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Deaths from Violent Sex are Increasing Because of Porn-Inspired Strangling

By August 29, 2019 No Comments
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TRIGGER WARNING

In the past decade, there has been a 90% increase in a certain type of justification used in court cases relating to the deaths of 57 British women. The defense? “Sex games gone wrong.”

We Can’t Consent to This” is a new British campaign documenting cases where people have successfully used this defense in light of injury or death to justify apparently consensual sexual violence. It found that in the last five years, the accused has been found “not guilty” or received a manslaughter conviction in over 40% of the cases reaching trial.

The founder of the campaign, Fiona Mackenzie, has stated that “tens of women are dying and hundreds more are being injured in what’s really just domestic violence under the guise of kink.”

Related: Strangulation As A Game: Why Are Teens Having More Violent Sex Than Ever?

The numbers seem to back this up, as well as the questionable details of some of the cases. But first, let’s take a look at some stats:

In 2017 alone, 139 deaths in the UK were found to be due to domestic violence, many from strangulation. One report found that a woman is strangled by her partner every two weeks in the UK. It is important to note that strangulation—often known as as “choking”—is a “frequent feature in non-fatal domestic assault” and “one of the highest markers for future homicide,” according to domestic violence experts.

Some countries like Australia and the U.S. have created stricter policies regarding the issue, especially after finding that strangulation and domestic abuse makes someone “700 times more likely to be a homicide victim,” according to Sonya Barlow, a training specialist at the U.S. Army Military Police School’s Behavioral Sciences Education and Training Division.

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So…is porn mimicking crime, or inspiring it?

What’s all this got to do with the UK cases? Well, strangulation seems to be one of the latest fads in more aggressive sexual encounters both in porn and in real life.

Sometimes called “breath play,” strangling is not only an increasingly advertised sex practice for Millenials, but is involved in two-thirds of the deaths “We Can’t Consent to This” has found. And while in other countries strangulation is more strictly penalized, in the UK, perpetrators can be charged under battery, the weakest assault charge.

Mackenzie shares her view of these cases:

“Perpetrators are getting lighter sentences by claiming the crime was a tragic result of out-of-control BDSM, and they’re now starting to get ideas. It’s such an appealing defense for potential murderers. Claiming the death was a result of a sex game gone wrong is worth a try because the cost to the killer is nil, while the cost to the woman and her family—who then have to listen to endless speculation about her sex life—is shattering.”

There are many stories of women detailing their experiences of these experiences. One case that received a ton of attention was the of Natalie Connolly. The 26-year-old was found dead in her house with 40 separate injuries, a fractured eye socket, and facial wounds. Her boyfriend, John Broadhurst pleaded guilty to manslaughter, saying her death had been accidental but the result of consensual “rough sex.”

Related: 10 Differences Between Healthy Sex And The Sex Porn Portrays

Now, don’t mistake what we’re saying, here. Of course, not everyone who tries risky consensual sex acts is a killer or has murderous ambitions. Even still, the global trend of incorporating these risky practices in common sexual encounters has couples convinced that something potentially dangerous is normal and fun—even despite these many questionable murder cases.

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But how does something so risky end up so normalized?

The story of 16-year-old Hannah Pearson shows the spotlight on an underlying issue that has pushed these risky and dangerous practices into the mainstream. You guessed it: pornography.

The tragic story starts with Hannah meeting James, a 24-year-old friend of her boyfriend’s, one night in their small British town. The three drank heavily that evening, and Hannah ended up at James’ house where he gave her even more alcohol that rendered her unconscious. Court papers, reports The Telegraph, reveal that she was likely passed out by the time James carried her to his bed, climbed on top of her, and started strangling her in the pursuit of a “sexual thrill.”

Hannah’s killer reported her death as being accidental and a result of him being “carried away” after being inspired by something he had seen “on a film” on porn.

Related: How Porn Is More Violently Dehumanizing And Sexually Objectifying To Women Than Ever

Hannah’s case is only a singular example that shows how the porn industry tries to sell it both ways, with devastating results. On the one hand, it argues that even videos that normalize risky and violent sex acts are just exaggerated fantasy and harmless entertainment—but on the other, it often argues that its content encourages and inspires couples to “spice up” their sex lives.

Women’s Health and Elite Daily are just some examples of platforms directed at Millennial women, encouraging the practice of “safely choking” to “kickstart kinky sex.”

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Porn—harmless entertainment or a twisted guidebook?

Choking/strangling isn’t an isolated example of how porn has seeped into the mainstream, though it definitely is one of the most dangerous and concerning.

A report from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 20 years ago, 16% of women had tried anal sex, as compared to double that number today, at 32%. When the numbers anal sex on camera by performers has risen to over 60%, it calls into question the impact porn has not just in entertainment, but in bedrooms around the world.

In fact, there have already been reports of porn-inspired anal injuries, like the case of a 16-year-old Australian girl who will use a colostomy bag for the rest of her life due to a group of teens who wanted to reenact group anal sex. Not to mention the countless stories women and girls share regarding unexpected violence they’ve experienced, with both sexes starting to believe “this must be how people have sex now,” thanks to porn’s normalizing acts like strangling.

Related: The Porn Industry Isn’t Just Selling Sex, It’s Selling Violent Abuse

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that performers often reveal the difficulties they experience on set with degrading scenes, often performing painful sex acts they never originally agreed to. Here’s an example from former performer, Jessica Mendes:

“He was beating me, banging my head on his wooden floor to where my face and head was bleeding. He choked me to the point of passing out twice… It looks like the performers are having a blast…almost all go to their shoots high on something, whether it’s painkillers, weed, ecstasy, or cocaine.”

Wow. So if performers are having painful or degrading sex that can even require substance abuse to get through, why are these sex acts so normalized and even expected in everyday sexual encounters?

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The reality of what the porn industry sells

This is the reality of what the porn industry sells. Porn companies may say it’s harmless entertainment, but meanwhile, it’s absolutely marketing itself into peoples’ real relationships and inviting them to be curious about or try things that are deadly.

Related: Can You Tell The Difference Between #MeToo Stories And Porn Plot Lines?

It’s time society wakes up to the damaging and dangerous ideas porn sells about ideal sexual encounters and takes responsibility for educating its consumers on how to kill or seriously injure their partners. Enough is enough.

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