New U.K. Laws Combat Violent Porn

LONDON – Nearly three years after Jane Longhurst was strangled by a sex-addict in Britain, the British Government today announced plans for new laws to combat violent Internet pornography.

Major efforts to clamp down on violent porn sites in Britain took off in 2003, on the heels of Longhurst’s murder and in response to pressure from the victim’s mother. Longhurst had been strangled with a pair of tights by Graham Coutts, an amateur musician who police say was propelled by a seven-year obsession with necrophilia and asphyxial sex.

Court documents report Coutts had hundreds of images related to his obsessions on his computer when he killed the 31-year-old special-needs teacher.

Though producing extreme adult websites has been illegal in Britain for years, viewing such sites has not, leading analysts to speculate that the planned laws will cover viewing, ostensibly placing such sites on the same legal platform as child pornography.

How British officials will enforce such a law remains to be seen, however, as most extreme sites are hosted in countries with little or no obscenity regulations.

Public opinion differs on the effects of violent pornography, as does the scientific research. University of Michigan Law professor Catharine MacKinnon and author Andrea Dworkin have written volumes claiming not only that pornography leads to violence against women, but also that the making of pornography involves violence against women.

Meanwhile, sociologist Richard Felson points out that rapists tend to have less exposure to pornography than most, and, according to University of Copenhagen criminology professor Dr. Berl Kuchinsky, data on the viewing of rape and other violent or sexual material has shown no obvious effects on behavior. “[Where violent pornography] has become widely and easily available during the period we have dealt with would seem to exclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this availability has not had any detrimental effects in the form of increased sexual violence," Kuchinsky wrote in a recent criminology study. “This finding is not so strange. Most other research data we have about pornography and rape suggests that pornography does not represent a blueprint for violence.”

Meanwhile, The Jane Longhurst Campaign Against Violent Internet Pornography has, according to the BBC, received 32,000 signatures so far in its campaign to ban extreme adult websites in the UK.