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Porn Up, Rape Down?

Christian Avard reports on research finding a correlation between more porn and reduced rape rates. (Here’s the original report here by Anthony D’Amato as HMTL and also the original PDF)

Today’s headlines are shouting RAPE IN DECLINE! Official figures just
released show a plunge in the number of rapes per capita in the United States since the
1970s. Even when measured in different ways, including police reports and survey
interviews, the results are in agreement: there has been an 85% reduction in sexual
violence in the past 25 years. The decline, steeper than the stock market crash that led to
the Great Depression, is depicted in this chart prepared by the United States Department
of Justice: As the chart shows, there were 2.7 rapes for every 1,000 people in 1980; by 2004, the same survey found the rate had decreased to 0.4 per 1000 people, a decline of 85%.
Official explanations for the unexpected decline include (1) less lawlessness
associated with crack cocaine; (b) women have been taught to avoid unsafe situations; (c)
more would-be rapists already in prison for other crimes; (d) sex education classes telling
boys that “no means no.” But these minor factors cannot begin to explain such a sharp
decline in the incidence of rape.

There is, however, one social factor that correlates almost exactly with the rape
statitistics. The American public is probably not ready to believe it. My theory is that
the sharp rise in access to pornography accounts for the decline in rape. The correlation
is inverse: the more pornography, the less rape. It is like the inverse correlation: the more
police officers on the street, the less crime.

D’Amato compares Internet connection rates with rape incidents and finds a pattern.

This is interesting useful information. But it’s not the whole picture. I’m not a sociologist, so I don’t keep up with social science research. But it seems that Internet usage (and yes, porn usage) is associated with an insulated suburban lifestyle. If people stay in their apartments or houses, they are not even tempted. We can’t say porn has a cathartic effect–merely that is has a delaying effect.

What would happen if the Internet ceased to exist..heavens, if TV ceased to exist? Would we socialize more? Would we have more sexual encounters? Or would we stay inside our dwellings reading the latest steamy novel? I honestly don’t know.

Still, it is reassuring to hear that rape rates have declined so precipitiously.

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