What’s porn got to do with rape?

Is adult, non-violent porn the primary source of sexual violence? It’s an argument that’s too simplistic, says Dr Eve.

I am not a recreational consumer of pornography. I prefer watching opera.

It seems to excite me more. I watch porn for clinical purposes. As a clinical responsibility to further understand my client’s sexuality, I watch what they watch, be they children or adults. I also keep in touch with porn trends.

For example when I learned that www.livejasmine.com is the single most popular adult site in the world, a web com site which gets around 32 million visitors a month or almost 2.5% of all internet use, well I had to go peek...

I am however a defender of human rights, especially sexual health and reproductive rights.

On 14 March 2013 I set out well prepared to give evidence before ICASA on whether or not TopTV should be permitted channels to air adult content.

Since the time of TopTV’s last submission, February 2012,  I had worked conscientiously gathering  scientific facts to back my cause: that indeed the viewing of consensual non-violent adult content  within a protected television pin controlled environment will not contribute towards violence, rape or harm to women and children.

Well in advance the public has a right to request submission of evidence so I knew who I was up against: the usual forces that hold the higher ground of virtue and morality in our country, namely any organisation with the words “family” and “religious” in them.

For hour after hour I absorbed the “evidence” of people, people passionate about their cause as I am about mine. It’s a pity all of our passion cannot be bottled and sold and the proceeds used for a better cause like training police officers in how to treat human beings as humans.

By the time the last opposition speaker got up to present her case I admit to being frazzled. I mean there is just so much talk on the evils of sex one can tolerate, so much incorrect interpretation of facts, so much skewing of evidence. 

I understood their attempt to prove that showing porn to adults will lead all women to be degraded, men to become rapists, addicted to porn forever to point of utter destruction of society. Mrs Britz, from WoomaNetRadio, pushed me over the edge.

She presented in her capacity as a rape survivor and opposer of porn and director of a “green ” family centre healing people wounded by porn, sex  and rape (what?!). I listened to her story of her rape and I bristled. I am a survivor of sexual violence so I bristle many times a day, listening to other men and women’s stories of their violations. As all survivors, I have learnt how to manage my moments of bristles and move on.

But I could not move on...

Mrs Britz constructed her emotive case on comparison of rape with porn. She contended had anyone been a witness to her rape it would have appeared consensual sex as she did not protest, fight back or scream, having a young child in the house. I got that. But when she said all porn looks consensual but is actually rape, I lost it.

I quivered and shook. She continued for many minutes thereafter along the same vein of constructed religious and family purity morality. This is so highly destructive to women and deeply insulting to men. In her attempt to fight for women she was burying them. In her portrayal of them as helpless, victims of sex crazy men – all caused by pornography.

I called my team together and told them about my compelling need to disclose myself as a survivor of sexual violence. I did not want our purpose to be distracted by my need. I did not want attention to be diverted and turned into a sensational Dr Eve was Raped story. I believed I needed to counter Mrs Britz’s story with another story of sexual violence.

Each story is so utterly unique.  I needed the commissioners of Icasa to hear another story. Just like the effect of porn on men: each story of rape is so unique. I learned a lot from Ogi Ogas and his book “A Billion wicked thoughts”.

And so it was that I made a one sentence addition to my evidence. I disclosed that I am a victim of sexual violence. 11 years ago it was “sexual violence” as I was “lucky” enough not to be penetrated by a penis.

By today’s new definition, I guess I was raped. Unlike Mrs Britz, I do not believe my perpetrator violated me due to his consumption of porn. I admittedly did not ask him about his porn habits. It felt violent, coming from a man who was powerless and saw my powerlessness as a source of his own power. There was an atmosphere of fear, threat, violence not sex.

I refuse to accept that adult non-violent porn is the source of sexual violence. It’s too simplistic an argument.

I feel concerned about the use of porn, very concerned. I feel concerned that in every child’s hands there is a sexual education happening. Because parents, religious leaders and schools are not sexually educating kids their mobiles are.

Which means porn is their primary educator. Porn is there to arouse. Children need to know how to manage their arousal. Children need to learn about love and kindness, respect towards women and men and how sexuality can be utter bliss when conducted responsibly. And have severe consequences when done impulsively and drunkenly.

I thank you for support, confusion, anger and attention given to my disclosure. Use this bit of sensation to talk to your kids about sex- I will feel it has been worth going through this disclosure.

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