Australians rally to defeat online porn

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Nearly half a million signatures have been signed so far to end internet pornography dragon Pornhub

A global petition with over 400,000 signatures is now circulating to hold internet pornography giant Pornhub accountable for human rights abuses against child trafficking and underage pornography with the goal to shut them down. The petition, started by American anti-trafficking group Exodus Cry, is supported in Australia by Collective Shout – an advocacy group against the sexualisation of women and minors in advertising and media. Collective Shout founder Melinda Tankard-Reist told The Catholic Weekly that facilitation of human trafficking, rape and underage sexual abuse are endemic in internet pornography with Australia being a large consumer of internet porn.

Melinda Tankard-Reist
Melinda Tankard-Reist on stage at the 2017 Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“Australia has a massive viewing audience on Pornhub,” she said. “There are children being trafficked and young women who have been raped and their rape videos are being uploaded,” she said.

Australia has a massive viewing audience on Pornhub

The activist highlighted the case of a 15 year old girl in the US who went missing and was found with 58 sexually explicit videos featuring adult men uploaded on Pornhub.
“There are cases of children being abused on Pornhub – children being trafficked and young women who have been raped and their rape videos are being uploaded,” she said.
“Pornhub is normalising violence against women for gratification.” Human trafficking and slavery are part and parcel of numerous giant pornography companies, she said.
“We have modern slavery and global trade for the bodies of human beings for a variety of industries including internet pornography.”

The porn industry’s biggest victim: young children

“Pornhub is profiting from the rape and sexual violation of children and teenage girls. It really shows who they are. They put porn profits ahead of the dignity of women and girls. This is an unethical corporation that is profiting from sexual exploitation.”

This is an unethical corporation that is profiting from sexual exploitation

“There is callousness – a brutalisation – where anyone is up for grabs to be used for profits – for corporate profits,” she said. “[Collective Shout] are equipping people to say ‘we have had enough of this and want to see change’ said Ms Tankard-Reist, who noted victories in the road to change in the last year. “We bought down two porn magazines that have been in Australia for 80 years in 7 weeks: Picture and People magazines. We are fighting for a world free of sexual exploitation”

Sydney theologian Matthew Tan speaking at the University of Notre Dame Sydney PHOTO: Robert Hiini

In an essay reflecting on what enables pornography to flourish which he shared with The Catholic Weekly, University of Notre Dame Australia senior Theology lecturer Dr Matthew Tan said people today are content to live in the world of 24-hour news, social media, smartphones and massive online role playing games. “All the while [they are] under the tutelage of leaders of whom our knowledge is filtered by media-generated profiles. In these and other ways, we live in a virtual world in which beholding simulations of real life, images of actual things, are the norm rather than the exception,” he wrote.

“Pornography’s toxicity, then, does not make sense outside the toxicity that is already at work in the cult of possibility.” The fight against internet pornography also needs to be a fight against these disconnected modes of behaviour that many participate in that enable a ‘pornographic’ mindset, he wrote. “Given the entrenchment of pornography’s logic in so many institutions and practices, it is going to take more than just mere abstention from pornography to combat its influence,” he wrote.

To sign the petition visit www.change.org and search for ‘Shut Down Pornhub.’