Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More porn = less rape?

I'm aware of the long-running debate over whether pornography is causally linked to violence against women; I was not familiar with this perspective on what that causal link might be, as set out by Steve Chapman in today's Chicago Tribune:

One theory about the causes of rape . . . has been thoroughly demolished. Among religious conservatives and left-wing feminists, it's an article of faith that pornography leads inexorably to sexual abuse of women and children. But while hard-core raunch has proliferated, sexual assaults have not. Could it be that pornography prevents rape?

In fact, our changing attitudes about erotica are part of a generally more open and honest approach to matters involving sex. And one vital product of that openness has been a willingness to confront questions that were often avoided in the past. Today, kids grow up being taught that "no means no," rapists can't be excused because their victims were dressed provocatively, and adults are never allowed to touch children in certain ways.

Those themes have hardly eradicated this scourge, but they have worked to discourage predators and embolden potential victims. Maybe the main lesson from the decline of sexual assault is an old one: Knowledge is power.



Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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