Stand Up for Women's Equality and Safety By Addressing the Problem of Pornography
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If our government is serious about tackling the epidemic of family violence, the high rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and the culture of lack of respect for women and girls it needs to address the problem of pornography.
There is already research showing pornography is a significant factor contributing to sexist and misogynistic views and its links with violence against women and girls and sex trafficking. Organisations such as Fight the New Drug and Collective Shout highlight such research on their websites.
Even the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Assault found that the biggest common denominator for the huge increase in intimate partner rape seen by the Centre in recent years was pornography consumption by the offender. I have also seen in the legal system too many cases of sex offenders being pornography consumers/addicts.
Also, the US Court of Appeals acknowledged the connection between pornography and gendered violence back in 1985 adding that images of the subordination of women perpetuate subordination and also contributed to women’s economic inequality.
Mental health experts have warned we are gripped by an epidemic of pornography addiction amongst males including teenagers and have spoken of how men who previously had no conscious paedophilic interests are now seeking out child abuse material after viewing adult pornography for a period of time.
We need our government to do the following:
1. Provide for laws against gender vilification, (which includes pornography as a form of hate speech since even the NSW Law Reform Commission has previously acknowledged pornography is a form of gendered hate speech). The absence of laws against gender vilification doesn’t make sense given we have laws against racial vilification federally and even have laws against religious vilification as well in Victoria and in some other states.
2. Re-visit implementing a full internet ban on pornography which has safeguards to only capture pornography. Iceland’s proposed full ban back in 2013 is a good starting point and monitoring the UK’s partial ban this year.
3. Invest heavily in community campaigns like we have for family violence, educating adults and children about the harms of pornography and where to get help.
These actions are part of the necessary steps to create a society that thrives on a culture of respect for women and girls who are valued for who they are, and one which also cares about the mental health and wellbeing of women, children, and men.
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