Written by Restored Ambassador Susie Flashman-Jarvis.
Pornography and domestic abuse: is there a link?
I am a coach and counsellor, working for many years with clients both male and female. However, it is the plight of women who have suffered violence in many forms that is my focus today.
My 19 years counselling, spent face to face with 1000’s of people, have resulted in me forming some opinions based on this experience. This is my empirical view not the result of a trial or theory. However, surely theories spring from such assertions?
So, is there a link?
I work a great deal with men who are addicted to pornography, men whose relationships are often in tatters and on their last legs.
Over the years I have also worked with many women caught up in the cycle of domestic abuse too. These women may have suffered physical assaults, they may have been isolated by their partner. They may have been undermined and mentally abused, diminished having lost any sense of self-worth.
As I have sat with couples, who bring the remains of their relationship to me, invariably the subject of sex comes up.
‘How is your sex life?’ I may ask and she then tells me all about his issue with pornography. I am aware that women also look at pornography but in the instances of couples that I have worked with the issue, the addiction lies with men. However, there is a high degree of addiction of both men and women in the 18-30 age group.
How are women portrayed in pornography?
In order to answer this question, let’s ask some others: Are they respected, held in high esteem? Are they seen as intelligent with a point of view and of worth?
Women are mainly seen as objects, a means to an end. They are only there to arouse men and as such are not respected.
So why do men watch pornography?
Apart from the above reason there are others too. These range from coping with stress, loneliness, tiredness, to relationship difficulties.
One man is quoted as saying: ‘…before I knew it porn had become a powerful anaesthetic to treat any kind of anxiety, boredom and stress. It started to control my life...’ extract from The P Word Conference www.Thenakedtruthproject.com.
Why do I believe that there is a link between pornography and domestic abuse?
If men objectify women to such a degree that they are only there to alleviate their stress, then that must bring a fundamental change in how they regard them in the flesh, so to speak.
Domestic abuse is all about power and control, thus the man that perpetrates power over his partner, in an abusive manner, has his views consolidated when he watches pornography. What he views online colludes with his views and, in my opinion, solidifies them to such a degree that the fantasy world becomes part of his real-world view.
Of course, I am not saying that all men who watch pornography are perpetrators of domestic abuse, but if there is something out there that supports the abuser's view that women are objects, only there to be suppressed and controlled, then surely, we must stand against it?
Will you men make a stand?
If you are interested in making a stand against the abuse of women and want to join 1000’s of other men in so doing please refer to Restored's First Man Standing Campaign.
Susie offers coaching and counselling in Kent and London, to contact her at The Bespoke Coach press here .
For more information and research on how pornography affects all areas of our life go to Fight the New Drug.
The Naked Truth Project - offers education and recovery programmes aimed at helping churces to talk about and tackle the issue of pornography in their communities but are accessible to those of any faith or no faith.
If you would like to know more about our domestic abuse survivors’ community, or you would like to be part of this online community please email us here.
As always, you can give regularly to Restored to enable us to continue to work with survivors, train churches, and produce free resources.