By Jonathon Van Maren
As many of you will know, I have been following the progress of Motion 47, which had the Canadian Standing Committee on Health examining the impact of pornography on sexual violence and on society in general. With over 80% of men regularly consuming pornography and now nearly half of women, it is for obvious reasons not easy to get people to take a long hard look at what is going on. People have a vested interest in not digging too deeply into an issue that could implicate their own pornography use, and that is why I was thrilled when Members of Parliament from all parties agreed that this was an issue that deserved closer attention.
The Standing Committee heard from a wide variety of experts, researchers, and therapists, all of whom highlighted over and over again the insidious impact that violent pornography was having. As I detailed in my report for the Washington, D.C.-based organization the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the testimony heard by the committee was often chilling—and completely in line with the things I hear in high schools, on university campuses, and at church presentations. Experts explained that violent porn was prevalent, and causing a surge in sexual aggressiveness among young people. They noted that porn use was inspiring violent anal sex, which had women using tampons in order to staunch bleeding and leaking. They explained that pornography was normalizing sexual assault and abuse as typical sexual behavior. As my colleague Josh Gilman pointed out:
- Dr. Mary Anne Layden highlighted the significant research that reveals how exposure to pornography, especially violent pornography, can increase sexual violence and coercion.
- Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, revealed the links between child sexual offenders and pornography.
- Dr. Gail Dines spoke about the impact of the mass production of violent and degrading images of women on the minds of men and boys.
- Dr. Sharon Cooper, a forensic paediatrician, outlined seven different ways in which adult pornography harms children.
And over and over again, they called for action—meaningful government action to keep violent sexual material out of the hands of children, policies already being pioneered in other Western nations such as the United Kingdom. I have taken the time to go through each and every one of the reports submitted to the Standing Committee on Health. Unless you have an extraordinarily strong stomach, I don’t advise that you do the same.
But how did the members of this committee—almost universally male—respond to the testimony of female experts about the impact of violent porn on females? With utter disregard and nonchalance, a “majority opinion report” authored almost entirely by men dismissed almost out of hand the research presented by women who have worked on these issues for decades.
In fact, the final report admitted that while it certainly appeared that there was a connection between sexual violence or “sexually problematic” behavior and pornography, there were certain quibbles regarding causality and semantics, with there being a lack of 100% agreement on what, specifically, should be regarded as “violent” and “degrading.” Therefore, their recommendations were to do nothing meaningful at all—in fact, to simply do what the Liberals always want to do—implement more sex education with a focus on learning about “the different spectrum of sexual expressions and identities including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, 2 spirited (LGBTQ2+) communities and provide support for their implementation.”
This obviously had nothing to do with the issue at hand—figuring out how to ensure that all young people do not have access to violent pornography—but because the members of the Committee did not want to actually address the issues brought up by the experts they listened to, they defaulted to deflection—simply pushing their radical sex education instead. I dare these ideological hacks to read books like Nancy Jo Sales’ American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, which details the horrific impact of pornography on boys and girls in school and of the sexual assault that is metastasizing out of a pornified culture. Sales, for the record, was a pro-porn liberal before taking the time to talk to those impacted by it–and changed her mind completely. Take the time to consult Dr. Gail Dines’ book Pornland, or the Witherspoon Institutes’ The Social Costs of Pornography, or Dr. Norman Doidge’s The Brain that Changes Itself. For those with eyes to see and no ulterior motives, the evidence exists, and it demands a response.
This report is an insult by the men of the committee, delivered in a virtue-signalling and useless document that feigns concern while actually just taking the opportunity to push their own agenda rather than taking the meaningful action recommended by the witnesses. Young people in Canada—especially school-age girls, who tell me with heartbreaking regularity of the ugly sexual atmosphere they must face—have been failed miserably by men who decided to ignore their voices.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.