Our opponents chant ‘consenting adults’ like a magic formula to ward off all criticism, yet time and again we see pornographers making a mockery of the idea of informed consent, let alone informed consent from people unpressured by money troubles. Members of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women heard this 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.359-360).
Testimony of Sarah Schultz
My name is Sarah Schultz, and I’m a psychiatric nurse, and the only organization I’ve been involved in lately is Students Against Violence at Cal. State, Northridge. I work in a hospital where I had an instance happen that really made the whole issue of what I was supporting at school come into my life.
I overheard half of a phone conversation with one of the young housekeepers, and she was telling her friend, “I know it’s pornography, is what they’re trying to do.” And it was like I didn’t want to be in tune to what was going on, so I tried to turn off the conversation, and afterwards I asked her if she was all right. And she proceeded to tell me her friend, who’s on welfare, has three children, saw an ad in the newspaper. It said, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” And she brought it in and showed it to me, and it’s very typical in all the newspapers: Modeling, $300 a day. And she felt she could get money for her children for Christmas for presents. She didn’t have money. And so this young lady that I know was trying to talk her out of it, and it went on. I would see her every once in a while… And each time she began telling me the persuasion that was going on, and I could understand how easily a young woman could slip into this.
She began by going for the interview, and they made pictures of her, and paid her the money and told her they were going to make her a star. And it seemed all–everything seemed all right. So she proceeded to leave, and they said, by the way, we may have some lingerie ads you could do for us. We need you, just take your clothes off. I want to see if there’s any marks on your body. She did that, put her clothes on and left. And all along this young woman that I know is trying to talk her out of it.
Well, it got to the point where they started at one location. Then they began to tell her she could become a star on cable television. They took her to another location that–all I know is Melrose near La Cienaga, looks like a library, and this young lady I know [the housekeeper] was taken along one evening, [the pornographers were] hoping to recruit her. But she didn’t get involved in it. She described it as looking like a library. It was run by an Asian man, a black man, and a white man, and an Indian man. And it was very sophisticated as far as [being] computerized and how the doors are very secure. Each room had names on ’em. It was sadomasochistic things that were going on.
She came home and when the woman I know did not get involved, the young woman who was involved in all of this was given “punishment” for not having the friend come along. She was then, began to be threatened. The young woman came home with welts on her arms and the young woman I know kept saying, “they’re beating you.” And she’s saying, “No, no, it’s all right. It’s all right.” She pulled her shirt up quickly and saw there’s welts all over her back. There’s track marks on her arm, and then she confessed to her that she was told there would be harm to her children if she didn’t cooperate. And it’s to the point of immobilization.
This young lady, I consoled her as much as I could. I talked with a police psychologist that I work with, and she said that the police wouldn’t get involved because it is pornography. I felt totally helpless. I contacted Women Against Violence Against Women, and got the phone number, gave it to this young woman, and they’ve been supportive of her.
Testimony in Minneapolis: Likeness of TV Star “Rhoda” Misappropriated by Pornographers; Aspiring Actresses Vulnerable to Being Enticed into Porn
As a young dancer-actress-singer in New York City, I experienced first-hand (and have heard countless accounts from many other women in these fields and modeling) continual attempts to convince, that pornography, photography, films, et cetera were a stepping stone to stardom. Young people and children are particularly vulnerable to this kind of enticement in New York City and Los Angeles as they are show business centers. A common statement was, and may still be, “Marilyn Monroe did that calendar and look what she became.”
Interview with Ex-Porn Star Traci Lords: Abused as a Child; High on the Set; Power, Not Arousal; Bad Pay
I was looking for a job [in Hollywood], and I answered this ad for models. And the boyfriend, my mother’s ex-boyfriend, actually took me there and convinced me that, Hey, Marilyn Monroe started out doing nudes. This is the way it works.
Testimony in Minneapolis: Prostitutes and Porn (explicit language)
I was the main woman of a pimp who filmed sexual acts almost every night in our home. The dope man, who supplied us with cocaine for free in exchange for these arranged orgies, was a really freaky man who would do anything. They arranged to have women, who I assumed were forced to be there, have sex with dogs and filmed those acts. There were stacks of films all over the house, which my pimp used to blackmail people with.
The Science Behind Pornography Addiction
[Performers in the sex industry] have high rates of substance abuse, typically alcohol and cocaine, depression, borderline personality disorder which is a particularly serious disorder and dissociative identity disorder which used to be called multiple personality disorder. The experience I find most common among the performers is that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work.