June 15, 2010

EIE President Donna Rice Hughes Presents at Pornography Harms: What Congress Can do to Enforce Existing Laws


Enough Is Enough® President Donna Rice Hughes joined other leading experts including Dr. Mary Anne Layden. Forensic Pediatrician Sharon Cooper M.D., Internationally acclaimed speaker and author Gail Dines, Attorney Laura Lederer, former porn star Shellly Lubben and former head of Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Pat Trueman, to discuss the harms of pornography and what Congress can do to enforce existing laws. 

Statement of EIE President Donna Rice Hughes
Pornography Harms: What Congress Can do to Enforce Existing Lawa
It is a great honor to address you this morning and to be part of this distinguished panel of experts to discuss The War on Illegal “Adult” Pornography, known under the law as obscenity[1]. In layman’s terms, obscenity is graphic material that focuses on sex and/or sexual violence. It includes close-ups of graphic sex acts, lewd exhibition of the genitals, and deviant activities such as group sex, bestiality, incest and excretory functions.  For clarification, obscenity is not to be confused with soft-core pornography, known under the law as harmful to minors/indecent content. This material is protected under the constitution for adults, yet not for children in print and broadcast. Such laws have not successfully been upheld by the Supreme Court to protect minor children online.  Nor is obscenity be confused with child pornography, which is per se illegal.
Because obscenity laws have not been enforced, illegal “adult” pornography has flooded and polluted the Internet. It continues to grow and spread and has reached epidemic proportions. As you will hear today, we are indeed facing a national crisis that is every bit as damaging to our citizens nationwide as the oil spill catastrophe is to our Gulf community.
For fifteen years, children have been spoon-fed a steady diet of pornography.  Kids can easily access a wide variety of free pornography in the privacy of their home or through any Internet-enabled device. “Portable porn” via PDAs, mobile phones, gaming devices and laptops now provide kids, as well as adults, “anywhere access” to this drug of the new millennium.
Statistics show that 7 in 10 kids have accidentally accessed pornography[2] and 1 in 3 youth who viewed pornography viewed it intentionally[3].  Internet pornographers are great innovators and use clever and deceptive marketing tactics to push their drug to anyone and everyone. The majority of porn sites have free teaser images and videos on their home pages and do not require any age verification. The content on this XXX site contains sex acts and lewd exhibition of the genitals, as does the majority of porn sites. For the purposes of this presentation, we have blurred the images on the slides I will be showing you.
40% of kids accidentally access pornography through innocent word searches[4]. What do you think of when you hear the term, “watersports’? Here you see a captured screen of “watersports” which is explicit urination pornography with women being treated as toilets.
12% of kids accidently see pornography through misspelling a word[5]. Boys.com is a wholesome site for boys. Boyz misspelled, however is a hard-core porn site. This is the homepage for boyz.com, which contains graphic close-ups of homosexual acts.  As you can see, many porn sites also contain pornography advertised as “teen sex” or “barely legal”.
Pornographers also misuse popular cartoons. Children can easily stumble upon  “DisneyPornland” where they can see their favorite Disney characters engaging in graphic sex acts.
Of course, kids can always easily find pornography intentionally. This next slide is a captured screen from a Google search on bestiality. This search yielded over 2,550,000 results.  Kids can see men and women engaging in sex acts with any animal on Noah’s ark.
The average age of first exposure is 11 years old,[6] with some researchers saying first exposure is as young as 8 years old. 79% of unwanted exposure is occurring in the home[7]. Parents, who should be the first line of defense, are forced to be the ONLY line of defense to shoulder the entire burden of protecting their children from prosecutable obscenity. This is unprecedented.
Does pornography harm children? Yes it does. Pornography is not just harmless fun. I am now going to show you a short excerpt from our Internet Safety 101SM DVD teaching series where you will hear from teenagers who share the damage that pornography has had on their lives.
We have sacrificed an entire generation’s innocence on the altar of a misperception that prosecutable “adult” pornography is protected under the First Amendment. It is NOT.  How many kids and how many more generations will be destroyed by the unintended consequences of our inaction to keep kids safe from this toxic drug? No child is immune.
We cannot undo the extensive damage already done, which you will learn more about today.  But we can continue doing what we have been doing all along. Cry out “Enough Is Enough®”! Today we are calling on Congress and the Department of Justice to ensure that the aggressive enforcement of our current obscenity laws is a priority.  On behalf of Enough Is Enough®, I want to thank Congress for your commitment to protect children on the Internet.  Our children’s innocence is worth fighting for.  Thank you.

[1] The Miller Court set forth what kind of depictions may be found obscene:  (a) “Patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated. (b) Patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals.   The Court has also included sado-masochistic" materials.

[2] Generation M: Media in the lives of 8-18 year olds.  Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2006.

[3] Wolak, Mitchell and Finkelhor.  Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, VA.  National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  2006.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Internet Filter Review.

[7] Wolak, Mitchell and Finkelhor.  Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, VA.  National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  2006.