A Critique of the Anti-Pornography Syllogism
36 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2011
Date Written: January 1, 1993
Does pornography cause rape? Intuition leads to two dramatically different answers to that question. One might imagine that by portraying women as sexual objects, pornography might cause men with a tendency to rape to feel justified in acting out their fantasies. On the other hand, one might imagine that men with rape tendencies derive enough satisfaction through the fantasy world of pornography that they would be less likely to rape. Whether a causal link exists between rape and pornography is ultimately an empirical question, and this article seeks to answer that empirical question. By drawing on recently-available measures of the consumption of pornography, the article is able to seek a correlation between rape rates and pornography. The article concludes that, nationwide, no statistically significant correlation exists between rape rates and pornography consumption between 1970 and 1990. The article also concludes that previous correlations between rape rates and pornography consumption were likely spurious. Introducing a variable for greater percentage of males in population and for sexual liberalism reduces the correlation between rape and pornography to 55% random chance where 5% random chance is the standard for statistical significance.
Keywords: rape rates, pornography consumption, pornography and rape, UCR crime rates, Larry Baron, Murray Straus, Meese Commission on Pornography, sexual liberalism
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