Contextualization of the Petition Against Free Access to Pornography and for a campaign to raise awareness on its harmfulness to young people
Based on the 23 expert opinions and 11 testimonies that were presented to the Standing Committee on Health in Parliament and reported to the House of Commons in Ottawa on June 8, 2017, the group of citizens who put this petition in place considers that pornography is a public health issue.
From these expertise and testimonies it appears that the consumption of pornography:
• has direct consequences on violence and sexual exploitation;
• undermines the collective well-being of women, men and children and erodes the cultural fabric of our society;
• destroys the capacity for intimacy, attachment and empathy;
• is accessible to boys who discover it at an average age of 12 years;
• makes boys and young men susceptible to erectile dysfunction, isolation, depression and anxiety;
• Increases dopamine release in the brain creating a drug-like addiction.
For these reasons Dr. Gail Dines of Culture Reframed concludes that these cascading effects on society make it a public health issue. It's not just a matter of personal behavior for sexual pleasure, but rather of how pornography affects the vast culture, gender relations and the workplace.
For these same reasons, we consider driving with high blood alcohol content as a public health problem.
It's exactly the same truth about pornography with its cascading effect on culture. It puts girls and women at risk of sexual harm. It undermines their right to full equality, reducing them to sexual objects. It trivializes sexual harassment.
Pornography is a $ 98 billion industry. Their well-oiled public relations machine has devised a multitude of ways to distract us from its evil effects. We hear about "soft" or "hardcore" porn, violent or non-violent. It's just a distraction that falsely identifies an important segment of pornography as "benign". We invite you to read Ms. Dines' full testimony, which continues and describes what has become of this industry in the era of high-speed internet. The leader of this industry is MindGeek, which has 800 of its 1,000 employees based in Montreal. Ms. Dines describes the type of pornography that this company distributes and you will discover that it is violent and very degrading for women.
In another submission by Ms. Liz Walker of Porn Harms Kids, Ms. Walker explains, based on meta-analyzes, the effects of pornography on young people. Her observations are essentially the same as those of Mrs. Dines.
Ms. Walker describes behaviors observed among youth in schools in Australia and New Zealand. This information is disturbing and I invite you to read his brief to learn more.
As a result, Porn Harms Kids has adopted a public health approach to develop a three-pronged approach: PREVENT, TRAIN, REHABILITATE. Prevent access to pornography to equip parents, schools and the community through education; rehabilitating children and adolescents who have been harmed by pornography by referring them to therapy and support services.
In the book Buffet à volonté on the Web published in 2009, Martin Bisaillon and Isabelle Maher interviewed young Quebecers and the conclusions about the use of pornography are almost identical to those from the United States, Australia , New Zealand and the rest of Canada. Marie-Paul Ross, a clinical sexologist and author of several books on the subject, is quoted extensively in this book. She could tell us a lot more. Her research and clinical practice put her in regular contact with young people who come to consult her for problems related to the consumption of pornography.
For all these reasons we have started this petition procedure with 3 recommendations:
• Require effective age verification on all adult websites;
• Require all Quebec Internet service providers to filter out pornography by default and to require the consumer to express his choice to access it;
• Develop an awareness campaign for teachers, health professionals and parents to expose the harms of pornography
Let us follow the example of the United Kingdom which has already put in place measures to this effect which was to start in august 2019, but is now postponed to next year. Let's make Quebec an even better society where sexuality will truly serve human beings and foster intimate, respectful and empathic conjugal relationships. For the sake of our children let’s put in place these 3 recommendations.