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Violence

Pornography and Sexual Assault

Pornography and Sexual AssaultFull Article Title: Pornography and Sexual Assault

Open Access: No

Abstract

This chapter concerns itself with how the viewing of pornography relates to sexual assault through mechanisms such as shaping sociocultural norms about gender, shifting attitudes about sexual violence and objectification of women, and modeling aggressive sexual behavior. I begin by providing a historical context and definitions of pornography and detail the scope of the industry, especially as it has moved increasingly to web-based dissemination. Next, theories that articulate why pornography might relate to sexual violence against women are presented; theories positing positive associations and negative associations are reviewed. Evidence about the role pornography may play in sexual assault is reviewed according to three primary methods of scientific investigation: laboratory studies, surveys, and crime statistics. Across time and methods, research studies generally find that pornography, especially violent pornography, appears to be associated with small but significant increases in sexual assault-related variables such as rape myth acceptance, negative attitudes towards women, self-reported willingness to rape, and past history of assaultive behavior. I end with some suggestions for additional research to address key gaps in the literature.  
 

    Citation

    Bridges A.J. (2019). Pornography and sexual assault. In W. O’Donohue and P. Schewe (eds), Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention (pp.129-149). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23645-8_8