In the late Seventies, America became shocked and outraged by the rape, mutilation, and murder of over a dozen young, beautiful girls. The man who committed these murders, Ted Bundy, was later apprehended and executed. During his detention in various penitentiaries, he was mentally probed and prodded by psychologist and psychoanalysts hoping to discover the root of his violent actions and sexual frustrations. Many theories arose in attempts to explain the motivational factors behind his murderous escapades. However, the strongest and most feasible of these theories came not from the psychologists, but from the man himself, "as a teenager, my buddies and I would all sneak around and watch porn. As I grew older, I became more and more interested and involved in it, (pornography) became and obsession. I got so involved in it, I wanted to incorporate (porn) into my life, but I couldn't behave like that and maintain the success I had worked so hard for. I generated an alter-ego to fulfill by fantasies under-cover. Pornography was a means of unlocking the evil I had buried inside myself" (Leidholdt 47). Is it possible that pornography is acting as the key to unlocking the evil in more unstable minds?
According to Edward Donnerstein, a leading researcher in the pornography field, "the relationship between sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression and . . . callous attitudes towards women is mush stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and cancer" (Itzin 22). After considering the increase in rape and molestation, sexual harassment, and other sex crimes over the last few decades, and also the corresponding increase of business in the pornography industry, the link between violence and pornography needs considerable study and examination. Once the evidence you will encounter in this paper is evaluated and quantified, it will be hard not to come away with the realization that habitual use of pornographic material promotes unrealistic and unattainable desires in men that can lead to violent behavior toward women.
In order to properly discuss pornography, and be able to link it to violence, we must first come to a basic and agreeable understanding of what the word pornography means. The term pornography originates from two Greek words, porn, which means harlot, and graphein, which means to write (Webster's 286). My belief is that the describe, in literature, the sexual escapades of women of pornography has grown to include any and all obscene literature and pictures. At the present date, the term is basically a blanket which covers all types of material such as explicit literature, photography, films, and video tapes with varying degrees of sexual content.
Now that pornography has been defined in a fashion mirroring its content, it is now possible to touch upon the more complex ways a community, as a society, views or defines it. Some have said it is impossible for a group of individuals to form a concrete opinion as to what pornography means. A U.S. Supreme Court judge is quoted as saying, "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it" (Itzin 20). This statement can be heard at community meetings in every state, city, and county across the nation. Community standards are hazy due to the fact that when asked what pornography is to them, most individuals cannot express or explain in words what pornography is, therefore creating confusion among themselves.
Communities are left somewhat helpless in this matter since the federal courts passed legislation to keep pornography available to adults. The courts assess that to ban or censor the material would be infringing on the public's First Amendment Right (Carol 28). Maureen O'Brien quotes critics of a congressionally terminated bill, the pornography Victim's Compensation Act, as saying "That if it had passed, it would have had severely chilling effects on the First Amendment,...