An empirical assessment of some feminist hypotheses about rape. International Journal of Women’s Studies, 8, 414-423.

Ohbuchi, K. Ikeda, T. & Takeuchi, G. (1994). Effects of violent pornography upon viewers rape myth beliefs: A study of Japanese males. Psychology, Crime & Law, 1, 71-81.

 

  1. Believing women suffer less from rape

Check, J. & Malamuth, N. (1985). An empirical assessment of some feminist hypotheses about rape. International Journal of Women’s Studies, 8, 414-423.

 

  1. Believing women in general enjoy rape

Check, J. & Malamuth, N. (1985). An empirical assessment of some feminist hypotheses about rape. International Journal of Women’s Studies, 8, 414-423.

Ohbuchi, K. Ikeda, T. & Takeuchi, G. (1994). Effects of violent pornography upon viewers rape myth beliefs: A study of Japanese males. Psychology, Crime & Law, 1, 71-81.

 

  1. Believing a rape victim experienced pleasure and “got what she wanted”

Millburn, M., Mather, R. & Conrad, S. (2000). The effects of viewing R-rated movie scenes that objectify women on perceptions of date rape.  Sex Roles, 43, Nov 2000, 645-664.

 

  1. Believing women make false accusations of rape

Ohbuchi, K. Ikeda, T. & Takeuchi, G. (1994). Effects of violent pornography upon viewers rape myth beliefs: A study of Japanese males. Psychology, Crime & Law, 1, 71-81.

 

  1. Believing rapist deserve less jail time

Zillmann, D & J. Bryant. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In Malamuth, N and Donnerstein, E. (Eds), Pornography and sexual aggression. San Diego, Academic Press.

 

  1. More acceptance of the rape myth

Check. J. V. P., & Guloien, T. H. (1989). The effects of repeated exposure to sexually violent pornography, nonviolent dehumanizing pornography, and erotica. In D. Zillmann & J. Bryan (Eds.), Pornography: Recent research, interpretations, and policy considerations (pp. 159-184). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Weisz, M.G., & Earls, C. M. (1995). The effects of exposure to filmed sexual violence on attitudes toward rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10, 71-84.

 

  1. More acceptance of violence against women

Allen, M., Emmers, T. M., Gebhardt, L., & Giery, M. (1995). Pornography and rape myth acceptance. Journal of Communication, 45, 5-26.

Weisz, M.G., & Earls, C. M. (1995). The effects of exposure to filmed sexual violence on attitudes toward rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10, 71-84.

Hald, G., Malamuth, N. & Yuen, C. (2010).  Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: revisiting the relationship in non experimental studies. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 14-20.

 

  1. More likely to go to a prostitute and to go more frequently

Monto, M. (1999). Focusing on the clients of street prostitutes: a creative approach to reducing violence against women. Final report for the National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.gov.

Stack, S., Wasserman, I. & Kern, R. (2004). Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography. Social Science Quarterly, 85, 75-88.

 

  1. Increasing their estimates of how often people engage in sex with violence

Zillmann, D & J. Bryant. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In Malamuth, N and Donnerstein, E. (Eds), Pornography and sexual aggression. San Diego, Academic Press.

 

  1. More self-reported likelihood of forced sex acts

Check. J. V. P., & Guloien, T. H. (1989). The effects of repeated exposure to sexually violent pornography, nonviolent dehumanizing pornography, and erotica. In D. Zillmann & J. Bryan (Eds.), Pornography: Recent research, interpretations, and policy considerations (pp. 159-184). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

 

  1. More self-reported likelihood of rape

Check. J. V. P., & Guloien, T. H. (1989). The effects of repeated exposure to sexually violent pornography, nonviolent dehumanizing pornography, and erotica. In D. Zillmann & J. Bryan (Eds.), Pornography: Recent research, interpretations, and policy considerations (pp. 159-184). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

 

  1. Creating more sexually violent fantasies to get aroused

Malamuth, N. (1981). Rape fantasies as a function of exposure to violent sexual stimuli. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 10, 33-47.

 

  1. Engaging in more sexual harassment behaviors

Barak, A., Fisher, W.A., Belfry, S., & Lashambe, D. R. (1999). Sex, guys, and cyberspace: Effects of internet pornography and individual differences on men’s attitudes toward women. Journal of Psychological and Human Sexuality, 11, 63-92.

Bonino, S., Ciairano, S. Rabaglietti, E. & Cattelino, E. (2006). Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 3, 265-288.

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

Vega, V. & Malamuth, N. (2007).  Predicting sexual aggression: The role of pornography in the context of general and specific risk factors. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 104–117.

 

  1. More likelihood of forcing a woman sexually

Boeringer, S.B. (1994). Pornography and sexual aggression: Associations of violent and nonviolent depictions with rape and rape proclivity. Deviant Behavior, 15, 289-304.

 

  1. More likelihood of future rape

Check. J. V. P., & Guloien, T. H. (1989). The effects of repeated exposure to sexually violent pornography, nonviolent dehumanizing pornography, and erotica. In D. Zillmann & J. Bryan (Eds.), Pornography: Recent research, interpretations, and policy considerations (pp. 159-184). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

 

  1. Using physical coercion to have sex

Carr, J. & VanDeusen, K. (2004). Risk factors for male sexual aggression on college campuses.  Journal of Family Violence, 19, 279-289.

Crossman, L. (1995). Date rape and sexual aggression by college males: Incidence and the involvement of impulsivity, anger, hostility, psychopathology, peer influence and pornography use. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 55, 4640

 

  1. Using verbal coercion to have sex

Boeringer, S.B. (1994). Pornography and sexual aggression: Associations of violent and nonviolent depictions with rape and rape proclivity. Deviant Behavior, 15, 289-304.

 

  1. Using drugs and alcohol to sexually coerce women

Boeringer, S.B. (1994). Pornography and sexual aggression: Associations of violent and nonviolent depictions with rape and rape proclivity. Deviant Behavior, 15, 289-304.

 

  1. Having engaged in rape

Alexy, E., Burgess, A. & Prentky, R. (2009).  Pornography use as a risk marker for an aggressive pattern of behavior among sexually reactive children and adolescents. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 14, 442-453.

Baron, L. & Straus, M. (1984). Sexual stratification, pornography, and rape in the United States. In N. Malamuth and E. Donnerstein (Eds) Pornography and Sexual Aggression.  New York: Academic Press.

Boeringer, S.B. (1994). Pornography and sexual aggression: Associations of violent and nonviolent depictions with rape and rape proclivity. Deviant Behavior, 15, 289-304.

Bonino, S., Ciairano, S. Rabaglietti, E. & Cattelino, E. (2006). Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 3, 265-288.

Carr, J. & VanDeusen, K. (2004). Risk factors for male sexual aggression on college campuses.  Journal of Family Violence, 19, 279-289.

Cramer, E. & McFarlane, J. (1994). Pornography and abuse of women. Public Health Nursing, 11, 4, 268-272.

Crossman, L. (1995). Date rape and sexual aggression by college males: Incidence and the involvement of impulsivity, anger, hostility, psychopathology, peer influence and pornography use. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 55, 4640

Malamuth, N., Addison, T. & Koss, M. (2000). Pornography and sexual aggression: Are there reliable effects and can we understand them? Annual Review of Sex Research, 11, 26-68.

Marshall, W. L. (1988). The use of sexually explicit stimuli by rapists, child molesters and non-offenders. Journal of Sex Research, 25, 2, 267-288.

Senn, C. (1993). The research on women and pornography: The many faces of harm. In D. E. H. Russell (Ed.), Making violence sexy. New York: Teachers College Press.

Vega, V. & Malamuth, N. (2007).  Predicting sexual aggression: The role of pornography in the context of general and specific risk factors. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 104–117.

 

  1. Having engaged in date rape

Warshaw, R. (1988). I never called it rape. New York, Harper and Row.

 

  1. Having engaged in marital rape

Simmons, C. A, Lehmann, P & Collier-Tenison, S. (2008). Linking male use of the sex industry to controlling behaviors in violent relationships. Violence against Women, 14,  406-417.

 

  1. Being an adult sex offender

Marshall, W. L. (1988). The use of sexually explicit stimuli by rapists, child molesters and non-offenders. Journal of Sex Research, 25, 2, 267-288.

 

  1. Being a child molester

Marshall, W. L. (1988). The use of sexually explicit stimuli by rapists, child molesters and non-offenders. Journal of Sex Research, 25, 2, 267-288.

 

  1. Being an incest offender

Marshall, W. L. (1988). The use of sexually explicit stimuli by rapists, child molesters and non-offenders. Journal of Sex Research, 25, 2, 267-288.

 

  1. Engaging in sexual abuse of a battered spouse

Shope, J. (2004). When words are not enough: The search for the effect of pornography on abused women. Violence Against Women, 10, 1, 56-72.

Simmons, C. A., Lehmann, P. & Collier-Tennison, S. (2008). Linking male use of the sex industry to controlling behaviors in violent relationships: An exploratory analysis.Violence Against Women, 14, 406-417.

Sommers, E. K. & Check, J. V. P. (1987). An empirical investigation of the role of pornography in the verbal and physical abuse of women. Violence and Victims, 2, 1, 189-209.

 

  1. More willingness to have sex with 13-14 year olds

Hegna, H., Mossige, S. & Wichstrom, L. (2004). Older adolescents’ positive attitudes toward younger adolescents as sexual partners. Adolescence, 39, 156, 627-651.

 

  1. More sexual attraction to children

Briere, J. & Runtz, M. (1989). University males sexual interest in children: Predicting potential indices of “pedophilia” in a nonforensic sample. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 65-75.

Smiljanich, K. & Briere, J. (1996). Self-reported sexual interest in children: Sex differences and psychosocial correlates in a university sample. Violence and Victims. 11, 1, 39-50.

 

  1. Having sexually abused children

Bourke, M. & Hernandez, A.  (2009). The Butner study redux: A report of the incidence of hands-on child victimization by child pornography offenders.  Journal of Family Violence, 24, 183-191.

Carter, D. L., Prentky. R. A., Knight, R. A. & Vanderveer, P. L. (1987). Use of pornography in the criminal and developmental histories of sex offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 2, 196-211.

Kingston, D. A., Fedoroff, P., Firestone, P., Curry, S., Bradford, J. M. (2008) Pornography use and sexual aggression: The impact of frequency and type of pornography use on recidivism among sexual offenders. Aggressive Behavior, 34, 4, 341-351.

Proulx, J., Perreault, C. & Ouimet, M.  (1999). Pathways in the offending process of extrafamilial sexual child molesters. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 11, 2, 117-129.

Seto, M. & Eke, A. (2005). The criminal histories and later offending of child pornography offenders. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 17, 2, 201-210.

Wheeler, D. L. (1997). The relationship between pornography usage and child molesting. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 57(8-A), pp. 3691.

Compiled by Mary Anne Layden, PhD

 


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