The Sexist

Anti-Porn Scholar: Watching Porn Gets Women Raped

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Last month, Wheelock College University of Pennsylvania professor Mary Anne Layden hit Capitol Hill to explain how pornography "robs men of their masculinity, of their psychological health, of their self-respect, of their greatness . . . of themselves." Now, Layden is back to explain the effects of pornography use among women: It gets them raped.

From a Washington Times story on the new trend of pornography "addiction" among women:

"The more pornography women use, the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex," said Mary Anne Layden, professor of sociology and women's studies at Wheelock College in Boston. "The earlier the male starts using pornography, the more likely they are to be the perpetrators of non-consensual sex."

The story never mentions that rape thing again. It doesn't offer up any evidence or statistics in its defense. (In fact, it never uses the word "rape"—just the skeezy "non-consensual sex"). In a response, psychologist David J. Ley attempts to figure this all out:

This is a staggering statement, and a frightening insight into the rebirth of the "blame the victim" argument against rape. . . So a female victim testifying her assailant is going to be asked about that time she downloaded a dirty movie to watch? And that has what to do with the immoral, narcissistic, selfish and angry acts of the man who violated her rights? The only way this has any kernel of truth is that highly sexual women are more likely to report use of pornography. Highly sexual women are also likely to report greater numbers of partners, and somewhat higher risk of an incident of sexual abuse or rape, possibly as a result of situations of date rape. But it's not the pornography, and it's not even the women's sexuality. It's the act of person who violates the rights of another.

Layden's assertion is both victim-blaming and perpetrator-excusing. Pretending that porn is responsible for creating rape victims and perpetrators—that it robs men of "themselves" and robs women of consent—shifts the blame for sexual assault away from rapists (the few) and on to every man and woman who watches porn (the many). The implication is that the perpetrator and the victim deserve each other.

And since almost every man admits to looking at porn—and only some women admit to the same—the burden for avoiding "bad" behavior falls largely onto women. Notice how, in Layden's statement, women are faulted for the quantity of porn they consume, whereas men are faulted for the age at which they begin watching porn. Presumably, a woman can control the amount of porn she consumes, but a man can't control the fact that he was initially exposed to pornography at a young age.

Under Layden's model, all men are potential rapists—but some women are good enough to resist making themselves into rape victims.

Comments

  1. #1

    A. Never heard of Wheelock College. Is that DC or something.

    B. "Conflating variables". I'm guessing women who drive without seat belts and blackout while drinking and take other risks are more likely to be forced into non consensual sex. Ergo, not wearing a seatbelt increases your chance of being raped.

  2. #2

    Hey Layden,
    You know what got me raped? A rapist deciding to rape me. Porn viewing habits (or high heels, "provocative" clothing, walking alone at night, being a bitch, etc. ad infinitum) had fuck all to do with it.

  3. #3

    The vital disconnect that allows someone to commit the crime is not dependent upon their consumption of porn, because we live in a rape culture. Rape is on TV all day long (literally every Tuesday, it's 15 hours of back to back rape-as-entertainment on the USA Network because they do marathons of Law & Order SVU). Porn doesn't teach rapists how to rape, or encourage it, at best it gives them idealized fantasy material.

  4. #4

    But... I watch porn. And look at it. Sometime I just get the urging to see other people naked doing sexual things. And yet, all my sex has been consensual. Furthermore, I go through waves where I look at MASSIVE amounts of porn. And yet, I have never been raped.
    Porn shouldn't be the only contact with sex someone has. That can be damaging I think. But I don't really see how my epic journeys into the depths of internet porn will end with me raped. ...a computer virus perhaps, but not rape. Especially given that when I consume porn I become MORE likely to be consensual since I get all imagining and worked up. Ugh. This makes no sense and makes me angry.

  5. #5

    Wired Mag Article from way back in 2004 ---
    Internet Porn: Worse Than Crack?
    Ryan Singel 11.19.04
    Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday. Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee spared no superlative in their description of the negative effects of pornography.

    Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today." "The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors," Layden said. "To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it -- it's a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind." Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever, Layden said.

  6. #6

    If I watch a lot of Kung Fu movies will I be more likely to fuck up some ninjas?

  7. #7

    @kza,
    Not if you can't see them coming...

  8. #8

    The story never mentions that rape thing again. It doesn’t offer up any evidence or statistics in its defense.

    Gosh. I wonder why?

  9. #9

    FYI, GLAA's policy statement on defending adult entertainment can be found here:
    http://tinyurl.com/glaa2010adult

    A column of mine on free speech and the hazards of censorship is at:
    http://tinyurl.com/rjrfreespeech

    - Rick Rosendall
    Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

  10. #10

    but pornographic images stay in the brain forever, Layden said.

    Spend enough time meditating and you realize MOST if not all images stay in the brain. Which is why I don't watch the Saw series or any other torture flicks.

  11. #11

    Feminism has been so one-sided for quite some time now!

  12. #12

    All those damn Mickey D's commercials made me so gawdaymn fat?

    LMAO

    I guess rap music made me kill some ninjas and smoke weed, huh?

    But she may have a point cause I watched a barbecue cookoff show and promptly went out and bought $100 bucks worth of meat and threw it on the grill...hmm hmmmm, that shit was GOOD too

    Video is the DEVIL...LMAO

  13. #13

    I've watched lots of porn, and never had the desire to rape anyone. Game. Set. Match.

  14. #14

    I watched cartoons and once got an anvil dropped on my head. Fuckin' cartoon!

  15. #15

    Great article...but are you sure that you're not confusing Mary Ann Layden with Gail Dines somewhat??

    I believe that Dines is the professor at Wheelock College; I didn't know that Layden was there, too.

    Other than that caveat...great expose of yet another case of antiporn "feminist" lunacy and stupidity.

    Anthony

  16. #16

    @Anthony Kennerson Apologies! Washington Times credited her as a Wheelock College prof; I've corrected the post to reflect that Layden is actually at the University of Pennsylvania.

  17. #17

    This article gives no background on the statements they've made about Layden's remarks.

    Just another article bashing someone who is deconstructing the porn industry.

    It's totally normal to watch racist and sexist porn. Violence and sex go together doncha know?

    Oh and those pesky feminists, always questioning. How dare they?

    Ugh.

  18. #18

    I was molested (forcibly) at 12. The perpetrator was 14 and hadn't ever watched porn. My husband and I enjoy having consensual sex (sometimes while watching porn of women doing things I don't want to do myself). Ergo.... Porn prevents rape!

  19. #19

    I am sure that porn has an affect on sex crimes, but it is also true there is a growing number of women who have become sex addicts. A good example of this is found in a new book called, "FREE SEX. EXPENSIVE THERAPY," in which the author exposes the truth about the subject from a female perspective and also addresses the media frenzy behind sex addiction.

  20. #20

    It’s not really surprising why there’s a significant increase in the number of women who are abused because of porn. Many are influence to commit sexual violence due to such disgusting films. Since the accessibility of watching porn inside the internet is really easy. I guess it’s just a matter of educating the masses about such issue, to have a control.

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