In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
“Some of the most traumatised people I have met are trafficked women whose customers have insisted –sometimes forcefully– on replicating acts from porn films”, explains lawyer expert on pornography Dr. Ann Olivarius.
Dr. Ann Olivarius is a lawyer and senior partner of MacAllister-Olivarius, an international law firm which works in the UK and the USA (New York).
She explained that, although “those who grow up in today’s pornified world understandably find it hard to see the harms, I see the harms. I am a lawyer, practising in the US and in the UK, and I spend some of my days – more than I like – cleaning up the messes of the porn industry.”
Olivarius recalled when she received a call from a woman in the Midwest of the US, because the high school friends of her daughter, Sallie, aged 16, had abused her while she was intoxicated and filmed the abuse on their phones. She woke up the next morning not remembering what had happened and found out that the clips had already been distributed throughout the school. Two days later, Sallie killed herself.
“I did all I could to help the grieving mother, but the legal options were limited. Since then, those sorts of calls have become a regular event”, the lawyer wrote.
This practice, called revenge pornography, was “invented by the porn industry" (the first revenge porn pictures were published in Hustler in 1980), which “is also interested in maintaining this 'profitable' practice, just the same way as it continues finding new ways to abuse women, and sometimes men, to create new demands.”
“Some victims of revenge pornography fight back, others go into hiding or into institutions and others to their graves. But the images live on, mostly on those porn sites”, Olivarius pointed out.
The lawyer also told the stories of porn actors and actresses who are their clients, and are left with nothing when they finish working.
“This is not an industry in which performers can grow old, have a pension, guaranteed holidays, or job security. It is one where women are abused for the sexual gratification of viewers. The oppression of women is inherent to the stories it conveys”, she explained.
ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION
One of the biggest problems of pornography is the people “who force pornographic sexual acts on others, often believing they have the right to do so. After all, in porn, women respond with pleasure when forced and hurt.”
“We have also dealt with cases of adults who use pornography to groom children into sex, or who use porn as justification for their sexual violence against children and women. And some of the most traumatised people I have met are trafficked women whose customers have insisted – sometimes forcefully and always believing consent is something they can buy – on replicating acts from porn films”, Olivarius lamented.
Addiction to porn at a young age, is also a very common issue, teenagers whose brain “ was addicted to the instant gratification they got from porn”, and it is very difficult for them to have normal sexual relationships afterwards.
She told the case of Henry, who “fell in love, and was lucky enough to be loved back. But no matter how hard he tried; he could not enjoy sex with her. It wasn’t the same as he thought it should be. Henry wanted our help to see if he had grounds to take action against the porn industry that has taken the pleasure of intimate sex from him. He is now an activist fighting the harms pornography does to men.”
IS PORNOGRAPHY OPPRESSIVE?
Last December, Ann Olivarius spoke in favour of the motion that "pornography is inherently oppressive" at the Cambridge Union debate about that issue. 44% voted for the proposition, 33% opposed and 23% abstained.
Dr Olivarius hopes that “this signifies the beginning of a real push back against the porn industry; that young people will not allow it to distort and degrade their own sexuality and sexual preferences, not any more.”