A recent study in New Zealand found that over 30% of all porn viewed depicts non-consensual activity, according to Chief Censor David Shanks. While this may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the increasing violence and abuse meted out in mainstream porn, for those of us working to shed light on this issue, it simply confirms what’s been known for years. 

A study all the way back in 2010 found that nearly 88% porn contained aggression and violence towards the female participants. While this is not strictly the same thing as direct “non-consensual activity” (or as it’s known in common parlance, sexual assault and rape), other studies have shown that porn use directly affects attitudes towards consent and mutuality in “real-life” situations. 

In an age where ‘amateur’ porn is on the rise, coupled with the aforementioned increase in violence and normalisation of lack of consent, this makes for a dangerous cocktail of exploitation. If mainstream porn shows videos of violence and exploitation, which then affects the psychology of individuals outside of the porn industry who then go on to make their own ‘amateur’ videos depicting non-consensual activity (as a result of this being depicted as acceptable by prior videos), where will the cycle end? 

It is widely accepted that media-at-large affects how we behave, so why would porn be any different? It is a worrying trend that as videos depicting “non-consensual activity” grow and become more ubiquitous, there is likely to be an increase in viewers who see this as normal and then seek to act it out in their own lives. 

CEASE UK is calling on other organisations and activists who oppose male violence against women and sexual exploitation to roundly condemn the pornography industry. This unregulated corporate giant that profits off the exploitation and commodification of human beings needs to be shown for what it is. 

The “magazine under the bed” trope was never acceptable in the first place, but it is vital to see that porn has moved alarmingly far away from anything that could be considered harmless and fun. For those who want to see an end to the exploitation of women and girls, it is time you see the porn industry for what it really is.