Based both on the lab research and interviews, Diana Russell has argued that pornography is a causal factor in the way it can:
- predispose some males to desire rape or intensify this desire
- undermine some males’ internal inhibitions against acting out rape desires
- undermine some potential victims’ abilities to avoid or resist rape
The public testimony of women, my interviews with pornography users and sex offenders, and various other researchers’ work, have led me to conclude that pornography can:
- be an important factor in shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality
- be used to initiate victims and break down their resistance to sexual activity
- contribute to a user’s difficulty in separating sexual fantasy and reality
- provide a training manual for abusers
Consider the following reports and what they tells about the relationship between pornography and behaviour.
From a 34 year old man who had raped women and sexually abused girls:
There was a lot of oral sex that I wanted her to perform in me. There were, like, ways that would entice it in the movies, and I tried to use that on her, and it wouldn’t work .Sometimes I’d get frustrated, and that’s when I started hitting her … I used a lot of force, a lot of direct demands, that in the movies women would just co-operate. And I would demand stuff from her. And if she didn’t I’d start slapping her around.
From a 41 year old man who had sexually abused his stepdaughter:
In fact, when I’d be abusing my daughter, I’d be thinking about some women I saw in a video. Because if I was to open my eyes and see my stepdaughter laying there while I was abusing her, you know, that would bring me back to the painful reality that I’m a child molester, where I’m in this reality of I’m making love or having intercourse with this beautiful woman from the video. The video didn’t even come into my mind. It was just this beautiful person who had a beautiful body, and she was willing to do anything I asked.
From a 24 year old man who had sexually abused girls while working as a school bus driver:
When I was masturbating to these pornography things, I would think about certain girls I had seen on the bus or ones I had sold drugs to, and I would thinking as I was looking at these pictures in these books, what would it be like to have this girl or whoever doing this, what I’m thinking about … just masturbating to the thought wasn’t getting it for me anymore. I actually had to be a part of it, or actually had to do something about it … Like sometimes after I’d see a certain load of kids would get off the bus, I’d pick out a couple and I’d watch them or stop and look at the mirror and stare at them and stuff like that. I would think, later on in the day, I’d masturbate to some pornography, I’d just use that picture kind of as a mental, it’s kind of a scenery or whatever, and I’d put in my mindI’d put myself and whomever at the time I was thinking about, in that picture.
Those four effects described above:
- shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality
- initiating victims
- contributing to difficulty in separating sexual fantasy and reality and
- providing a training manual for abusers
are at work just as much with men who have not engaged in activities that meet the legal definition of rape.
Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity