Nov 102008
 

Let’s start out with a definition from WordNet

(n) factoid (something resembling a fact; unverified (often invented) information that is given credibility because it appeared in print)

Now for some ‘actual’ factoids-

Rape has nothing to do with sex.  Rape is all about power.

Pornography leads to rape.

I know y’all have heard both of these factoids repeatedly.  The vast majority of you, no doubt, believe at least one of them to be true, and have likely uttered them yourselves.  Have you ever stopped to question where these concepts came from?  What research backs them up?  I have.  For years.

However, it was only recently (as my daughter progresses into puberty) that I went looking for that evidence in order to better prepare her for a safe passage through life.  After all, as a father I want to do everything possible to protect my daughter from such a horrible experience.  But, as an anarchist I know that the government is ill-equipped to help me reach that goal.  A better understanding of the causes behind this most heinous of crimes is necessary, after all, to finding ways to prevent (or at least) reduce its occurrence.

I found a lot of websites, books and articles that asserted both of the factoids above, though none had much in the way of evidence.  I also found numerous sources on both sides of the ‘pornography leads to rape’ argument.  But neither side had much weight behind them either.

Then I found Pornography, Rape, and the Internet (PDF) by Todd D. Kendall, Assistant Professor of Economics at Clemson University.  Professor Kendall contrasted the rise of the internet between 1993 and 2008with reported crime statistics during the same time frame.  His results-

I find that internet access appears to be a substitute for rape; in particular, the results suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in internet access is associated with a decline in reported rape victimization of around 7.3%. Given the limitations in my measure of pornography consumption, plus the usual concerns regarding omitted variables, functional form assumptions, and other confounding factors, such results by themselves may be unconvincing. Thus, I support this claim by showing that the internet has no apparent substitution effect on any of 25 other measured crimes, with the exception of the only other well-defined sex crime, prostitution. Moreover, I show that the effect on rape is concentrated among states with the highest male-to-female ratios, and that by age, the effect on rape is concentrated among teenage men, who are the prime consumers of pornography, and for whom the internet induced the largest change in availability. Considered as a whole, these results present a more compelling empirical case.

I’m not an economist, a sociologist, or an anthropologist.  And I’ve never taken a statistics class.  But I did read through the 40-plus page paper linked to above and it seems to hold water.  So, if rape is (at least sometimes) about sex, and pornography can lead to a lessening of violent sexual acts, then where does that leave us as a society?  And why is the government ignoring the reality of the situation and pushing things in the opposite direction? Maybe because they don’t want society at large to learn that the reduction in sex crimes has more to do with the ready availability of cheap (or free) pornography than with ever-increasing police budgets and power.  Further evidence that the powers that be care more about maintaining their power than the good of the common man (or woman).

  3 Responses to “Reconsidering The Relationship Between Sex, Power, Rape & Porn”

  1. Yes, PORN can trigger SEX craving, which may lead in USING OWN POWER or sometimes lead to RAPE.

  2. While rape is obviously about sex, and being able to watch your fantasies instead of playing them out (think Grand Theft Auto and video games)… Rape is also, from what I’ve read, about power.

    Truthfully it’d be a lot easier to get the money for a cheap prostitute than to rape a woman.

  3. Sperm wars also has an interesting mention of rape.. in relation to reproduction.

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