British politicians are calling for stricter laws against pornography to help end an “epidemic” of violence against women at the hands of men.
The push for a crackdown is informed by a bipartisan report showing a considerable percentage of mainstream pornography depicts physically aggressive behavior by men against women and girls.
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The analysis, led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, came after the high-profile trial of Wayne Couzens in 2021. Couzens, then 48, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard after kidnapping her in March of that year. A former colleague of Couzens admitted in court the disgraced police officer had an “attraction to brutal sexual pornography,” the Daily Mail reported.
The lawmakers’ report cited several studies, one of which found 45% of the videos on Pornhub and 35% on Xvideos contain at least one act of physical aggression, according to National World.
An Australian study from 2018 found 70% of young people reported often seeing males as dominant in sexually explicit content, while 34% recalled frequently seeing women verbally degraded, and 11% were consistently confronted with videos depicting nonconsensual violence and aggression toward females.
Furthermore, a disturbing 2020 report outlined by British law enforcement found an escalating number of men between the ages of 18 and 26 years old are seeking out pedophilic content online as they have become increasingly “desensitized” to legal pornography.
Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey said at the time, “What we are seeing is a new group of young men aged between 18 and 26 who have been brought up on a staple diet of going to visit Pornhub and sites like that. They get to the point where there’s no pornographic material that is stimulating them, so then they start to explore what child abuse imagery might look like.”
It’s these constellation of concerns that has led a number of U.K. lawmakers to call for swift action.
“It’s time for MPs [members of Parliament] to confront the role of pornography in fueling violence against women,” said Dame Diana Johnson, a British politician and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation. “The intolerable level of sexual violence that is perpetrated day in day out in this country is not inevitable.”
“There is nothing ‘natural’ about it,” she added. “So the question is, what in our culture is fueling men’s violence against women — and what do we do about it? No answer to that critical question is complete without addressing the role of online pornography.”
Johnson went on to note lawmakers know mainstream pornography is “replete with violence and degradation, that the majority of users are men, and that, currently, children are able to access porn companies’ websites.”
Dr. Michael Flood, who researches masculinity and violence prevention at Queensland University of Technology, told MPs during their inquiry, “There is a wealth of evidence that pornography exposure is shaping young people’s and adult’s sexual lives, in harmful and violent ways.”
This comes as states like Louisiana are implementing laws requiring age verification before accessing pornographic sites like Pornhub. That legislative proposal received bipartisan support, CBN News reported.
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