The Centre to End Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) has launched a new site to support people of all ages who have been harmed by pornography. Expose The Harm, which launched this June, is a space for people to share, safely and anonymously, about the ways pornography has harmed them.
Expose the harm was announced at a conference in Westminster as well as being highlighted at a Child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and pornography event at the U.S Congress in Washington DC by CEASE’s CEO Vanessa Morse.
CEASE established Expose the harm in order to give a voice and a support network to the thousands of men, women and children whose lives have been negatively impacted by pornography.
Vanessa Morse said:
“For too long, the adult industry and its vested interests have controlled the narrative, making pornography out to be “harmless fun”. But the reality is that pornography represents the public health crisis of the digital age, undermining the health and well-being of individuals, communities and culture as a whole.”
Online pornography sites receive 130 million visitors per day and the industry is worth an estimated $100 billion globally. These sites received more website traffic in 2020 than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Zoom, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.
CEASE, and other campaigners are highlighting that the influence of online pornography is felt everywhere and its viewing has become normal and ubiquitous, as pornography has steadily migrated from the pop-culture margins to the mainstream.
Vanessa Morse added:
“Soft pornography has blurred into light entertainment, and there’s been a marked rise in hypersexualised portrayals of women and girls. We see porn’s influence in art, music, film, television and fashion.
“Evidence of pornography’s harms lies all around us – in popular culture, contemporary news and criminal law cases. Despite the vast amount of academic research from a range of disciples exposing porn’s negative effects, the pornography industry has been allowed to act unchecked for years.”
The harms of pornography are increasingly hard to deny and include:
Sexual health practicioners and GPs are reporting soaring rates of young men seeking help for porn and sex addiction and porn-induced erectile dysfunction.
Children’s charities such as Barnardo’s are identifying pornography as both driving harmful sexual behaviour and increasing vulnerability to abuse.
Police and practitioners are noting the increasing trend for young men to acquire an interest in child sexual abuse material via the route of mainstream pornography.
In its 2021 review, Ofstead described the prevalence of sexual harassment and violence in English schools, which are often so normalised that pupils fail to report it.
The website Everyone’s Invited has collected over 50,000 stories from girls and young women who who have experienced “rape culture” at schools and universities.
“Celebrities such as Billie Eilish and Terry Crews are increasingly breaking the conspiracy of silence that surrounds pornography’s harms. As a charity, we at CEASE want to give ordinary members of the public the opportunity to join them.” Said Vanessa Morse.
“In the course of our work, we hear many heartbreaking stories about the harms of pornography. Porn users tell us how their lives have been devastated by addiction, isolation and poor mental health; parents share their deep concerns about how pornography is hindering their child’s emotional, social and cognitive development; and girls express how they feel that pornography is fuelling sexual harassment and “rape culture”.
“We are painfully aware that what we hear is only the tip of the iceberg. Some stories are scattered in forums all across the internet and others have not yet been told. It’s high time that we exposed the harm being driven by online pornography in the hope that we can wake governments and policy makers up to the urgent need for intervention and industry regulation.”
Visit exposetheharm.com to find out more or to share your story.