Minneapolis city officials heard testimony about peoples’ encounters with porn, those
who consume porn and those who produce it at a hearing of the Minneapolis Government Operations Committee on
December 13, 1983. This account appears in In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (p.152-153).
Some of the testimony below describes sexually explicit events that may make some people uncomfortable.
Testimony of Donna Dunn, Women’s Shelter, Incorporated (Rochester, MN)
Women’s Shelter is a home for battered women and their children. Women’s Shelter has operated as a shelter for five years. In that time over 800 women have stayed with us. An additional 500 women contact the shelter each year in need of assistance, advocacy, and/or support…
While doing our intake procedure and in the ongoing close contact with shelter advocates, pornography is frequently stated as a hobby of the abuser. We would like to give you three examples of how pornography encouraged the ongoing beatings and rape of women we know.
Number one, one woman known to us related that her spouse always had a number of pornographic magazines around the house. The final episode that resulted in ending the marriage was his acting out a scene from one of the magazines. She was forcibly stripped, bound and gagged. And with help from her husband, she was raped by a German Shepherd. His second wife became known to us when she sought out support because of the magazines and bondage equipment she discovered in their home.
Number two, another woman spoke of her husband’s obsession with tying women up. She said he had rape and bondage magazines all over the house. She discovered two suitcases full of Barbie dolls with ropes tied on their arms and legs and with tape across their mouths. She added, “He used to tie me up and he tried those things on me.” But she also stated that she had not recognized this as sexual abuse. This statement from her reinforces our…contention that she did not have the freedom to identify sexual assault because she felt no ownership of her own body.
Number three, Penthouse and Hustler were always a part of the literature in the third woman’s home. Occasionally her spouse would add Cheri, Oui, Swedish Erotica to the collection. His favorite form of abuse was bondage. He enjoyed playing what he called a game of whipping and slavery. She knows that what he did to her was directly related to articles about bondage and sex lays which he read. He wanted to involve a second woman, her friend, in the scenarios. Her refusal to comply with his demands resulted in her being violently anally assaulted…