Porn completely normalises sexual violence towards women, says sociologist

17 March 2021, 16:10

By Fiona Jones

Sociologist Dr Fiona Vera-Grey explains how pornographic sites normalise sexual violence against women on their homepages alone, after completing the most comprehensive analysis on the subject yet.

Sarah Everard disappeared as she walked home alone in Clapham on 3 March and her body was found a week later in Kent woodland. A Met police officer is due to go on trial for her kidnap and murder in the autumn.

The tragic event caused reverberations online and in the media and sparked a national conversation about male violence towards women.

LBC's Shelagh Fogarty asked Professor of Sociology at the University of Durham Dr Fiona Vera-Grey what she found, after studying the first pages of the three major porn sites in the UK.

"These are very much the pages a child typing in free porn into Google...would click on," Dr Fiona said, "we found one in eight videos that were on there were describing forms of sexual violence. They were describing coercion, non-consent and aggression.

"That equates to tens of thousands and they were on the very front pages."

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She continued: "Young people don't have the understanding of what pornography is, that this might be fantasy, that this might not be in reality the way people have sex.

"Young people don't understand that because they're going on to porn to find information about sex and to get some form of sex education. They're not coming to it with the reasoning of adults and they might not be able to situate that material."

Dr Fiona also spoke to over 100 women about their first experiences of pornography and she found that because boys in school were talking about it, they as girls went on to research the topic.

"What they're seeing is representations of women where their aggression towards women, and their non-consent of women, and their coercion of women is being positioned as normalised sexual activity."

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