‘Rape Porn’: Our Response to Parliament

Parliament is currently considering, as part of the upcoming Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, criminalising the possession of what the government refers to as ‘rape porn’. Sex & Censorship have submitted a response to oppose this new law (Clause 16 in the new bill).

The response was written by Jerry Barnett of Sex & Censorship, and Dr David Ley, a psychologist specialising in sexuality. We raised seven issues, which are summarised below (Dr Ley’s response formed point 5).

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  1. The proposed law results from a moral panic over ‘rape porn’ rather than any evidence of harm.
  2. Although headlined as ‘rape porn’, the wording of the law would criminalise consenting (but perhaps non-standard) sexual activity.
  3. The law blurs the distinction between consensual and nonconsensual sex, and so may hinder, rather than help, attempts to reduce sexual violence.
  4. There has been no evidence presented that viewers of the content in question may be driven to commit sexual violence as a result of viewing it.
  5. Conversely, there is evidence that such content may serve as an outlet for people who are prone to sexual violence and may reduce rather than increase their likelihood to commit harm.
  6. In general, possession laws are draconian as they place an impossible burden of legal and technical knowledge on members of the public.
  7. Censorship itself is harmful to free expression. Censorship laws should, therefore, only be introduced in response to compelling evidence of harm rather than on the basis of moral values alone.

The full response document (PDF) can be downloaded by clicking this link: S&C parliament rape porn submission.

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5 thoughts on “‘Rape Porn’: Our Response to Parliament”

  1. What the hell is “rape porn”?” anyway? Without a clear definition is this any porn where a male is subjecting the female to intense sex in a non loving manner? If so I can see all kinds of porn being used as an excuse to criminally convict anyone in possession of porn that resembles this description and be open to interpretation by a jury in a case

  2. I would assume it would be when anyone male or female is signaling wanting the sex to stop, ie crying, screaming, scratching the attacker. It would be good to have a clear definition of what they mean. But as rape is illegal it makes sence taping it and sharing it would be aswell.

    1. We’re all against taping and sharing crimes, but there are plenty of laws against that already. (To say nothing of the fact that taping and sharing a crime is the surest way to get caught.) But a lot of people who aren’t really being raped like to fight, scream, cry and otherwise play the victim. (My late wife, for one.) So is depicting that going to be illegal?

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