Pornography now is so widespread in the US that it deserves to be addressed seriously as a major public health crisis, a panel of activists said Thursday.
On the eve of a two-day conference on sexual exploitation, they suggested that porn be tackled in the same manner as teenage smoking or drunk driving.
“There’s an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media, which has campaigned against pornography since 1962.
“There’s a lot of science now proving that pornography is harmful,” Hawkins told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. “We know now that almost every family in America has been touched by the harm of pornography.”
The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation summit that began on Friday in the Washington suburb of Tysons Corner aims to look at pornography as a complex social problem that needs to be framed as a public health issue.
Participants include health professionals, social workers, academics, feminists, faith leaders, campaigners against human trafficking and former members of the multibillion-dollar adult entertainment industry.
‘CONSIDERABLE POLITICAL CLOUT’
“This is a business with considerable political clout,” said Gail Dines, a sociology and women’s studies professor at Wheelock College in Boston and author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.
Porn sites get more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined, a third of all downloads contain porn and the Internet now hosts 4.2 million porn Web sites, said Dines, who is also president of the international feminist group Stop Porn Culture.
“Porn is without doubt the most powerful form of sex education today, with studies showing that the average age of first viewing porn is between 11 and 14 — and let me tell you, this is not your father’s Playboy,” she said.
“These degrading misogynist images have become the wallpaper of our lives and they are robbing young people of an authentic healthy sexuality that is a basic right of every human being.”
Donny Pauling, a former adult film producer for Playboy and others who also ran a network of adult Web sites before quitting the business in 2006, said he has personally seen the ill effects of the porn business on the women who appear in front of the camera.
He doubted that Miriam Weeks — a 19-year-old women’s studies student at elite Duke University who caused a national stir recently when she came out as moonlighting Internet porn star Belle Knox — feels as “empowered” as she has claimed.
“I don’t buy her story,” Pauling said. “I recruited more than 500 first-timers into the business and there’s never been one that came back and thanked me.”
Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, who specializes in sexual trauma, said pornography has been a factor in every case of sexual violence that she has treated as a psychotherapist.
“The earlier males are exposed to pornography, the more likely they are to engage in non-consensual sex — and for females, the more pornography they use, the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex,” she said.
In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this month, Weeks revealed that she started watching pornography at the age of 12 — and that she was once raped at a high school house party.
“There is going to have to be programs out there that get kids to understand how porn is manipulating them,” Dines said.
And Layden suggested that if the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got “interested in this as a public health issue, we can have success in the way that we had success with the issue of cigarette smoking.”
When Auntie Su (蘇) was evicted from her apartment last Monday, locals were so overjoyed that they sent thank you wreaths to the Tainan Police Department. “Justice has been served.” “Punish villains and eradicate evil,” read some of the notes. “Thank you, hardworking police for bringing peace and quiet back to Tainan!” a neighbor posted on Facebook. Auntie Su is a notorious “informer demon” (檢舉魔人), someone who is known to excessively report violations either for reward money or — depending which side you’re on — to serve as a justice warrior or a nosy annoyance. Usually they are called “professional”
In Taiwan’s foothills, suspension bridges — or the remnants of them — are almost as commonplace as temples. “Suspension bridge” is a direct translation of the Chinese-language term (吊橋, diaoqiao), but it’s a little misleading. These spans aren’t huge pieces of infrastructure. The larger ones are just wide enough for the little trucks used by farmers. Others are suitable for two-wheelers and wheelbarrows. If one end is higher than the other, they may incorporate steps, like the recently-inaugurated, pedestrians-only Shuanglong Rainbow Suspension Bridge (雙龍七彩吊橋) in Nantou County. Because torrential rains hammer Taiwan during the hot season, the landscape is scarred by
With his sugarcane juice stall at Monga Nightmarket (艋舺夜市) floundering due to COVID-19, things took a turn for the worse for Lin Chih-hang (林志航) when he was furloughed from a part-time job. The crowds are trickling back to this nightmarket in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), but Lin is now so busy that he has hired a friend to run his stall. As the sole driver of the night market’s delivery service, established on April 12, Lin takes on an average of 20 orders on weeknights and over 60 on weekends, with his father helping out when he is too busy.
May 25 to May 31 Three months before his 90th birthday in 2015, Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) woke up shortly after midnight and experienced a inexplicable sense of clarity. “Suddenly, my mind started going all over the place. There were some recent memories, but also many that I thought I had long forgotten. They would appear and disappear from my brain one after another, and they were so clear, so lucid. Even the memories from 70, 80 years ago felt like they happened yesterday. I suddenly thought, if I still remember so much, why don’t I write everything down?” Despite his solid