DISPATCHES: VISIBLE HARM?
PORNOGRAPHY: WOMEN, VIOLENCE AND CIVIL LIBERTIES is a controversial new book of research which claims that extensive use of pornographic material can lead to rape, attacks on women and child abuse.The book's findings are based on surveys and legal evidence in Britain, Canada and the United States and lead editor Dr. Catherine Itzin states: "Pornography has a function in creating wrong ideas about what women are, what women want and what you can do to them."
`Adult' magazines, explicit sex videos, pirated porn videos from abroad and the Dutch porn programme RED HOT DUTCH on satellite TV are available in the UK. Officially, there is no link between these and increasing rape and domestic violence. The Obscene Publications Act is vague and open to misinterpretation. Though the use of 15 year olds is forbidden, porn producers dress older gilrls as children suggesting that they are legitimate sex targets. A Canadian rape case judge has connected sexually explicit material with the crime as causing `visible harm'. The judgement is expected to influence foreign judiciaries. Porn, especially that which dehumanises and humiliates women, particularly influences sexually inexperienced men making rape without guilt easier. Dr Catherine Itzen, editor of a report `Pornography: women, violence and civil liberties' says porn stimulates violence towards women and she presses for the recognition that it can cause invisible harm'. The publisher of Penthouse, academics, police and porn model Wendy Lindsay comment.