Members of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women heard testimony about peoples’ encounters
with porn at a hearing on April 22, 1985. This account appears in In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (p.353-354).
Testimony of Elana Bowman
I am a member of the WAVAW [Women Against Violence Against Women] Coordinating Committee [and] the National Lawyer’s Guild. I want to tell you about three specific cases from my practice and from volunteer work at the Domestic Violence Project of the Los Angeles Free Clinic.
Currently, one of my divorce clients is a battered woman and is attempting to deny her husband the legal right to visit their children, since she recently discovered that he had molested both of the children. During their marriage, his pattern of abuse was to treat her especially kindly for several weeks, taking her to dinner and paying her compliments, then turning on her, picking a fight, and beating her. Then he would resume months of indifference and coolness. During one period of this very nice treatment she discovered hidden behind his bureau a number of Spanish-language pornography magazines. One was of bondage and whippings, and it was entitled, Nasty Wife. A few days later she found a knife and a rope under their bed. She had never seen a rope in their house before. The following day her husband began calling her a nasty wife for the first time in their marriage, and telling her that she needed to be punished for all the bad things she did to him. That night she took her children and moved to a battered women’s shelter and started a divorce proceeding.
In the second case, a psychiatrist brought one of his patients, a women in her sixties, to his home for several therapy sessions. During one of these sessions, he showed her a series of pornography slides telling her she was sexually inhibited, and this treatment was beneficial. He then raped her, and held her in his home for the entire night, and raped her throughout the night while pornographic slides were automatically shown in the same room. He released her in the morning, saying the experience was part of her treatment.
In the third case, I was working up the papers for a restraining order at the Domestic Violence Project, when a woman began telling me that her husband confessed to her that he had raped his daughter from his first marriage, and that he served time for it. She asked him how he could do that to his own blood. He answered that it was all right, that the little girl hadn’t minded it, and that he had enjoyed it enough for both of them. He had seen the pictures of it, and when girls did it enough, they liked it, and that they really did like it or they wouldn’t do it in the pictures he had seen. We talked more about that, and I asked her if she thought that the porn he read was any cause of what he had done. She said, “Of course,” and he had those magazines now, and she had had enough. She had a little girl too, and she was doing all she could to stop him from getting to her daughter.
Abusive Relationships and Porn: The Similarities (explicit language)
Many of the characteristics of abusive relationships (derogatory names,
violence, domination, lack of respect, lack of consent) are found in
today’s porn. Here are some of the movies (PDF) sold by Capital Video…
Punishment Porn: “Whether-She-Wants-It-Or-Not” (explicit)
The concept of Traumatic Bonding
has also been developed to explain the dynamics of domestic violence
relationships. Essentially, strong emotional connections develop
between the victim and the perpetrator during the abusive relationship.
These emotional ties develop due to the imbalance of power between the
batterer and the victim and because the treatment is intermittently
good and bad. In terms of the power imbalance, as the abuser gains more
power, the abused individual feels worse about him- or herself, is less
able to protect him- or herself, and is less competent. The abused
person therefore becomes increasingly dependent on the abuser. The
second key factor in traumatic bonding is the intermittent and
unpredictable abuse. While this may sound counterintuitive, the abuse
is offset by an increase in positive behaviors such as attention,
gifts, and promises. The abused individual also feels relief that the
abuse has ended. Thus, there is intermittent reinforcement for the
behavior, which is difficult to extinguish and serves instead to
strengthen the bond between the abuser and the individual being abused.
Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein Wants You to Believe Porn Is Harmless
“Our legal system gives the image of children’s eroticism no existence
as cultural artifact, sociological phenomenon, historical reality. By
taking it completely out of context our society strips it of true
meaning; demonizes it; and ultimately leaves it to those who are
confident in their biases and invested in everyone’s proud ignorance.
What hubris, as Homer would have said, to think we know everything
there is to know about such an important subject…”
“For now, start remembering the word Sadomasophobia. Connolly coined it
to mean, like homophobia, a fear and hatred of a sexual orientation not
one’s own. One day, divorced parents warring over child custody will be
prevented from using an ex-mate’s S/M practices as evidence of parental
Now on Sale at Amazing.net (explicit language)
David and Jennifer have a marriage on the rocks. In desperation they seek out a marriage counselor who proposes a revolutionary new method of therapy. David and Jennifer have free reign to cheat on each other for the next 24 hours. Their sexual inhibitions are set free and their fantasies fulfilled as they visit The Dark Side.
Exposure to Pornography as a Cause of Child Sexual Victimization
A pedophile called Stewart describes how he masked victims’ pain when he photographed young girls:
couldn’t show fear or doubt in the pictures. They had to show happiness
or love… To get that look, I’d give them something, from tricycles to
stereos. It depended on what they wanted. You have to be able to
express [evoke] excitement in the pictures…