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The great Indian porn debate: Does it create rapists or release sexual frustration?

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By Nithin Sridhar

The Indian government appears to have silently banned around 800 porn websites. According to this Hindustan Times report, the Internet service providers (ISP) received letters directing them to block porn websites from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Saturday. The ISP’s that have enforced the ban include Vodafone, MTNL, ACT, Hathway and BSNL.

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Many people have expressed opposition to this move on social media, though some have supported the move as well. The present ban has again highlighted the issue of pornography.

Prevalence of Pornography:

According to these statistics released by Covenant Eyes, between 2001 and 2007, the Internet porn industry went from a $1-billion-a-year industry to $3-billion-a-year in the US alone. It further says that by 2017, a quarter of a billion people are expected to be watching porn using mobiles or tablets, an increase of more than 30% from 2013.

It estimates that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. It further says that in 2008, a company called Hitwise cataloged 40,634 websites that distributed pornography. It quotes Damon Brown, author of “Porn and Pong and Playboy’s Greatest Covers” as saying:

It seems so obvious: If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do—after making a profit—is use it to watch porn. When the projector was invented roughly a century ago, the first movies were not of damsels in distress tied to train tracks or Charlie Chaplin-style slapsticks;they were stilted porn shorts called stag films. VHS became the dominant standard for VCRs largely because Sony wouldn’t allow pornographers to use Betamax; the movie industry followed porn’slead. DVDs, the Internet, cell phones. You name it, pornography planted its big flag there first, or atleast shortly thereafter.

The Hindustan Times report quotes a data from PornHub that says Indians form 40% of its total 14.2 billion users. Therefore, it can be easily concluded that consumption of pornography is widely prevalent across the world.

Effects of watching porn:

Many people, if not most, indulge in watching pornography to either fulfill their fantasies or to relieve their stress. Various studies have been conducted to access the impact of pornography on people, but no conclusive results have been obtained.

According to the Covenant Eyes report: 88% of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contain verbal aggression. It further quotes a meta-analysis of 46 studies, that concluded that exposure to pornography puts one at an increased risk of committing sexual crimes (22% increase) and accepting rape myths (31% increase). It quotes another study of 187 female university students, where researchers concluded that early exposure to pornography was related to subsequent “rape fantasies” and attitudes supportive of sexual violence against women.

Therefore, consumption of porn, especially of the violent and hardcore variety may have a deep impact on minds of the people which may lead them to commit many sexual crimes as well.

But, according to this report by Christopher J. Ferguson and Richard D. Hartley:

Evidence for a causal relationship between exposure to pornography and sexual aggression is slim and may, at certain times, have been exaggerated by politicians, pressure groups, and some social scientists. Some of the debate has focused on violent pornography, but evidence of any negative effects is inconsistent, and violent pornography is comparatively rare in the real world. Victimization rates for rape in the United States demonstrate an inverse relationship between pornography consumption and rape rates.

It further quotes a study conducted in Japan that concludes that increasing availability of pornography is associated with declining rates of rape and other sex crimes.

A 2007 study made a survey of 1023 consumers of pornography in Australia. The consumers were asked to specify what effect did watching pornography have on their attitudes towards sexuality. The study revealed that 58.8% people thought that pornography had a positive influence on their attitudes towards sexuality, 34.6% felt it did not have any effect on them and 6.8% thought that it had a negative effect on them.

The positive effects listed by the pornography consumers included making them less repressed and more open minded about sex, increased tolerance towards others’ sexuality, giving pleasure, provided educational information, made them more attentive to partners sexual needs, and helped them to talk to their partners about sex.

The negative effects listed by the consumers in the study included increased tendency to objectify people, caused unrealistic sexual expectations, caused loss of interest in sex and relationship problems, and let to serious addictions.

These various reports clearly depict two things: one, there are definitely both positive and negative effects of watching pornography; two, though excessive viewing of pornography may lead to various sexual crimes in many cases, but, it cannot be considered as a driving factor that leads every consumer of pornography to commit crimes. Some studies also depict co-relation between increased pornographic consumption and decreased sexual crime rate.

Watching pornography is not same as creating pornography

The Supreme Court of India has recently stated that watching a porn movie within the four walls of the house cannot be considered as a crime. Watching porn inside a house is a private activity that harms no one, hence it may even become an issue of fundamental rights. On the other hand, creation of pornography may involve mafias who abduct women and make sex tape, or might secretly be filming couples using hidden cameras, and other activities. Hence, the law clearly bans creation and distribution of obscene materials. It is only with respect to child pornography that there is a ban on production as well as consumption.

Education and not prohibition is the solution

The Delhi incident of Nirbhaya rape, wherein the perpetrators of the crime used beastly methods of torture, can be linked to portrayal of such scenes in many hardcore pornographic videos. As quoted earlier, extensive and excessive exposure to pornography does have a negative influence on some people which may result in their committing various sexual crimes.

But, at the same time, majority of the pornography consumers are not criminals. It may well be argued that stopping people from watching porn may lead to increase in sexual frustration which may in-turn lead to increase in sexual crimes. Those people who used to satisfy their fantasies inside four walls, may come out and try to fulfill those fantasies through people.

If that happens, then there would be an opposite effect than what the ban intends to implement. From the various studies, it is clear that watching porn or not watching porn is not the driving factor behind various sexual crimes. It is the attitude and character of people which is the root cause.

People who are well rooted in values and have strong character, don’t indulge in sexual crimes, even though they may be watching hardcore porn at nights. On the other hand, those who are raised to believe that women are to be objectified and exploited, they become more encouraged to commit sexual crimes after watching pornography.

Further, it is practically impossible to stop people from watching porn. There are thousands of porn websites and many new websites come up every day. It is not practical to block all of them. Yet, even if we assume that a total block is implemented, even then, people will access porn through other means like CD’s and DVD’s. In fact, the business of various CD shops and porn CD manufacturers is going to flourish again, the way it did in pre-internet days.

Therefore, it is vital for the government to realize that only through proper and wholesome education that includes education on ethics, morality, and sex and relationships will it be able to counter any negative influence of pornography or other kinds of obscenity and prevent sexual crimes.

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Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith - in broad terms, the power to choose

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Republic
This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified - virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Pixabay

The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Values that we sometimes take for granted. Privileges, that we ought to protect, nourish, nurture, savor. Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith – in broad terms, the power to choose. The definite gift of Free Will.

This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified – virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rani Laxmi Bai, Bhagat Singh and Sarojini Naidu; these brave men and women of India’s freedom struggle may have represented differing philosophies, espoused, at times, contradicting ideologies. They all however came to a common point wherein principals they stood for, were the same. Let us remind ourselves and our children through life lessons from their lives, of theirs and our country’s greatness.

TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

From Gandhi protesting being unfairly disembarked from a Train, to atrocities of civil rights at the hands of the British that poetess Sarojini Naidu wrote about, to discriminatory treatment meted out by the imperialists that Bhagat Singh & Subhash Chandra Bose fought against, to the entirely forced and hostile advances of the British army to usurp Rani Laxmi Bai’s kingdom – each of these brave men and women, when confronted with a moral dilemma, took it on, head on, and took a brave, bold, unafraid stance, even though it was a David vs Goliath scenario! Children of today’s world would be very wise to learn to stand-up for what they believe in.

POWER OF TEAM-WORK

Another crucial lesson children can learn from all these men and women’s’ lives is their absolute belief in the power of team-building and team work. In the future, children will form leaders and it will be of utmost importance for them to appreciate the strength of a team, rather than being individualistic workers. Examine any of the freedom fighter’s individual lives and one will find that each worked purposefully to construct a team of trustworthy, loyal, devoted and philosophically aligned men and women, who fought and furthered their causes right alongside them. Be it generals and friends in the armies of Bhagat Singh, Laxmi Bai and Bose, or an intellectual coterie of guides and advisors always with Gandhi & Naidu. The power of team-work was evidently important to each of them.

Indian Flag, Flag, India, National, Country, Nation
The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Pixabay

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

In a bygone era with limited to no real and effective means of fast or mass communication; all five men and women we are using as inspirations, led masses of people, through massive campaigns, wars, protests, and organized movements. How? It was only because they understood, appreciated and made efforts to put in place, a well-oiled and highly effective communication system. From Gandhi’s well-attended speeches to Bhagat Singh and Bose’s surreptitious networks of pan-India soldiers. From the power of the written word to the power of the spoken word, as practiced by Naidu & Laxmi Bai respectively. Each was using communication skills to their best efficacy, a vital lesson for children of today, who have a plethora of communication tools at their disposal, to use, correctly, rather than go atray and abuse these resources.

SACRIFICE SELF

What is also painfully clear is that all five individuals believed in a purpose far bigger and greater than themselves. That they willingly sacrificed their own lives, families, careers, safety, security; putting everything on the line for the greater good, the good of a nation in distress, inspires us with their courage of conviction and their do-good nature. If they hadn’t bothered, who knows we might still have been an English colony, and not the free nation we so assume to be our birthright! A sacrificing and sensitive outlook is an immensely important lesson for children.

FIERCELY PATRIOTIC

The other life lesson that children ought to clearly see reflected in the lives of Gandhi, Laxmi Bai, Naidu, Bhagat Singh and Bose is their intense and immense patriotism. If it wasn’t for their overarching sense of belongingness to the country and motherland, few amongst them would have gone to the extent that each of them did, fighting for the cause of freedom. It was this sense that NOTHING, not even their own lives, was bigger or greater than Country, which made each of them garner the strength and resolve to fight against all odds.

PHILOSOPHICAL

It wasn’t only brute force of stubbornness of purpose that drive each of these five freedom fighters to achieve their goals. It was, in each individual’s case, a well thought out, well considered, guiding light – a principled philosophy that each of them believed in, that made them be successful freedom fighters. It was this philosophy of �fighting for what was rightfully their own’ that united them into a common mission, although their methods or means to that common end might have been different from each other’s. The latter did not matter. The lesson to draw is that along with grit and determination, children must also develop a mature belief-system that guides them through life.

STEADFAST

Steadfastness of purpose is yet another element that unites our group of freedom fighters. They might have begun their individual battles, fought for the common cause of liberating India from the clutches of British tyranny. But had they NOT been steadfast, stubborn, with a dogged persuasion and self-motivation, they would have fallen by the wayside, having list sight of their goal. Many times in life, children give up too, because they are not steadfast, something that they can learn and incorporate in their own lives, from these great men and women.

DREAMERS

Sometimes as elders we tell our children not to dream. And this is a colossal mistake. Had these five brave men and women not seen a common dream, not dreamt of a free, independent India, their purpose would never have taken shape in the form of the movements they each led so heroically. It was this inconceivable dream that Gandhi, Naidu, Bhagat Singh, Bose and Laxmi Bai dreamt, that made them firm in their mission and resolve. It is a lovely and necessary thing to dream, and to dream big, and we would be wise to teach children the same life lesson.

Aged, Ancient, Antique, Army, Art, Asia, Background
The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do. Pixabay

ACTION-ORIENTED

Finally, it is absolutely vital for us to understand, and communicate to our children, the importance of putting plans into action. Too often, in classrooms or in boardrooms, much discussion takes place, much strategizing is done, to no avail. Alas, plans, remain plans, never seeing the light of day, unexecuted, they stay in dusty files, physical, virtual. The lesson to draw ultimately from our set of incredible freedom fighters is that plans they drew up in their lives, they had the courage, the will, the strength, and the sheer guts, to execute them. And we must as well, in our lives. Particularly for children, it is imperative that they understand that thought has to be backed-up with action.

ALSO READ: Living Near a Major Road or Highway Can Cause Neurological Diseases

The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do, in order to come together to fight off the different types of menace that face us today. These are the lessons we ought to impart to the younger generation, for it is the Children of today, that will be the saviors of tomorrow. And the lessons are all in our very own history, to draw from! (IANS)