Porn sites : closer look and what to ban

1. Tool in hand of perpetrator

Porn sites can be broadly classified into two category:

1. Professional and respectable content – by this I mean movies and pics which are shot in studios, professional photographers and most importantly consent of actress/actor.

An easy to understand and judge criteria for this, is expressed by Erica Lust “the sex can stay dirty but the values have to be clean.”

2. User uploaded porn content – this can be done by anyone with and without the consent of actress/actor. This includes hidden cameras, revenge porn etc.

In context of Indian society and a special angle of quick defamation, particularly of female is well-known. This makes second category dangerous to whole society.

Add to it weak cyber-policing.

User uploaded content is today a tool in hands of rapists and revenge seekers. Once it is uploaded, the lady / girl or even minor is defamed for whole life. Whole family is judged, character-assassination, taunts, prospects of marriage of any sibling is also affected ….

list is endless.

Two specific cases I came across closely:

1. Gang-rape recording and upload

I have come across one video where girl is gang-raped in outdoor amidst trees. Perpetrators take turn one after another. Mobile camera keeps recording focussed on the girls face, clearly hiding culprits face. Girls attempts to cover her face are met with force. She cried through 9 minutes of video.

With threat of upload and circulation to locality:

– Would she ever have courage to face her family.

– Would her family have enough courage to lodge police complaint, which asks all awkward questions, keep waiting for hours.

– Would the family have enough courage to go through court procedures which go on for years.

It takes few minutes to upload the video and defame her into silence.

2. Revenge porn

In the light of revenge porn case brought to notice of Honourable Supreme Court on July 8th – the victim’s videos shot during marriage were uploaded after divorce by ex-husband. Videos are getting circulated over 24 sites (tracked and known) and links sent to family, friends and colleagues.

Victim has written complaints in three police stations, police cyber-cell and is running pillar to post for last 2 years. The video clips keep circulating and now on WhatsApp.

2. Sex education or degradation

Next important categorisation is based on access-control

1. Sites which give very little material as promo and keep things behind a username/password mobile verification etc. These may additionally include credit card entry for purchase or simply authentication of age. This would restrict susceptible age groups from access to explicit material.

2. Site with or without ENTER / LEAVE buttons – kids as young as eleven are found watching these out of curiosity. Mostly stumble upon them, sometimes passed from seniors to junior in school/neighbourhood.

Most of porn sites belong to second category and serve all details and varieties to any viewer without any regard to age.

In Indian culture and law (sixteen and below are minors) and very few parents would want their children to access these sites.

Response of viewers of various age groups varies significantly.

<= 16 are strongly impressionable

16 till 21 are impressionable

22 and older are also susceptible but to lesser extent.

3. Porn causes rape

Diana Russell has handled this topic very well and some points are very clear from her articles. Objectification of women is prominent in the content. This requires careful review of what content should be served to viewers.

A lot of sites offer rape videos. This is repulsive and a definite NO NO for minors as well as majors.

4. Context / storyline

Often the content revolves around sex without relation, romance. Not exactly “love-making”.

Conclusion

While debates can go on on and on, some actions are immediate.

Newspapers are reporting daily – minors raped, women gang-raped.

This is alarming and calls for immediate action.

Responsibility of expression has to be understood together with freedom.

It may be wise to block porn sites as whole and then permit only limited few which pass Indian society voting.

References:

https://www.facebook.com/1IndiaAgainstPorn

Brajesh Rajak book on porn laws

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