July 27, 2013
Watching Porn Then Raping Women
There is an argument to be made when questioning exposure to pornography and the likelihood this exposure causes an individual to commit rape. The answer is not as simple as yes and no. Diana Russell and Anthony D’Amato offer two very different opinions on the matter of pornography leading to rape. Russell’s main argument centers on the violence in pornography, while D’Amato discusses the decreased occurrences of rape due to the accessibility of pornography on the internet. Though both articles provide evidence to substantiate their claims, Russell and D’Amato present a very black and white argument with their own biases included; whereas, my opinion derives from the history of pornography and rape I know, from these articles, and from my own experiences. Perhaps my opinion can be considered the gray area of this controversial topic because it centers on a person’s propensity to rape. Russell’s Argument:
The article Diana E.H. Russell was written in 1998. It begins with the notion that pornography itself is rape. Therefore, porn cannot just have a correlation with rape, porn is actually the cause of it. Russell claimed that people only pay attention to the victims of rape and not the actors and actresses of a pornographic movie. One of her sources she used in her article is testimony from the Commission hearings in Los Angeles. They provide for some compelling evidence that pornography itself can be violent. Directors and producers would make girls do things that they would not want to. Most of Russell’s argument centers on pornography which depicts questionable sexual consent, with very little mention of nonviolent pornography.
Russell mentions the male propensity to rape by viewing pornography. Her source to prove her claim was from a study done in 1980, in which 25%-30% of male college student admitted that they would rape a woman if they would not be caught. The study included college students from the United States and Canada. In another study mentioned, which was conducted by Jacqueline Goodchilds and Gail Zellmann, male and female high school students were asked when it was acceptable for a person to commit rape. The students were given certain circumstances to choose from and asked to rank these situations based on the justification. Seventy-nine percent came back with at least one of the nice situations, claiming force would be justifiable at certain times. The result of this study found that “both male and female adolescents see rape of females by males as an ‘ever-present and sometimes acceptable possibility’ in women’s lives.”
When making the argument that pornography causes rape, Russell uses the tobacco industry as an example. The tobacco companies say that not all smokers will develop cancer yet some nonsmokers will
. Therefore, saying smoking causes cancer is incorrect. We should view it as a correlation not as a causal relationship that some smokers die of cancer. Russell argues that there is a similar though process among people who argue that pornography does not cause rape. She lists two definition for the word cause- simple causation and multiple causation. This is where her article is a bit confusing. Simple causation seems to mean that there is only one reason for why a certain event ended the way it did. Russell says that rape and pornography cannot be placed in this category of causation. However, it would fall under multiple causation, which means there are a variety of possible causes for a certain event.
There is a section that specifically educates on the role of pornography in predisposing some males to rape. This section is divided up into four parts, the first being that pornography predisposes by pairing of sexually arousing stimuli with portrayals of rape. Meaning that males can learn how to rape a woman. And this does not just include rape, it includes all types of violence against women. Russell...
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