Trigger warning: sexual abuse.
A new video shows men presented with a range of sexual scenarios and having to determine whether they are from pornography or a #MeToo story.
“Be Frank” is a seven-minute video project featuring men discussing the recent #MeToo campaign and ways men can join the fight against sexual violence.
The men are visibly uncomfortable as they read aloud certain scenarios, including the following (*trigger warning*):
“I came home late from a party. My step-dad was waiting in the kitchen. He was mad at me for being late and wanted to punish me. He told me to be quiet and nobody in the house would hear me. He had sex with me in the kitchen.”
“I was sleeping in my dorm room alone. Two guys walked in and started touching me. I was confused. I didn’t say anything. They both had sex with me.”
The men struggle to distinguish porn scripts from real sexual assault situations. One observes, ”That feels like a sexual assault.” Another speculates that the situation before him is a #MeToo story. At the conclusion of the video, it is revealed that all of the scenarios were taken from pornography.
This does not come as a surprise. Mainstream pornography is dominated by acts of violence against women. Common sex acts in pornography, like fellatio induced gagging, heterosexual anal sex and multiple penetrations, are not enjoyable for many women, but are degrading, painful and humiliating. An analysis of the most rented pornographic films found that 88% of scenes included physical aggression, with perpetrators being primarily men and targets overwhelmingly women.
What does it mean when pornography, the primary form of sexual education for young people, is indistinguishable from real life sexual abuse of women? What does it mean for women and girls? What does it mean for men and boys watching this content regularly, and from childhood? What is the impact on sexuality, intimate relationships and attitudes towards women when men and boys are socialised to find enjoyment in the abuse of women?
Defenders of pornography assert that pornography is about freedom. But whose freedom?
Read more about the abuse and exploitation of women in the porn industry.
Porn performers recount physical violence, STIs and trauma in the industry.
Growing Up in Pornland: Girls Have Had It with Porn Conditioned Boys, by Melinda Tankard Reist
Domestic violence is so common in the region girls believe it is normal.
Domestic violence disproportionately affects women in Australia, and for women living in the Kimberley, this reality is far starker than for the average Western Australian. In fact, women in the Kimberly are four times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence than the average Western Australian women, and reporting rates are increasing at twice the state average.
Welfare workers have raised concerns about the prevalence and normalisation of domestic violence in regional Western Australia where girls as young as twelve are being assaulted by their boyfriends according to a report by Emily Jane Smith of ABC Kimberley.
Alarmingly, more and more adolescent girls are having violence perpetrated against them. And because domestic violence is so rampant in their communities, girls believe it is “normal” to be beaten by a boyfriend.
Among those raising concerns is Victoria Baird. In her capacity as the regional coordinator of Save The Children in the East Kimberly, Baird said that domestic violence affected most of the young people with whom she came into contact.
"We have 12, 13, 14-year-olds who are already in violent relationships with their teenage partners," revealed Baird in a shocking statement.
A report to this effect was given by Detective Sergeant Tania MacKenzie of East Kimberley in March 2017.
"We're seeing situations where young girls [as young as 14] are being repeatedly assaulted, dragged along the street and assaulted again and again, which is such a concern that at that young age they're getting used to that level of violence," said Detective Sergeant MacKenzie.
Ms Baird explained that children often experience domestic violence growing up and so domestic violence becomes normalised and tolerated.
"Domestic violence is so normalised across the region. Most of these kids have […] experienced it growing up, it's not an unusual part of a relationship,'' said Ms Baird.
"It's something that affects them in their relationship in their family that they've grown up and now as they move forward into adulthood, it's repeating that cycle."
And the cycle is vicious.
Welfare workers say that attacks such as a recent incident, which saw a 16-year-old girl allegedly slashed across the face by her boyfriend, are not uncommon.
In fact, Detective Sergeant MacKenzie said, "I've seen women that have had their ankles smashed with rocks, so they can't walk away with anyone else, and we've seen repeated attacks with all sorts of weapons: belt buckles, rocks, hammers, wheel braces, boiling water, just a myriad of weapons that people use and yes, you get some pretty horrific injuries from those kind of weapons." (Park 2017).
While reporting rates are on the rise, terror continues to plague survivors of domestic violence, particularly adolescent survivours, who often are too afraid to speak out for fear of backlash or retribution from the perpetrator or the perpetrator’s family.
This cycle of violence must be broken, and for this to occur, Mr Hill insists that young people must be engaged and taught about healthy relationships.
"We need to break that cycle, but to break the cycle you need begin with the young generation," he said.
Mr Hill suggested that services for young men, in particular, were needed to change the pervasive and entrenched culture of violence in the Kimberly region.
"We need to teach them from a young age that it's not an acceptable way to treat your partner," he said.
For family and domestic violence support services:
1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491
Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
Please join Collective Shout in our commitment to protecting girls from sexual exploitation and violence
About the author: Violeta Buljubasic detests pornography and anything that resembles it. Cognisant of its devastating consequences, she believes that porn and the raunch culture from which it stems are symptoms of a ubiquitous ill that has removed sex and sexuality from their original design. Moved by the work of Collective Shout, Fight the New Drug, and NCOSE, Violeta hopes to be part of the solution to this insidious problem.
Last month, American discussion site Reddit banned an online community that glorified and incited violence against women. The subreddit is believed to have had up to 40,000 members or “incels”, which stands for ‘involuntarily celibate’.
The following is an excerpt from ‘”I Hate Feminists!” December 6, 1989, and its Aftermath’.
‘On December 6, 1989, at around 5 p.m., as the women engineers-to-be at the École
Polytechnique were studying or writing their end of term examinations, Marc Lépine, a twenty-five- year- old man dressed in army fatigues, went up to the second floor of the school and entered a classroom occupied by about sixty students, female and male. He separated the class into two groups and told the men to leave. When he was alone with the women students, he proclaimed: “I hate feminists!” He fired. Marc Lépine left fourteen women dead and fourteen people wounded.
‘The Montreal police department had given the media a summary of his motives as expressed in the suicide note found on his body; with the note was a list of women and men he had been planning to murder, women who were pioneers in their fields (including the first woman firefighter and the first woman police officer) [and] well known feminists.
A recent article offering men advice about how to proposition a woman wearing headphones – encouraging them to block her path to prevent her from ignoring them – rightfully provoked a major backlash. But the backlash also brought a certain phenomenon to wider public attention – the fact that women sometimes wear headphones as a way to avoid unwanted approaches in public.
The public conversation on violence against women tends to focus on sexual assault and domestic abuse. We talk less about the routine intrusions women experience from men in their everyday lives, even though this is the most common form of sexual violence.
My recent research looked at how women navigate interruptions, intrusions, and harassment from unknown men in public. What was most surprising was how all 50 of the women I interviewed significantly underestimated the amount of work they were putting in to avoid intrusions by men in the street, and the impact this had on them.
They recognised that they were making certain decisions about routes home, or where to sit on public transport. They spoke about using sunglasses or headphones in order to create a shield – a way to give the impression that they didn’t hear that man making a sexual comment, or didn’t see that other man touching himself as he walked behind them.
Many categorised their clothes in relation to safety. Scarves were seen as safe – handy for covering your chest. The colour red was, for some, seen as unsafe – too bright, too obvious, too visible. Some even adopted particular facial expressions, trying to balance “looking tough” against the desire to not be told to “cheer up” by a man they’d never met before.
The women I spoke to knew they were doing some of these things but other behaviours were less conscious. They hadn’t really reflected on how much energy went into avoiding unwanted contact below the surface and how their freedom was affected.
Image: The FederalistRead more
Content Warning: This piece contains graphic descriptions of mainstream pornography.
We need to talk about porn. We need to have a huge, comprehensive, massive undertaking of a conversation on the complex, contentious, divisive thing that is porn. What is not needed is relegating porn to something between children and their guardians, or something for teachers to deal with. It affects all of us, whether we like it or not. We all have a responsiblity to be part of this conversation, even if we are not using it. This thing is huge, and soundbites and one liners will never put a tidy lid on this sprawling mess.
Here are some search terms which I came across during a brief scroll around Pornhub.Read more
Professor Gail Dines has spoken out about the United Airlines controversy wherein passenger Dr Dao was brutally assaulted. Professor Dines asks where is the same outrage for women suffering violence in pornography?Read more
Over the past few years we have been shocked by the dramatic rise in domestic violence. We have seen a State Government taskforce established and generous funding pledged from the Federal Government in order to put an end to domestic and family violence. Despite this the problem grows and the pornography industry thrives. Once only freely available in the online space, pornography has now has successfully transitioned into the mainstream. Just look at the Fifty Shades Franchise.Read more
Researchers have found a direct link between seeing girls as sex objects and showing aggression towards them in teenage boys.
Boys who agreed strongly with statements such as "girls are only good for their body", "it's OK to treat girls as objects" or "girls are only used for pleasure" were more likely to be aggressive towards girls – but only if they were not members of a gang, according to a study published in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law.Read more
When it comes to pornography, there is no shortage of opinions. We've compiled responses to some of the more common arguments from defenders of the porn industry.