The Porn Factor

I watched a great documentary the other night called ‘The Porn Factor’ and it got me thinking.

I have often heard a lot about how pornography affects young people’s sexual development. The Porn Factor says that 90% of boys view pornography by the age of 16 and 60% of girls view pornography by the time they are 16. With these outrageously high statistics, what impact is porn having on young people and their understanding of gender roles in sexual situations?

Young women are learning about what men expect of them and young men are learning about what they are showed to do and how they are supposed to treat women. It is deeply disturbing that much of the pornography that young people watch shows women being treated very rough and being degraded by men. The line of consent is often blurred or non-existent.

Expert Dr Russell Pratt who is a Forensic Psychologist states that pornography is shaping peoples tastes. If this is the sex education our young people are being exposed to, I can’t help but think how much of an impact it will have towards increasing the number of women experiencing intimate partner violence and on women and men navigating consent.

Did you know that…

1 in 4 young people think it’s pretty normal for guys to pressure girls into sexThe Line campaign.

1 in 5 students has been sexually harassed in a university setting. National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities.

1 in 3 women aged 18-24 has experienced sexual harassment. Personal Safety

1 in 3 young people don’t think controlling someone is a form of violence. The Line campaign.

1 in 4 young people doesn’t think it’s serious when guys insult or verbally harass girls in the street. The Line campaign.

1 in 3 young people in homelessness services has experienced domestic violence. Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Report 2016-17.

Consent and healthy relationship education should happen much earlier than it currently does, in middle to late high school. It is often too late by then, as these behaviours and ways of thinking have already set in, and damage to both girls and boys has already started.

The first step is being aware that young people are likely to come across porn in some way and that we need to inform ourselves to know how to respond. The next step is seeking out the wonderful resources available on the net for parents, schools, community groups, etc.

  • Youth Wellbeing Project has a wide collection of resources for all sorts of situations
  • It’s Time We Talked is by the same people who made The Porn Factor. It has lots of great resources for young people, parents, schools and community organisations.

Finally, here’s a little video about consent, made easy to watch and understand. It normalises the conversation around ‘consent’, using wit and comparing the request for sex to the request of tea. A valuable resource for all ages.

Written by Marryanne

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