Five female porn performers have died in the last three months.
Mental health issues have always been a big problem in the porn world, but the recent spate of deaths of such young porn performers raises serious questions for how women are treated in the industry.
Steve McKeown, a psychoanalyst, founder of MindFixers and owner of The McKeown Clinic, told UNILAD:
Nearly 90 per cent of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means for survival and also experienced post traumatic stress disorder at rates of nearly 70 per cent equivalent to veterans of combat war.
We spoke with Dr. Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, and Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality, about why this is happening, and how we can stop it.
Gail goes on to reveal a harrowing fact, gathered from her interviews with porn performers, that one of the first things directors do when a new woman come to the set is contravene one of the rules put in place on her contract, as a way of breaking her.
Dr Gail Dine, Founder and President of Culture Reframed, told UNILAD:
What I do know, because I’ve been doing this work for many years and worked with many women who are in the porn industry and have exited it, is that given the violence that happens to their bodies, given the diseases they get, they come away with PTSD because they’re raped regularly on the porn set.
Just because they’ve signed a contract doesn’t mean they’re consenting to what goes on at the porn set. A lot of them are not prepared for what’s going to happen to them. A lot of them are young, they think they’re going to be a ‘pornstar’ like Jenna Jameson was. They’re not prepared for the violence.
It was such a cliché. At the office Christmas party of the national TV show where I worked, I emerged from the loo out the back to find one of my bosses straddling the doorway, blocking my way and waiting to pounce.
I was shocked, not so much by his sexual harassment (that was de rigueur in the newsroom cultures of the day, the 1990s), as by the extent of his male entitlement and misogyny. At the time I was still breastfeeding my baby daughter, who was next door at the party with her dad and my colleagues.
This week’s revelations that TV’s darling of nearly 20 years, Don Burke of Burke’s Backyard fame, was allegedly a “psychotic bully”, a “misogynist” and a “sexual predator” who indecently assaulted, sexually harassed and bullied a string of female employees comes as no surprise to women in Australian media. According to last year’s Women in Media Report, nearly half of us have been abused, intimidated or harassed in our working lives.
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