Fighting A Growing Industry
The industry is already worth between $12 to $13 billion dollars-a-year in America and is growing at a phenomenal rate. In fact, according to a trade publication, the output has doubled in the last five years. The same publication flouted that there has never been a better time for this business in US history. What business you ask?
Well, the publication is Adult Video News and the industry is pornography. Imagine what the size and growth rate of the entire sex trade industry is if the legal pornography market is so large. Huge indeed, given that one fuels the other.
And to think that this was all achieved without any real opposition. Sure, there are the odd under-funded family values and anti-porn groups putting up some resistance. They are joined sometimes by the Christian right. How could they ever stand up to the powerful industry which now even gets help from Hollywood?
I've always wondered were the Muslim voice was on this issue. Too many of us hope that it will go away if we dont talk about it. After all, Muslims don't have a problem, right? Not quite that simple. So I was pleasantly surprised to find an email directing me to the Soundvision website (www.soundvision.com) devoted this week entirely to this plague. The site has a number of articles addressing the extent of the problem, statistics, how to deal with pornography addiction and what you can do about it. For those interested in doing something about it, the site includes links to other helpful sites including the anti-porn site of Tonya Flynt the daughter of the king of porn Larry Flynt of Hustler fame. Soundvision must be commended for taking up an issue that most prefer not to address.
The speed with which pornography has moved into the mainstream is mind boggling. It has crept into movies, television, mainstream magazines and newspapers, and novels that children must read for school. The type of filth on prime time TV and even children's cartoons have reached unacceptable levels. Sit down with your children one day and see how much sexual innuendo even children's programming contains. The slow but steady infusion of sex into the mainstream is clearly evident to anyone who goes back to the favorites of yesteryear. What was deemed unacceptable during the early 1980s is now standard fare, while some of the shows considered mainstream but corrupting are now on Christian channels or family channels.
And now the Internet has made the problem much worse. According to USA Today, over 30% of sites on the World Wide Web as of April 8, 1998 were pornographic. If anything, that figure may be more today. In fact, the Washington Post has called the Internet the largest pornography store in the history of mankind. Think about it, publishers and distributors cannot legally display, sell or rent to children. Now they can offer even material that cannot be sold to adults in stores, to children online thanks to the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association. These two powerhouses object to censorship. Freedom must have its limits.
Interestingly, even software designed to block out pornography is not fail proof. The dozens of new porno sites added daily make blocking an almost impossible feat according to the Family Research Council.
A person no longer has to go looking for it. Pornography comes to you. I remember doing research for a column on child sexual exploitation a couple of months ago and ending up at some pretty nasty sites. I get unsolicited filth to this day.
At this rate of exposure, kids will grow up "hooked on pornos" rather than being "hooked on phonics." A study conducted by Richard Drake of Brigham Young University found that pornography consumption can be as "mood altering" and as addictive as narcotics. Pornography effects us all. It even affects the least empowered, the children. Not only are children privvy to these sites, but a study on child molesters found that 87% of those who abused girls and 77% of those who assaulted boys were regular users of hard-core pornography.
According to the Department of Justice, child pornography prosecutions have increased by 162% since 1992. Some of the increase may be due to better policing but some of it must also be due to the proliferation of pornography. We are already seeing an increasing number of sex addicts. And religious communities are not immune. A number of marriages in the Muslim community have fallen apart because addicts can't get satisfaction from normal marital relations with some husbands expecting their wives to compete with porno stars.
It seems that Uncle TV and Aunt Internet have allowed Joe Obscenity through the back door into our secure homes despite our sophisticated alarm system, to sell us his ideas. Those who think the issue does not concern them must ask, what kind of society will we have with a generation growing up with a warped sense of sexuality learned from internet sites, chat rooms and television?