Pornography and Sex Crimes

“What is going on?” were the only words I could pull from my shaking mouth. I will never forget the pain in my gut when I opened the door to find my nine-year-old sister watching a porno. “I found it in Billy’s room and wanted to see what it was, I’m sorry Jes.” As I watched tears role down her face, a feeling of rage exploded within me. It was then that I realized that pornography is not only being watched by adults, but being explored by our youth as well. What has our society come to, and what role does pornography play in it? It’s definitely not the positive outlet. I believe pornography can be dangerous because it dehumanizes family values, and leads to vicious acts of violence.

1. Family Values

The stone first strikes at the very heart of family values. It presents behavior that is immoral and sinful as acceptable. Pornography makes premarital sex, adultery, and a variety of other perversions not only permissible, but attractive. It encourages both male and female homosexuality, which are lifestyles that are not acceptable to many people.

It is not only those who come into direct with pornography that are affected. The ripples spread, and with them the effects of smut on the community as a whole. The Pontifical Council’s report cited strong evidence that obscene materials “corrode human relationships, exploit individuals (especially women and young people), undermine marriage and family life, foster anti-social behavior and weaken the moral fiber of society itself.”

Even nonviolent pornography is harmful according to a study by Dr. Dolf Zillman and Dr. Jennings Bryant. After weeks of exposure to soft-core material, those who participated in the experiment said they felt “less satisfied with their partner’s sexual performance, affection and physical appearance.” After assessing the results of Zillman and Bryant’s study, sex addiction expert Dr. Cline concluded that “this world suggest that the consumption of pornography erodes material values and the institution of marriage itself.” This may be borne out by escalating divorce rates over the years in which pornography has flourished.

2. Young Sex Offenders

Not only does pornography attack family values, but it also leads many to violence. Dr. Victor Cline conducted a pilot study for the U.S. Department of Justice on the effects of Dial-A-Porn. He found that “in every case, without exception, the children became hooked on this sex by phone and kept going back for more.” He thought the conclusion was inescapable. He believed Dial-A-Porn had an “addiction effect.” Police statistics indicate that an increasing number of young people addicted to hard-core pornography are acting out what they have learned. Recent cases include sexual assault on a two-year-old girl by two Detroit boys (one was only eleven years old), the rape of a mentally retarded girl by five New Jersey teenagers using a broomstick and a miniature baseball bat, and a gang of boys age twelve to seventeen raping and brutally beating a women jogger in New York City’s Central Park.

Many of these young abusers have themselves been abused. Sometimes occurring when they are very young, only three to four years old. Sometimes the ones who abused them are family members, a babysitter, or a friend of the family. Pornography plays a part in the abuse, either in terms of arousing the molester, attracting the child’s interest, or showing the child what to do. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates of the Sexually Exploited Child Unit points out that “the frequent recovery of pornography in sexually exploited child cases is not considered to be happenstance.” It is a part of the pattern.

3. Pornography Does Not Incite Violent Sex Crime

I have realized that there are people out there that believe pornography is not bad, and that it doesn’t lead to sex crimes. However what about the convicted murderer that was seriously involved in pornography, Ted Bundy. Bundy, who raped and murdered an unknown number of victims, was executed in 1989 for killing a twelve-year-old girl. Shortly before his death, Bundy discussed his addiction to pornography with a psychologist. “I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of materials,” Bundy said, adding finally “ you reach the jumping-off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it will give you that which is beyond reading books about it or looking at it.”

Studies by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s behavior science unit reveal that “about 80 percent of killers who commit sexual crimes have a taste for violent pornography. A workshop conducted by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office has concluded that “exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior towards women.” And the United States Attorney General’s Commission has found that “nonviolent pornography whets the appetite for violent forms.” With all of the evidence shown, how could pornography be good for our society?

Seeing my young and venerable sister exposed to pornography has led me to believe that she is not the only one being attacked. There are many others out there that are being exposed as I speak, and maybe tomorrow, just as Ted Bundy, they will decide that reading and watching it is just not enough. Our nation will stand or fall depending on its moral values. Pornography, like the larva of a clothes moth, is eating the fabric of our nation (unseen and generally untouched). However we have the power to bring the dehumanizing pornography into the light where it can be destroyed.

Word Count: 918

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