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Violent pornography: a threat to women’s dignity and rights

Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 12156 | 03 February 2010

Mr José MENDES BOTA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr John AUSTIN, United Kingdom ; Lord Tim BOSWELL, United Kingdom, EDG ; Ms Ingrida CIRCENE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr James CLAPPISON, United Kingdom ; Mr Andrzej CWIERZ, Poland, EDG ; Ms Lydie ERR, Luxembourg, SOC ; Baroness Anita GALE, United Kingdom ; Ms Gisèle GAUTIER, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Annette GROTH, Germany, UEL ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden ; Ms Francine JOHN-CALAME, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Ms Christine McCAFFERTY, United Kingdom ; Ms Ana Catarina MENDES, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Federica MOGHERINI REBESANI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Marietta de POURBAIX-LUNDIN, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Marlene RUPPRECHT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Michał STULIGROSZ, Poland, EPP/CD

Our society is becoming more and more exposed, almost everywhere, to images of women emphasizing their sexual appearance: at the bus stop - on posters advertising anything from perfume to underwear; in cafés and in shops - in magazines and newspapers (for example, “page 3 girls” in tabloids), at home – in films, songs, videogames and on the internet.

What is new is the rise in explicitly violent pornography which is not only degrading for women, but which is sadistic in nature - e.g. glorifying rape, often by several men (“gang bang”). This violent pornography even sometimes goes so far as to simulate the killing of women – and there are incidents of so-called “snuff videos”, where the women involved are killed in reality.

The wide and repeated exposure to violent pornography in which women are portrayed as disposable and interchangeable objects existing only for the sexual pleasure of men has a dehumanising effect, including a negative effect on the sexual relationships of women and men in real life. For example, both (private) consensual sex and rapes are sometimes filmed on mobile phones and put on the internet without the women’s knowledge or consent, violating the victims’ right to privacy. Violent pornography thus not only poses a threat to women’s dignity, but also to their rights – in particular, their right to live their lives free of sexual violence.

The Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers take the appropriate steps against violent pornography to protect women’s rights and dignity.