Tree of Finches

Little birds chirping about big things

  • Daily Chirping

    April 2008
    S M T W T F S
        May »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Chirps

  • Blog Stats

    • 8,127 hits

Fact Dump – Pornography and the Sex Industry

Posted by A birch tree on April 14, 2008

[Updated on 25May08 – Prostitution: Working Environment and Prostitution: Effects on Prostitutes]

Ok, so I lied. One more post about pornography and the sex industry.

I figured, since I’d been gathering so many links, lots of facts weren’t finding their way into my posts, and the ones that were, well, they were getting scattered amongst several posts.

So I’m going to take a moment to compile a bunch of research on the topic of the sex industry. Hopefully someone might find this helpful, in some context. Information can be a powerful tool.

Also, I need a bit of help locating a quotation I can no longer find. I read somewhere that at least one group of researchers was so successful in demonstrating the harmful effects of pornography that many univerisy ethics boards will no longer approve studies that expose subjects to pornography. I really need a source for that claim before I start trying to use it, however, so if anyone has heard the quotation I’m talking about, I’d really appreciate a link to it!

Effects of the Sex Industry on Women Employed Therein:

Prostitution: Entry Factors

  • More than 90% of prostitutes suffered childhood sexual abuse.1
  • At least two-thirds of prostitutes began before their 16th birthday; the average age of entry into prostitution in the USA is 14.1 2
  • 96% of child prostitutes surveyed were runaways, and said they had no other way to make money.1
  • Two thirds of prostitutes were sexually abused as children, with the average age of first victimization being 10 years old. More than 65% of those were sexually abused by either natural, step-, or foster fathers. 90% of prostitutes surveyed reported that they lost their virginity through sexual assault. 70% cited those events as influencing their entry into sex work.1 2
  • Approximately 400,000 women are trafficked across international borders for the purposes of forced sexual exploitation yearly. 50,000 of those are brought into the USA. 4 5 6

Prostitution: Working Environment

  • 82% of prostitutes reported being physically assaulted while on the job. 83% were threatened with a weapon.1 2 3
  • 68% reported being raped while working. In 27% of rape cases, there were multiple assailants (4 being the average).1 2 3
  • Two-thirds of prostitutes report being beaten by pimps. Half were kidnapped by pimps.1
  • Hunter, 1994, found that prostitutes in Portland, Oregon were being raped approximately once a week.2
  • 84% reported being homeless.1 3
  • 80% stated that customers used pornography and photographs to demonstrate which activities they wanted the prostitutes to perform.1 2 3
  • At least 90% of prostitution is controlled by pimps. Pimps routinely employ rape, physical abuse, and torture to maintain control of prostitutes, and many hire “catchers”; thugs tasked with patrolling the edges of the pimp’s territory to apprehend prostitutes who attempt to escape.2
  • [Update: 25May08]The workplace homicide rate for prostitutes as of 2004 was 201 per 100,000. Compare to the “Most Dangerous Profession” as of May 2008: Mining, with an occupational death rate of only 30.1 per 100,000.16 17

Prostitution: Effects on Prostitutes

  • 75% of prostitutes have attempted suicide.1
  • 15% of all suicide victims are prostitutes.1
  • Baldwin, 1992, reported that women and girls involved in prostitution had a mortality rate forty (40) times higher than the Canadian national average.2
  • As many as 84% of prostitutes suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 2
  • Of those prostitutes suffering from PTSD, the average severity rating was higher than that of Vietnam War veterans who requested treatment. 3
  • 88% of prostitutes in the USA report wanting to leave prostitution. 3
  • [Update: 25May08] The average age of death for a woman in prostitution is 34 years old.16

Some quotations from the studies:

Any distinction between prostitution of children and prostitution of adults is arbitrary, and obscures this lengthy history of trauma. The 15-year-old in prostitution eventually turns 18, but she has not suddenly made a new vocational choice. She simply continues to be exploited by customers and pimps.1

A number of authors (e.g. Barry, 1995; Hoigard and Finstad, 1992; Leidholdt, 1993; Ross et al., 1990; Vanwesenbeeck, 1994) have described the psychological defenses which are necessitated by the experience of prostitution, and which frequently persist: splitting off certain kinds of awareness and memories, disembodiment, dissociation, amnesia, hiding one’s real self (often until the nonprostituted self begins to blur), depersonalization, denial.1

Traffickers sell the women into the prostitution network for $4000 – 5000 for short-term contracted work. The women are then forced to pay off the fee for their “owners” by free “servicing” of up to 500 men, in 12-plus hour shifts, seven days a week, before earning a low fee for sexual services. 5


Pornography: Entry Factors

  • Entry factors into pornography are essentially identical to prostitution. 7
  • Pornographers often use fraudulent job advertisements for “models” or “actresses” and then are coerced into sexual acts at their “interview”. 7

Pornography: Effects on Actresses and Working Environment

  • The PTSD rates affecting porn actresses are similar to the rates affecting prostitutes. Further, prostitutes who were forced by their customers or pimps to perform in pornography had significantly more PTSD symptoms than prostitutes who did not have pornography made of them. 7
  • The use of condoms in the American porn industry is less than 20%. 7
  • The average pay for a single porn scene, which includes oral, anal, and vaginal penetration, is $500, which must be stretched between periods of no work. Actresses in amature productions are rarely paid at all. 7

Pornography: Effects on Viewers

  • Donnerstein, 1983, discovered that after only 10 minutes of exposure to agressive pornography, males were significantly more likely to report the believe that an average of 25% of the women they know enjoy being raped.8
  • Malamuth and Check, 1981, showed that exposure to sexually violent movies increased male’s acceptance of violence against women. 8
  • “Zillmann and Bryant found that the male subjects who were exposed to the massive amounts of pornography considered rape a less serious crime than they did before they were exposed to it; they thought that prison sentences for rape should be shorter; and they perceived sexual aggression and abuse as causing less suffering for the victims, even in the case of an adult male having sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl (1984, p. 132). They concluded that “heavy exposure to common non-violent pornography trivialized rape as a criminal offense” (1984, p. 117).” 8
  • In the same study, males in the massive exposure group were more likely to agree with statements such as “a woman doesn’t mean ‘no’ until she slaps you” and “if they are old enough to bleed, they are old enough to butcher”.8 15
  • Donnerstein and Linz, 1985, conducted a study which found that subjects exposed to sexually violent material judged rape victims to be more worthless, her injury as less severe, and assigned more bame to her for being raped, than the subjects in the control groups. Malamuth reproduced these results in 1984 and 19868 13
  • Donnersein, 1983, showed that while only 25%-30% of male students admitted they might rape a woman if they could get away with it increased to 57% after exposure to sexually violent images depicting women enjoying rape.9
  • Malamuth and Check, 1985, found a positive correlation between the amount of sexually explicit material a group of male students were exposed to and their beliefs that women enjoy forced sex. 9
  • 67% of the males who admitted that they had wanted to rape a woman reported reading pornographic magazines, compared to only 19% of those who said that they had never wanted to rape a woman.9
  • 53% of incarcerated child molestors reported intentionally using pornography to prepare for their crimes. 9
  • Regular users of pornography are less likely to convict for a rape, and less likely to give a harsh sentence to a rapist if in fact convicted. Conversely, individuals who do not use pornography are more likely to convict an accused rapist.10 11
  • Pornographic images create chemically encoded messages on the brain that can remain through adulthood. Human memory is formed in part by the release of the chemical epinephrine which, upon emotional arousal, leaves behind an imprint on the brain. 12

Some quotations from the studies and surveys:

“Girls have a shelf life of nine months to two years, unless you are different. Like me, I am Asian, so it helps. Men stay forever. It is different for a man. If he can perform, he can stay in. There are guys that have been in the business ten or fifteen years.”7

“The relationship between particularly sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression…is much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.” 9

“Regular users of pornography are more likely to think of women as socially non-discriminating, as hysterically euphoric in response to just about any sexual or pseudosexual stimulation, and as eager to accommodate seemingly any and every sexual request.” -Zillman and Bryant, 1984. 10

“The puzzling refrain I’d begun hearing from porn outsiders: “There are plenty of people with histories of sexual abuse who didn’t grow up to be porn stars.” That’s missing the point: The ones who did become sex workers were abused. All of them, that’s my guess.”14



Some studies, in detail:

Malamuth (1978)
The experiment: male subjects were divided into 3 groups

Group One: read aggressive pornography depicting a rape

Group Two: read non-aggressive pornography depicting consensual sex

Group Three: read neutral National Geographic articles

Afterwards, all subjects were insulted by a female assistant and then allowed to ‘retaliate’ against her with electric shocks.

However, half of the group was told they could be as aggressive as they wished (disinhibited group); the other half were given a message to make them reluctant to use aggression (inhibited group).

Results:

Inhibited group members were most reluctant to retaliate.

In the disinhibited group, the most shocks were given by those exposed to the aggressive pornography.15

Silbert and Pines, 1981
The experiment: Researchers interviewed 200 San Francisco prostitutes. The interviews touched on history of sexual abuse, including rape and child sexual abuse.

The results:

178 of 200 prostitutes reported child sexual abuse.

193 of 200 prostitutes reported being raped as adults.

In other words, only 7 of these 200 prostitutes had never been raped or molested.

Without being asked about porn, 24% of the rape survivors spontaneously added that their attacker had specifically cited his porn use during the crime.

This was also true of 22% of the child sexual abuse survivors. 15

Zillmann and Bryant (1982)

The question: what are the consequences of continued exposure to pornography on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes towards women?

The experiment:

Part One:

80 male and 80 female participants are divided into four subgroups

Massive Exposure Group: saw 36 short, non-violent porn films (about 5 hours of film) over six weeks.
Intermediate Exposure Group: saw 18 short, non-violent porn films and 18 regular films over six weeks.
No Exposure Group: saw 36 regular films.
Control Group: saw no films, not brought in till the second phase.

Part Two:

Participants read about a rape case and were asked to recommend a the length of the prison sentence for the rapist.

They were also asked to indicate their support for the women’s rights movement on a 0 to 100 scale.

Finally, they were asked to estimate the popularity of various sexual acts among the general population.

Results:

In recommending a prison term for a rapist, folks in the Massive Exposure Group chose, on average, prison terms that were half as long as terms recommended by the people in the No Exposure Group. (A five-year sentence versus a ten-year sentence)

When asked to rate their support for women’s rights, men and women in the Massive Exposure Group indicated about half as much support as participants in the No Exposure Group. (38% versus 76%)

Finally, men and women in the Massive Exposure Group rated anal sex, group sex, and bestiality at least twice as common as did the No Exposure Group. (For example, the Massive Exposure Group estimated that 30% of Americans had group sex, while the No Exposure Group estimated only 11% did. The Massive Exposure Group also estimated that 12% of Americans were having sex with animals.)

Conclusion: Zillmann and Bryant conclude that massive exposure to pornography made rape appear a more trivial offense, which seemed also to parallel a drop in support for women’s rights. Also, intensive porn-viewing led to beliefs that unusual sexual acts are far more common than they really are.15



Bibliography
1: ICASA Study

2: Prostitution in 5 Countries

3: Prostitution Tables and Charts

4: Trafficking Women for Sexual Exploitation

5: Globalized Female Slavery

6: International Trafficking of Women Into the United States (CIA)

7: Things to Know About the Sex Industry and the Women in it (Scroll down for primary sources)

8: The Role of Pornography in Undermining Some Males’ Internal Inhibitions Against Acting Out the Desire to Rape

9: Further Empirical Findings on the Causative Role of Pornography in Rape

10: Zillman, D., & Bryant, J. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In N. M. Malamuth, & E. Donnerstein (Eds), Pornography and Sexual Aggression (pp. 115-142). Orlando, FL: Academic Press

11: Garcia, L.T. (1986). Exposures to pornography and attitude about women and rape: A correlative study. AG 22 (1853) 382-383.

12: McGaugh, J.L. (1983, February). Preserving the presence of the past. American Psychologist, 161

13: Sexual Offenders and Pornography: A Causal Connection?

14: Ian Glitter Excerpt

15: Studies on Pornography and Rape

16: Mortality in a Long Term Open Cohort of Prostitute Women

17: NYT: Miners Found to Have Highest Death Rate On the Job

Supplemental Resources
Reclaiming Their Lives and Breaking Free: An Afrocentric Approach to Recovery From Prostitution
Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
A Comparison of Pimps and Batterers
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Anti-Porn Web Sites
Should Pornography be Banned as a Threat to Women?
Just Harmless Fun? Understanding the Impact of Pornography

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Fact Dump – Pornography and the Sex Industry”

  1. visitingmarvel said

    Here is one reference about the ethical problems of studying the effects of pornography on human subjects:

    http://www.sociology.org/content/vol003.001/boeringer.html
    “In all likelihood little experimental research has ever been done using pornography as violent or as deviant as some of the postings available on this internet newsgroup. This is understandable considering the ethical problems of exposing subjects to such materials and the possible permanent effects that subjects might suffer. The extreme violence and brutality sometimes present in postings on the internet cannot be over-emphasized when discussing the potential effects upon viewers–especially young viewers. The PI of this study found it necessary to seek professional debriefing through the counseling services offered at the university after conducting this analysis. Caution and careful preparation is advised in expanding and replicating this research.”

    You might also try asking Robert Jensen how he deals with the porn research he has done and if he has any specific cites regarding doing research with human subjects. His home page is here:
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html

  2. visitingmarvel said

    Hello again, I found the relevant excerpt from “Pornified” about the ethics of porn studies.

    “Because negative effects of pornography were demonstrated so definitively in Zillmann and Bryant’s study, researchers have had a difficult time getting new studies past academic boards monitoring the use of human subjects. If a study’s effects are known to be detrimental – and there is no proof the damage can be permanently reversed – ethics boards will refuse to allow a similar study to go forward…thus subsequent researchers were unable to get new projects approved.”
    – Pamela Paul, in Pornified

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: