Open letter to the Labour Party about porn

Apr 2, 2015 by


Labour MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, recently commented that he watches porn as he is a “man of the world”. Here are some questions Child’s Eye Line UK would like to put to the Labour Party.

The NSPCC has recently released figures that one in five children think viewing pornography is normal and 10% of 12 year olds are addicted to pornography. Do you think that recent comments by Simon Danczuk MP that he views porn and it is “part of modern life” go some way towards normalizing pornography and making it more likely for children to be exposed to it?

Given that The Children’s Commissioner’s report 2013 (“Basically, porn is everywhere”) concludes that “exposure to sexualised imagery is damaging to children’s psychological and sexual development, their relationships and their self esteem and makes risky sexual behaviour more likely” and that children are “more accepting of violence against women if they are exposed to sexualised imagery,” should the Labour Party not be more concerned about the normalization of porn in our society?

88% of the most popular pornography involves violence against women and girls (Bridges A.J. et al 2010). With 85,000 rapes and 450,000 sexual assaults reported in the UK every year (Home Office data), and 1 in 3 women experiencing sexual or domestic violence (the biggest demographic for domestic violence is teenage girls) is pornography something a public servant should shrug off as “part of modern life”?

Research presented to the Lords and Commons Group for the Protection of Children and Families by Professor Kevin Browne (professor of forensic psychology at the University of Nottingham) found that young people are more accepting of violence against women and girls if they are exposed to sexually objectified images of women. “The first step in accepting and perpetrating violence against women is to view women as dehumanized sex objects.” (Browne, 2014). Should the Labour Party just accept pornography as “part of modern life”?

The NSPCC reported a 65% increase in 2014 from boys calling ChildLine who are traumatised by the violent porn they have viewed online. Claire Lilley, policy advisor at the NSPCC, speaking about the rise in child on child sexual violence, said: “In some cases older children are attacking younger ones and in other cases it’s sexual violence within a teenage relationship. We know that easy access to sexual material is warping young people’s views of what is ‘normal’ or acceptable behaviour.” The NSPCC reports that 75% of teenage girls experience emotional violence in their relationships, 25% experience actual physical violence and 1 in 4 young people in the UK think that violence in a relationship is “sometimes appropriate” (it never is). In the light of this data, should the Labour party not take the issue of pornography more seriously?

Online pornography is well known for its strong links to misogyny, sexual objectification and often serves as an actual record of harm and exploitation. There is no way of knowing if the women and girls featured in porn are consenting, trafficked or are being drugged or abused. Is the Labour Party concerned about the real human beings in the pornography itself, as well as the consumers, or is it prepared to only quote the muliti-billion pound porn industry’s carefully chosen spokespeople? Should the Labour Party’s concerns about the porn industry and its links to global sexual exploitation, trafficking and prostitution be referenced whenever the Labour Party discusses the subject of pornography?

For more details about this story or Child’s Eye Line UK, please contact:
Twitter: @ChildEyesUK

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