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Julian Brazier on the dangers of extreme pornography

Conservative MP for Canterbury Julian Brazier alerts the Commons to the dangers of extreme pornography during his advocacy of a bill that would have increased Parliament's ability to restrict access to very violent films.

"I urge those in the House who feel—and I know there are some—that although material may be tasteless, adults should be allowed to watch whatever they like in a free country, to read the report published by the Ministry of Justice last September. Its title is interesting in itself: “The evidence of harm to adults”—it focused exclusively on adults—“relating to exposure to extreme pornographic material: a rapid evidence assessment.” The survey was based on 124 independent studies from around the world. I shall quote some of the findings. It says that:

“the research reviewed in this report provides evidence of the negative psychological, attitudinal and behavioural effects on adults who access this material.”

The material, incidentally, was hardcore, but not necessarily violent pornography. The report continues:

“These include (for men): physiological arousal…leading to beliefs that women enjoy or desire rape…; attitudinal effects; rape myth acceptance; pro-rape attitudes; self-reported likelihood to use force or to rape; behavioural effects such as: aggression in the laboratory after exposure; using pornographic materials to prepare for sexual offences…; actual real life rape and sexual aggression”.

There will always be those who claim that there can be a correlation without a cause—that this whole phenomenon can be explained away by saying that those who are prone to rape have a greater predisposition to view pornographic material. As someone who worked for a number of years as a statistician, I can tell the House that it is possible to pursue that sort of chicken and egg argument until the cows come home. We do not accept it, and never have accepted it, in areas such as simulated child pornography, where child porn is made with actresses who are actually adults but appear to be children. We do not accept it in the case of racist literature. Interestingly, the Ministry of Justice report addresses this point head on, and comments:

“Research testing theoretical models has identified a mutually–reinforcing relationship between extreme pornography as a causal factor in instigating sexual aggression, and a predisposition to sexual aggression creating an interest in extreme pornographic material.”"

Debating time ran out so there is very little chance of Mr Brazier's proposals making progress in this session.

Hansard record here.

Julian Brazier explained his campaign against 'video nasties' in a post for the Cornerstone blog.


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