Pornography fuels the fire

Men Against Pornography Clip Art

Cyndy Owens (

By Spencer D Gear

The level of sexual abuse and assault in this nation is alarming! This is impacting adults. However, those who work with children and youth are also dealing with significant numbers of the abused. This horrific abuse causes me to ask: What on earth is going on in this country?

6pointblue I would not be so naive as to suggest only one cause of this dreadful situation. Alcohol and drug abuse and examples of violence in the culture would seem to have their influence.

However, one thing we do know is that there is an association between the use of pornography and sex crimes.

Australia: The Sexual Assault Capital

The International Crime Survey (1994) found that Australians face greater risk of sexual assault than people in any other developed country.[1] Canberra, the home of video porn in Australia, had the highest sexual assault rate in Australia. [2]

This should not be surprising when research shows how pornography desensitises men to rape.

Pornography & Sex Crimes: The Link

There could be other factors involved in the increase in sex crimes. Since young people tend to read more pornography, it was thought that age could be a contributing factor. One American study investigating the link between porn and sexual violenceconcluded that age was “irrelevant.” [3]

There is the possibility of other social or cultural factors influencing the link between pornography and rape.

The reputable scientific magazine, New Scientist (5 May, 1990), after reviewing the research literature concluded:

It would, however, be an equally serious mistake to dismiss research on pornography as inconclusive and so irrelevant. The weight of evidence is accumulating that intensive exposure to soft-core pornography desensitises men’s attitude to rape, increases sexual callousness and shifts their preferences towards hard-core pornography.Similarly, the evidence is now strong that exposure to violent pornography increases men’s acceptance of rape myths and of violence against women. It also increases men’s tendencies to be aggressive towards women and is correlated with the reported incidence of rape. Many sex offenders claim they used pornography to stimulate themselves before committing their crimes.” [4]

A Cairns policeman said in 1990 that after eight years of work with the Juvenile Aid Bureau every sexual offender he had charged had used pornography as a stimulant to the crime. He said that “pornography is the recurring factor in every major sexual investigation.” [5]

A number of Australian judges and leading legal people see the connection and are speaking out.

Victorian (Australian) Barrister, chairman of forensic psychology at Monash University and consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission, Dr Don Thompson, says that “the conclusion I draw from the findings of the different lines of research is that pornography is causally related to sexually violent behaviour.” [6]

Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice, Sir William Kearney, says that “people who think there is no connection between pornography and the violent and bizarre crimes that come before the courts ought to do the case studies.” [7]

Yet defenders of pornography state their position very articulately. However, as long as Bundaberg listens to the no-harm view of pornography, our women and children will continue to be raped and abused.

Children in Australia are protected against gambling, nicotine and alcohol addiction. Why isn’t there better protection for them against the addiction of pornography? [8]

What a Contrast! South Australia vs Queensland

In a cover story on “The Power of Pornography,” the New Scientist, [9] revealed how Australia had unwittingly conducted an interesting experiment on the effects of pornography. “Queensland, [at that time] the most conservative state, has maintained the strictest controls on pornography and has a comparatively low rate of rape reports. By contrast, South Australia, the [then] most liberal state in relation to pornography, has seen escalating reports of rape in the early 1970s.”

The explosive growth in rape rates in South Australia coincided with the Dunstan Government’s laws that liberalised display of and availability of pornographic materials in the early 1970s. By 1985, South Australia had five times the rape rate of Queensland.

Some pornography users are inflicting inhuman crimes, mostly on our women and children. Millions of girls, boys and adults worldwide are maimed sexually, many of them for life, thanks to the pleasure and profit of pornographers.

Victims live with the horrific memories of their experiences, many of them having childhood denied them and having nightmares for years.

Those working in the counselling field, as I do, know how difficult it can be to help people move from sexual addiction to sexual wholeness. Mind pollution has lasting and often devastating consequences. Just ask the user of porn who abused his children and is working on change!

This in no way exempts the porn user from responsibility in committing his/her acts of abuse.

The No-Harm Porn Delusion

Pornographers want us to believe that their material (print and electronic) has no link to the rape and sexual abuse we are seeing in Bundaberg and around the world.

Advertisers pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year on mass media. Why? Common sense (maybe it’s not so common after all!) tells us that what we see influences what we do, even if only for a moment. Yet the porn that we read around the advertisements is not supposed to have negative effects.

What Can Be done?

  • Follow the example of the State of Victoria (Australia) and ensure that publications [and videos] that are unsuitable for children cannot be displayed in open areas to children. Porn magazines should no longer be placed in the same area of a newsagent or service station as Mickey Mouse comics. The cover-up of open display of pornography would be a significant step in addressing the problem.
  • As the influence of the international pornography industry is reduced by governments taking pro-active measures, all of us will no longer be forced to undergo psychological desensitisation through unwanted exposure to pornographic displays.
  • To stop this horror, it will take the combined efforts of all levels of government, the police, parents, the church, and all citizens concerned about the direction in which Australia is heading.

Until we have evidence beyond reasonable doubt that pornography is not addictive, that the passion of fantasy doesn’t destroy reality, that the obsessive use of obscene materials will not lead to perversions–we dare not give pornography respectability.

Protecting the rights of the individual must give way to protecting the vulnerable in Australia (mainly women and children).

Works consulted

1. International Crime Survey, the Home Office in London, April, 1994.
2. According to the Australian Federal Police Annual Report (1991-92); ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Annual Report 1992-1993.
3. New Scientist, “The Power of Pornography,” 5 May, 1990, p. 23.
4. Ibid.
5. The Cairns Post, 1 August, 1990.
6. In an address to the Victorian Criminal Justice Symposium, 16 March, 1991.
7. Northern Territory News, 1 June, 1989.
8. In Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children, Dr Victor Cline documents addiction as the first stage of the Four-Factor Syndrome common to nearly all sex offenders. Published by the National Obscenity Law Centre, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, USA, 1994, p. 3.
9. 5 May, 1990.

Until we have evidence beyond reasonable doubt that pornography is not addictive, that the passion of fantasy doesn’t destroy reality, that the obsessive use of obscene materials will not lead to perversions–we dare not give pornography respectability.


Copyright (c) 2007 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at: 14 October 2015.