Archive for the ‘crimes’ Category

Why would anyone want to rape Girls Aloud?

July 5, 2009

So, writing about your sexual fantasy to rape and murder Girls Aloud is not considered depraved under our obscenity laws. There would have been time not relatively long ago when I would have celebrated this week’s legal decision on the grounds of free speech. After all, I would have said, mere thoughts cannot hurt and in simply writing down your fantasy, no one has been hurt. However, the opposing argument is nicely summarised in the following citation from the article.

The relationship between porn and the exploitation of women has led to claims by some that “harm” caused should be viewed from a much wider perspective, an argument made in a well-known statement by Edwin Meese who, as the then US attorney general, conducted an inquiry into porn in 1986.

“Substantial exposure to sexually violent material leads to a greater acceptance of ‘rape myth’ in its broader sense,” said Meese. “That women enjoy being coerced into sexual activity, that they enjoy being physically hurt in a sexual context, and that as a result a man who forces himself on a woman sexually is in fact merely acceding to the ‘real’ wishes of the woman.”

The argument of a wider “social harm” still forms part of a lively debate about the ethics of tolerating material containing sexual violence.

“I would argue that the sexual free-for-all that pornography represents has caused serious harm in terms of the sexual health crisis, the rise in sexual offences and broken or unfaithful relationships, and the perpetuation of discrimination against women,” says John Mayer, director of Mediawatch UK which campaigns for “decency” in the media. “Pornography has invaded every aspect of modern life, particularly television, film and the internet, to which there is unrestricted access. If you do not recognise these as ‘harms’ … define your term.”

Some experts are also dismissive of arguments that regulating pornographic material amounts to an unjustified infringement of freedom of expression, now protected in the UK under the Human Rights Act. “The freedom of expression of women may be circumscribed in a society which condones extreme pornography and in which their privacy is invaded by unwanted sexual violence or objectification,” said Durham law professors Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley, writing recently in legal publication the Criminal Law Review.

There have been several high-profile sex attacks linked directly to violent pornography, including the murders carried out by Frederick and Rosemary West and Peter Sutcliffe. In 2003 Brighton teacher Jane Longhurst was strangled by Graham Coutts, a 39-year-old obsessed with pornography showing strangulation, rape, murder and necrophilia, who then kept her body in a storage unit and continued to visit it for “sexual thrill”.

“There was shock at the revelation that access to sites such as necrobabes and deathbyasphyxia is so easy,” the Labour MP David Lepper said after her murder. “It provides access to the sort of material that fed Graham Coutts’ fantasies – and it led to Jane’s death.”