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Internet Pornography and Domestic Violence

30 September 2011 5 Comments
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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There are conflicting interpretations about what constitutes pornography. Perhaps we should consider how former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defined obscenity, “…I know it when I see it.” The same can be said of pornography, whether it is soft porn or hard-core. And like it or not, it is pervasive on the Internet. Pornography has now become a complex and contributing factor to domestic violence. Today more and more abused women are reporting that their abuser regularly views pornography on the Internet.

Kay Card, Director of  Safe Harbor Women’s Shelter stated, “Pornography is a cancer. Women can’t compete with the Internet. They report that their abuse starts with put-downs, progresses to physical abuse, sexual abuse and rape.  They {abusers} appear to be living normal lives, but you don’t know what people are doing in the middle of the night.”

Women’s rights groups have stated for years that pornography objectifies women and that rape and domestic violence increase exponentially as the abuser is exposed to pornography. Whether it is sexually explicit or subliminal, the effect is often the same. Women are presented in scenarios of degradation, humiliation, and dehumanized. Let’s face it; porn is intended for effect to produce sexual arousal and actions by the consumer. And the effects can be frightening.

There is a critical link to sex and violent crimes. And no, women cannot compete with what their husband or significant other sees on the Internet. How long will it take before a man takes a pornographic fantasy and attempts to turn it into reality? Will he rape? Will he become a pedophile? Think of vulnerable adolescents who can readily view this on the Internet and then carry these acts into adulthood as a norm of sexual relations. Do we want our daughters to believe that that objectification and possible subsequent violence are norms to be accepted?

Those of us who write on the Internet need to be cautious of the material we present. One never knows who will be reading any particular site. While there are no particular rules, is it not incumbent upon us to submit appropriate material that does not spiral into domestic violence?

I once heard a priest say that it is not the sin itself that is so bad. It is the ripple effects, those spin-offs of which we may not be aware, that cause horrendous damage. I would therefore ask bloggers to use caution. There is much good information on the Internet. There is also a large quantity of scurrilous material that can ultimately lead to domestic violence. Do not be a party to domestic violence through those ripples of obscenity or pornography.

—cher

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