Ottawa To Study The Effects Of Violent Pornography

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OTTAWA — MPs will soon study the effects of easily viewing violent, sexually explicit and degrading content online on the behaviour of children, women and men.

Alberta Conservative MP Arnold Viersen noted in the Commons Monday that he has received all-party support for his motion. The motion, M-47, is the result of mail from several parents and groups in Viersen’s riding to the first time MP urging him to do something that could lead to better protection of young people online.

arnold viersen
Conservative MP Arnold Viersen speaks in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

“When most people think of the term ‘pornography,’ they think of nude pictures Playboy started publishing throughout the 1960s and onward,” he said during a debate in the House.

“Today's pornography is much different. In fact, it is telling that only a year ago, Playboy announced it would stop publishing nude pictures because it was not profitable any more. The market has shifted to much more explicit material, and the vast majority of it features violence and degradation.”

'Let that sink in for a moment'

Viersen, a father of two young children, said sexually explicit websites get more traffic each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter, combined. Thirty-five per cent of all Internet downloads are sexually explicit, he said. And nearly 90 per cent of mainstream sexually explicit content features violence against women, he said in his speech.

“Sexually explicit material has become the primary source of information about sex and is a significant factor on influencing sexual behaviours of children and adolescents.

“Let that sink in for a moment,” he said.

"Boys and girls are taught that violent and degrading sexual behaviour is acceptable and expected.”


“A $97-billion industry that makes up 35 per cent of all internet downloads, that is easily accessible by the click of a button, that primarily features violence and degradation of women, is the primary sexual educator of our youth, starting from the age of 12,” he said.

“As a result, boys and girls are taught that violent and degrading sexual behaviour is acceptable and expected.”

As he researched the issue, Viersen said, he was reminded of the heartbreaking story of Rehtaeh Parsons, the teenager who committed suicide after being raped and then humiliated online.

“I remember asking myself: ‘What gave these boys the idea that it was okay to objectify and assault a heavily intoxicated young woman and what gave them the idea that sharing the pictures of this event online was normal?’,” he said. “It was a story that moved me deeply.”

rehtaeh parsons vigil
A woman holds a photo as several hundred people attend a community vigil to remember Rehtaeh Parsons at Victoria Park in Halifax on April 11, 2013. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

He reached out to Parsons’ mother, Leah, who was one of the first people to support his motion.

Quebec NDP MP Christine Moore, a former nurse, said the advent of online pornography has caused public health concerns, such as addiction to viewing it.

"Unfortunately, these people will often go looking for more and more explicit content,” she said.

Health professionals have also noticed, she said, that more and more young males are developing erectile problems when they find themselves in real life and in a real sexual relationship.

"Unfortunately, these people will often go looking for more and more explicit content.”

“They are unable to obtain an erection because they are used to being sexual excited with other materials,” she said. “So it becomes even more problematic.”

Viersen said he hopes his motion will come to a vote before the Christmas break.

–Translation by Althia Raj

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