(Some may find the following post to be graphic and/or disturbing. Reader discretion advised.)
For some, it’s unimaginable that anyone’s actual assault would end up online, viewed by thousands as an arousing or entertaining video clip.
But that’s the story of so many people around the world, including a girl named Emma. Years ago, when she was 14, her sexual assault was recorded, and that video may still be out there.
“Me and my friend were not even in high school yet. It was the summer before freshman year, and we hung out with the wrong crowd. We became friends with a 17 year old named “Greg,” whose dad was a cop and let us come over and drink and get high. We felt okay doing that there, given a cop allowed it.
One night we went over and three guys were there along with our new friend Greg. The other two were big guys in their twenties, and they got us very drunk. Greg’s dad stepped in and said if we leave, he would make sure we got arrested because he did not want to get hurt or in trouble. So we were forced to stay the night at his house.
Greg’s cop dad went to bed in the next room, and the walls were thin, mind you. After a while, the guys came into my friend’s and my room. Greg attacked me and the other guy, Sean, attacked my friend. The third guy was filming it all happen. I played dead while he raped me, essentially. I knew I couldn’t run and I knew I couldn’t fight. I waited the whole thing out, and so did she. Greg attempted to come back for a second time, but he was too drunk. When they all passed out close to sunrise, I grabbed her and we took off.
I remember longing for a shower more than anything. I felt so dirty and ashamed, and I also took the blame for going out drinking when I wasn’t supposed to. I felt like it was my fault it all happened, but I now realize I am not to blame. I have been diagnosed with PTSD from the incident, and my husband has been very supportive. Neither of us watch porn. Seeing filmed sexual acts bothers me. It’s a trigger. When we watch a movie with that he usually makes a point to look away and stare at me until it is over. I can’t explain to you how amazing that feels.
I fight because I fear for my future children with the way the world is going. I hope to have a career one day to use my story to help others. And to help children who were abused. I give you full permission to use my story if it helps in anyway. I am very passionate for this cause. Child pornography is an epidemic.
Sad thing is… That video could still be out there. That bothers me the most, honestly.”
Incidents like this happen way more often than we’d like to believe. Now, they can even be live broadcast directly online.
When an Ohio teenager witnessed her 17-year-old friend being raped a few weeks ago, according to officials, she not only neglected to help the victim, she pointed her phone at the assault and streamed a live video of it using the Periscope app.
Marina Alexeevna Lonina, 18, is accused of live-streaming video while an acquaintance, Raymond Boyd Gates, 29, allegedly pinned the victim down and raped her at a home in Columbus.
“The victim and the two defendants were socializing and at some point in the evening it is alleged that Gates forced sexual intercourse with the victim and Lonina started Periscoping (live-streaming in real time) the sexual assault,” the prosecutor’s statement said.
Lonina had apparently hoped that live-streaming the attack would help to stop it, according to the New York Times, but that she became enthralled by positive feedback online.
“She got caught up in the likes,” the prosecutor said.
This video was actually given encouraging feedback by the online audience.
And in London, a group rape was live-streamed in late March while thousands watched.
This is all pretty disturbing.
While it’s impossible to say for certain why these things are happening, it could be that the rising popularity of hardcore genres of porn are skewing our generation’s perception of what’s okay. The popularity of internet porn in our generation has created a porn culture in our society. For example, a brand new national survey was just published that asked participants what type of images they considered to be “wrong” in porn. Among the 1,188 people surveyed, 46% of those who use porn replied that images of “sexual acts that may be forced or painful” are not “wrong.” Yes, you read that correctly. Almost half of porn users think pain and abuse in pornography is fine. Even further, only 50% of teens and young adults surveyed (ages 13 to 25) think it is wrong to view these images of violent porn.
The lines are blurring between what’s sexy and what’s downright harmful in today’s porn. One has to look no further than any major porn site to see how porn has gotten increasingly violent and demeaning. These popular porn categories include terms like “facial abuse,” “teen crying,” and “extreme brutal gang bang.” What happens when those actors aren’t actually acting at all? What if some of those videos online are exactly what’s been described above: real life. Real rape. Real assault. These are all very serious crimes, and yet, there are entire sites dedicated to fetishizing the pain and suffering of other people. Some of it, undoubtedly, is real. This is not healthy.
Studies show that the more someone watches porn, over time and frequent use, the more they’re likely to gravitate towards hardcore genres to achieve the same levels of chemical rush of excitement. These effects on the brain are what cause so many porn users to think that pain in porn is okay—their brains have been changed by the porn itself to find pain arousing to watch. The pornography industry is well aware of these facts. This is why they are constantly making more porn, stranger porn, and harder porn. They understand porn’s addictive effects on the brain and use it to their advantage.
This has having a massive negative effect on our generation, and we’re seeing the effects firsthand. We get messages from teens all over the world who are struggling with pornography, and just recently, we received a message that shows how violence in porn conditions the brain to crave sexual violence. Check out this Facebook message we recently received from a 17-year-old male:
With the normalization of pain porn and rape fantasy, it’s possible that our generation is being conditioned to mimic what is popular/acceptable online. If there’s anything to be learned from these real life stories, it’s that this probably happens more than we’d like to believe.
What YOU Can Do
We can’t allow rape or sexual assault to become common. SHARE this article to take a stand against porn and all the harmful attitudes it promotes.