Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (University of Wisconsin) found that brief exposure to violent forms of pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behavior. Male viewers tend to be more aggressive towards women, less responsive to pain and suffering of rape victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape.1
Dr. Dolf Zimmerman and Dr. Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious adverse effects on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes toward women in particular. They also found that pornography desensitizes people to rape as a criminal offense.2
These researchers also found that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials which involve violence, like sadomasochism and rape.3
Feminist author Diana Russell notes in her book Rape and Marriage the correlation between deviant behavior (including abuse) and pornography. She also found that pornography leads men and women to experience conflict, suffering, and sexual dissatisfaction.4
Researcher Victor Cline (University of Utah) has documented in his research how men become addicted to pornographic materials, begin to desire more explicit or deviant material, and end up acting out what they have seen.5
According to Charles Keating of Citizens for Decency Through Law, research reveals that 77 percent of child molesters of boys and 87 percent of child molesters of girls admitted imitating the sexual behavior they had seen modeled in pornography.
Sociologists Murray Straus and Larry Baron (University of New Hampshire) found that rape rates are highest in states which have high sales of sex magazines and lax enforcement of pornography laws.6
Michigan state police detective Darrell Pope found that of the 38,000 sexual assault cases in Michigan (1956-1979), in 41 percent of the cases pornographic material was viewed just prior to or during the crime. This agrees with research done by psychotherapist David Scott who found that “half the rapists studied used pornography to arouse themselves immediately prior to seeking out a victim.”
The Final Report of the 1986 Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography lists a full chapter of testimony (197-223) from victims whose assailants had previously viewed pornographic materials. The adverse effects range from physical harm (rape, torture, murder, sexually transmitted disease) to psychological harm (suicidal thoughts, fear, shame, nightmares).