As an anti-porn movement, we get hate on social media. This is to be expected because a lot of people in society don’t like being told that there are scientifically proven harms to their porn habits. A common argument we get in comments and messages goes a little something like these tweets:

On the surface, “If you don’t like porn, then don’t watch it,” could be seen as a simple live-and-let-live statement. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned since starting this movement in 2008, it’s that porn-related issues are never simple, and they are never isolated.

Allow us to explain.

“If you don’t like it” suggests that someone is anti-porn because of “taste” or “sensitivity.” It could also imply that whoever doesn’t like porn is an anti-sex prude, when the truth is quite the opposite. “Don’t watch” also suggests the harm porn causes stops when the browser window is closed, and the only person affected by porn in the first place is the one viewing it. Nothing could be further from reality. We know there is a whole world out there dedicated to producing more abusive and more extreme porn. We know the demand for porn is incredibly high and increasing. We also know that people are affected every day by pornography, whether they’re the ones actually watching it or not.

The fact is, we fight against porn because of the effect porn has on a range of people: those who watch and the ones they love, those involved in the industry, and society at large.

We’ve said before, and it still stands—pornography is the new tobacco. And just like tobacco, with second-hand smoke, medical bills that bankrupt families and rising healthcare costs for all, the effects of pornography go well beyond just those who consume it.

Effect of Porn on Society

With the increased acceptance of pornography, it’s no surprise that the things depicted in pornography are becoming more accepted in general pop culture as well. Everything from movies and advertisements to prime time television and even the fitness world go way beyond a mere hint of sexual innuendo.

With the rise of the internet, there is more competition than ever for people’s attention. And when you tap into the natural desire for sex, and amplify it by twenty, you’re bound to get attention. While porn sites are booming, our every-day media outlets—both online and offline—clearly feel compelled to offer “pornified” content to keep the attention of ever-distracted viewers.

RelatedResearch Shows Softcore Porn Linked To Greater Acceptance Of Rape Culture

Our society and mass media are promoting softcore porn daily in movies, newspapers, billboards, magazines and on TV. Today’s softcore porn is what was hardcore 50 years ago, and generally, we have become numb to seeing sexualized and objectified bodies everywhere we look. There is no doubt this is having a negative effect on individuals, relationships, and society as a whole, especially considering studies that point to how softcore porn contributes to the acceptance of rape culture.

Not to mention how there are people dedicated to monitoring and filtering the endless sea of content coming through their company’s servers, and they’re paying the price of long-term exposure to disturbing, pornographic content. While it’s good companies like Microsoft are taking their responsibilities seriously and hunting down bad content, it’s just another example of the reach of porn’s harm well beyond those that willingly consume it. It’s no wonder why half a dozen states and counting have gone so far as to declare pornography a public health crisis.

RelatedVirginia & South Dakota Make History, Declare Porn A Public Health Crisis

Again, it’s not just the people who choose to watch porn who are affected. After all, a recent survey revealed nearly half of adults think violent porn is okay, and the rising demand for real rape videos in countries like India, and those are both issues that have undeniably far-reaching negative effects. It’s a fact that can’t be ignored any longer—the societal effects of the normalization and promotion of porn go beyond the viewer’s browser window.

Sex Trafficking

Unfortunately, there are too many in our society that are blind to the inseparable link between porn and sex trafficking. The porn industry is a sketchy industry to begin with, but it takes a really dangerous turn when porn involving sex trafficking victims is made and distributed. And yes, this really happens. Countless women and girls have been kidnapped, abused, drugged, threatened, and coerced into doing porn; this is, by definition, sex trafficking/slavery.

This is the reality of what the porn industry fuels: real people being sexually abused and exploited at the hands of family members and pimps. Each click to porn content directly fuels the demand for sex traffickers to make money by selling videos of their sex slaves to porn sites. But what about major porn studios and porn sites—aren’t they completely separate from the sex trafficking issue? Great question, we’re glad you asked.

Related“You’re Gonna Be A Star”: The Day I Was Raped On A Porn Set

The more the mainstream adult entertainment industry flourishes, the bigger the opposing globalized black market for porn will become. So the higher the demand for porn, even porn that was produced in professional studios (which, news flash, also abuse their performers), the more sex traffickers will want to profit from that porn demand, and the more they’ll exploit vulnerable people to get there.

Those who never intended to become a part of the porn industry find themselves trapped, pimped out, and worse. Some people never recover, leaving their family and friends trying to understand how their loved ones ever got involved in the first place and being marked for life even by an indirect connection to porn. And those that make it out? They—and their families—have to deal with the fallout of being in the porn industry after all the lies that drew them into the industry in the first place are long gone.

RelatedBy The Numbers: How Porn And Sex Trafficking Are Inseparably Connected

At the end of the day, watching just isn’t worth contributing to the demand for sex trafficking.

Revenge Porn

Revenge porn sites are basically just like any other porn site, except the pictures are of regular everyday people who once sent naked or sexually explicit pictures/videos of themselves to someone they trusted, only to later have those images posted online for all to see. To put it simply, revenge porn is non-consensual porn.

And there’s a huge market for this stuff. Maybe it’s the result of the ever-increasing search for more hardcore pornography or maybe it’s the result of being desensitized to the people on the other side of the screen. Whatever the cause, people are profiting from non-willing victims, and that’s messed up. In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to the promotion and capitalization of this non-consensual porn, and it’s all part of the larger picture of the rising demand for more shocking material.

RelatedWhy Revenge Porn Is Not Just Celebrity Gossip, It’s A Societal Issue

For example, in 2010, a website called IsAnyoneUp.com was launched. This website allowed users to anonymously submit nude photos or video of any person above the legal age limit (like they would even know or really care) to its database. In order to submit new content for the site, the submission form asked for the victim’s name and a link to their Facebook, Twitter or Myspace profile. This way, along with the victim’s naked pics, viewers could also go to their page and have an easy way to contact/harass them.

Talk about creepy. Yet at one point, IsAnyoneUp got more than 30 million page views a month. Fortunately, the website got shut down in April of 2012.

At its peak in popularity, the website pulled in about $10,000 a month in ad revenue. The site even employed a hacker who they paid $200 a week to produce new content by hacking his way into people’s email accounts and stealing pictures. Add all this up and in 2010, the website was making more than $300,000 a year, solely on revenge porn. And that was just one website.

RelatedWATCH: This Heartbreaking Video Shows What Being A Revenge Porn Victim Is Like

Revenge porn is so much like digital sex slavery. It overpowers the victim because in most cases, they have no way of stopping their nude photos from being saved and distributed. It can be equated to the violating principles of sex trafficking, and yet…there’s demand for this disturbing content. Thankfully, there have been great efforts to try and fight this, but there is a long way to go, and stopping the issue in its tracks means stopping the demand at the source.

Keep Fighting

This is why we do what we do. By creating awareness, by educating others on why real love is always, without fail, better than pornographic pixels on a screen, we keep putting the facts out there. With the help of Fighters like you, the idea that pornography is harmful can become as commonplace as the idea that second-hand smoke is dangerous.

What YOU Can Do

Porn affects more than those who watch. Way more. You can help by spreading the word on the harms of pornography. SHARE this article and take a stand.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you up for the challenge? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

 

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