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Canada Motions to Examine Pornography’s Effects on Public Health

By November 26, 2017 November 28th, 2017 No Comments

It looks like the movement to fight for real love is really starting to catch on! Just days before Utah recently passed its resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis in the state last year, Arnold Viersen, Member of Parliament in Canada introduced motion M-47 on the public health effects of violent sexual material. The motion reads:

That the Standing Committee on Health be instructed to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women, and men, recognizing and respecting the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in this regard, and that the said Committee report its findings to the House no later than July 2017.

 “Violent and degrading sexually explicit material, in which the majority of violence is directed at women, is easily accessible to anyone with an access to the internet, without restriction,” said MP Viersen in a press release last March.

As sexual violence rises and cases like that of Rehtaeh Parsons, who committed suicide after a photos of her being gang-raped by four teenage boys were posted online, are reported, Viersen considers it the duty of the nation to consider where the idea that sexually violent and degrading attitudes toward women and children are acceptable is coming from. His concern is that easy access to violent pornography is teaching youth what is the “norm” when it comes to how women and girls should be treated.

Related: Raphaël’s Story: Why I Joined The Fight For Real Love In Quebec

Says Leah Parsons, Executive Director of the Rehtaeh Parsons Society, in Viersen’s press release, “If my daughter was treated as a human being and not as an object to conquer she would still be here today. Societal messages directly influence rape and violence toward women.”

The last major public study on sexually explicit material in Canada, the 1985 Fraser Committee Report, found that sexually explicit material perpetuated “lies about aspects of women’s humanity” and “denied the validity of their aspirations to be treated as full and equal citizens.” However, the Committee’s recommendations and legislation were never adopted by Parliament.

This was 30 years ago, in the pre-Internet age, and as we have reported here at Fight the New Drug, times have changed greatly.

FTND_Then-vs-Now_v2

“It is appalling that the last time Canada studied the impact of violent sexually explicit material was 30 years ago, before the invention of the internet,” Viersen said. “This is a public health issue, it’s a women’s equality issue and it is time for Parliament to make this a priority.”

Viersen is particularly concerned about the effects of porn on children and how it can be accessed by children of any age with a few simple clicks. As we are more and more concerned about what children eat and drink and we even restrict their exposure to sexually explicit material on traditional forms of media, should we not be concerned about what they consume on the Internet as well?

Viersen correctly asserts that pornography causes real health issues. It has physical, mental, and emotional effects on its consumers, causing addiction, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, erectile dysfunction, and relationship problems. Use of pornography can lead to sexual violence as well, as study after study has found that watching even non-violent porn is correlated with the consumer being more likely to use verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to push women into sex. [1] A meta-analysis of 33 different studies found that exposure to both violent and non-violent porn increases aggressive behavior, including both having violent fantasies and actually committing violent assaults. [2] Pornography also has adverse effects on children. A recent study by NSPCC Childline found that one-tenth of 12 to 13-year-olds fear they may be addicted to pornography.

Related: Matthew’s Story: Why I’m Speaking Out About Porn’s Harmful Effects In British Columbia

While Fight the New Drug doesn’t get involved in political action, we do stand in support of anything that helps to educate people on its harmful effects, especially when protecting children from their first exposure. Science and research are showing us that pornography is indeed a public health issue and it is our mission to help promote that information so everyone can make informed decisions regarding pornography.

Porn is a cheap imitation of what love and sex should be. How awesome would it be if countries around the world started recognizing porn as a public health crisis, creating even more Fighters for real love and real relationships? That’s a world we want to live in.

What YOU Can Do

Show support for our friends in the Great White North for joining the movement! SHARE this article to educate and raise awareness on the scientific harms of pornography.

Citations

[1] Boeringer, S. B. (1994). Pornography and Sexual Aggression: Associations of Violent and Nonviolent Depictions with Rape and Rape Proclivity. Deviant Behavior 15, 3: 289–304; Check, J. and Guloien, T. (1989). The Effects of Repeated Exposure to Sexually Violent Pornography, Nonviolent Dehumanizing Pornography, and Erotica. In D. Zillmann and J. Bryant (Eds.) Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations (pp. 159–84). Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Marshall, W. L. (1988). The Use of Sexually Explicit Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters, and Non-Offenders. Journal of Sex Research 25, 2: 267–88.
[2] Allen, M., Emmers, T., Gebhardt, L., and Giery, M. A.  (1995). Exposure to Pornography and Acceptance of the Rape Myth. Journal of Communication 45, 1: 5–26.

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