Action against pornography must be taken to help end the “epidemic” of male violence against women and girls, according to a multi-party group of lawmakers.
A substantial proportion of mainstream pornography features physically aggressive behavior by men toward women, says a report by the group. Lawmakers say there is ample evidence that pornography consumption fuels sexual violence and influences viewers’ behavior, or “sexual scripts”, as well as perpetuating racist stereotypes.
The report on the pornography trade by the all-party parliamentary group on commercial sexual exploitation calls on the government to change the law to tackle the harm caused by adult material. He says the upcoming online safety bill, which will require pornography sites to ensure their users are not minors, does not address the availability of harmful pornographic content to adults.
“What has become apparent during the course of this investigation is that we cannot end the epidemic of male violence against women and girls without confronting and combating the contributory role that pornography plays in fueling sexual objectification and sexual violence,” the report reads. .
It adds that illegal pornographic content, such as films featuring child sexual abuse and rape, has been detected on some of the UK’s most popular adult websites.
“The illegality that characterizes the online sphere of the pornography trade is typified by the finding that popular pornography sites publish videos uploaded by members of the public without verifying that everyone in the video is an adult or that everyone in the video has given consent. to be loaded, ”he says.
The dominant online pornography provider in the UK is Mindgeek, which has over 100 websites and production companies. It owns Pornhub, which was visited by 15 million UK adults – 50% of UK men and 16% of UK women with internet access – in September 2020 alone, according to the watchdog of communications, Ofcom.
The MPs’ report cites several studies of violence in pornographic content, including an analysis of heterosexual scenes on two major websites which found that 45% of scenes on Pornhub and 35% of scenes on Xvideos contained at least one act of physical aggression.
The Doctor. Michael Flood, a researcher on men, masculinities and violence prevention at the Queensland University of Technology, told the MPs’ inquiry: “There is much evidence that exposure to pornography is shaping the sex lives of young people and adults alike in harmful and violent ways. . ”
The report recommends a range of legal and regulatory measures, including:
Making pornography regulation consistent across all online platforms, amid criticism that the Online Safety Bill has different approaches for sites hosting user-generated pornography compared to other pornography sites.
Requiring age verifications to access adult material online.
Have online platforms verify that each individual featured in pornographic content on their platform is an adult and has given permission for the content to be posted.
A comprehensive government review of pornography and obscenity laws.
The online safety law, expected to become law this year, will require websites to proactively tackle illegal content such as child sexual abuse material, extreme pornography and revenge pornography.
A government spokesperson said: “No child should be exposed to pornography online, which is why the online safety law will force any online platform that hosts them to implement robust measures, such as age verification, to prevent access from minors”.
MindGeek declined to comment on the lawmakers’ report. Last week, the company announced a partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation, which monitors instances of child sexual abuse material around the world, to provide a blueprint for how the adult content industry can tackle the problem online.
David Cooke, Director of Partnerships, Trust and Security at MindGeek, said, “The safety of those who use our platforms is our top priority and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of Internet security.”