Massachusetts legislators heard testimony about peoples’ encounters
with porn at a hearing on March 16, 1992. This account appears in In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (p.399-401).
Testimony from Northampton Resident
I live in Northampton and I do educational slide shows about pornography and violence against women. I want to talk first about my own victimization, and the role of pornography in that, and then briefly about my educational work.
My brother started sexually abusing me when I was 4 or 5, and pornography was part of the abuse. To be specific, he would describe a certain pose that he’d seen in Playboy or Penthouse, and he’d make me do it. Often he would compare my body to the pictures in a very detailed and graphic and humiliating way. He also became obsessed with a feature they have in Hustler. He told me it was called The Beaver Hunt, and men could send in photographs of their wives and girlfriends. And indeed Hustler still has The Beaver Hunt every month… He thought this was the greatest thing, that he could be a pornographer too, so he made me pose for The Beaver Hunt and took pictures.
Women who are sexually abused as children live through a certain kind of hell. We’re forced, we’re manipulated through shame and guilt, our bodies are used, we’re humiliated and silenced. And then we’re told we wanted this. Especially we’re told by the pornographers. We’re told that we were active participants somehow…
When I was 15, my boyfriend tried to kill me. He came to my house after we’d broken up and he tried to strangle me. I had bruises up and down my neck the next day. I’m alive because I fought for my life. He told me later that he wanted to kill me, that he brought a pair of scissors so he could stab out my eyes, that he wanted to have sex with my dead body, and then he was going to chop up my body and smear my blood on the walls. And he said he’d seen it. At 15, I wasn’t sure what he meant. Later, when I became a feminist, I came to learn that there are snuff films, where a woman is really killed for sexual pleasure. Now even in Playboy and Penthouse and Hustler, there are plenty of examples of death as an erotic experience, so I didn’t know specifically what it was that Dave saw–I didn’t ask. The thing I hate most about this story is that if he had succeeded, my 10-year-old sister would have been the next one home.
Now, during my slide show, I’ve heard enough stories to last a lifetime. An Asian-American woman who was raped, not once but twice. And both of her assailants told her about pornography they’d seen of Asian women. And lots of stories from incest survivors and battered women of being shown pornography and then forced to perform what was in it. The story of a teenage girl raped by one of her classmates, one of his friends made a video and then they had a party where they showed the video. I’ve also met a woman who was forced as a child to participate in making a snuff film, where anther little girl was really murdered, and it was filmed. Now this happened in Massachusetts. This is happening in America. The murder of real women is being sold as sexual entertainment, and it could have been me.
Exposure to Pornography as a Cause of Child Sexual Victimization
The incest started at the age of eight. I did not understand any of it
and did not feel that it was right. My dad would try to convince me
that it was ok. He would find magazines, articles or pictures that
would show fathers and daughters or mothers, brothers and sisters
having sexual intercourse. (Mostly fathers and daughters.) He would say
that if it was published in magazines that it had to be all right
because magazines could not publish lies… He would say, “See it’s
okay to do because it’s published in magazines…”
Testimony in Minneapolis: Porn, Child Molestation, Coerced Stripping (explicit language)
When I was three, I was sexually abused by a fourteen-year-old neighbor boy…
One of the kids pushed me inside and shut the door. Then this boy
grabbed me and he pulled down my shorts and sexually abused me. In
short, he finger-fucked me and he made me masturbate him. I was really
terrified. I thought I was in hell, and I was also in a lot of pain. I
started crying really hard and he finally let me go, but I was told
that if I told anyone, I wouldn’t be believed, that it was all my fault
and that I would be punished. He also told me that he would hurt me
again if I told anyone.
His sister told me that this game he had learned from his dirty books. I knew that he had these dirty books because I had seen him with them.
Lizzy Borden: We don’t shoot “all the lovey-dovey stuff that there’s not a big market for” (explicit language)
[Interviewer:] So what is this scene going to have in it that’s controversial?
[Borden:] A girl being kidnapped, being forced to have sex against her will, being degraded. Being called “a cunt, a whore, a slut, a piece of shit.” Then being butchered at the end, and spit on…
Robert Jensen: When Examining Complex Social Phenomena, Scientific Method Has Limits; Listen to the Stories of the Victims (explicit language)
Ms. X, a Native American woman, described how she was raped by two white men who made reference to a pornographic video game called “Custer’s Revenge” in which a white Army officer scores points by raping Indian women:
They held me down and as one was running the tip of his knife across my face and throat he said, “Do you want to play Custer’s Last Stand? It’s great. You lose but you don’t care, do you? You like a little pain, don’t you, squaw?… The only good Indian is a dead Indian… A squaw out alone deserves to be raped.”
Now on sale at Capital Video: Porn of the Dead
“Porn of the Dead is a full hard core adult zombie movie featuring an all death metal soundtrack.” The website Diabolik adds that the movie “Includes songs by Impaled, Deicide, Exmortem, Decapitated, Gorerotted and Blood Red Thrown.”