(CNSNews.com) — The Arkansas General Assembly has declared that “pornography has created a public health crisis,” leading to a broad “spectrum” of public health “impacts and societal harms.” The Assembly also stated that pornography can increase “the demand for prostitution and the sex trafficking and slavery of children and young adults, primarily girls.”
The Resolution, HR 1042, is an official recognition by the Arkansas government. It is not a law. It reflects the official view of the legislature and a copy of the Resolution is sent to the director of the Department of Health in Arkansas. Similar resolutuions have passed in South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia, and in the State Senate in Tennessee. The Arkansas resolution passed the Assembly on March 28.
Introduced by Rep. Karilyn Brown, the Arkansas resolution in part says, “pornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children by depicting rape and abuse as if such acts are harmless…. [D]ue to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, the average age of exposure to pornography is currently 11 to 12 years of age.”
Further, exposure to porn may “lead to the hypersexualization of teenagers and even prepubescent children” and “research indicates that pronography is potentially biologically addictive.”
“[P]ornography can increase the demand for prostitution and the sex trafficking and slavery of children and young adults, primarily girls,” and “pornography use can be linked to lessening desire to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity,” states the resolution. Also, “this link demonstrates that pornography can have a detrimental effect on the family,” and, as a multi-billion-dollar industry, pornography’s “influences are reaching the highest levels of society and government.”
As a result, the Arkansas Assembly recognizes the “public health crisis created by pornography and the sexually toxic environment it perpetuates and acknowledge the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal levels in order to address the epidemic that is harming the people of our state and our country as a whole.”
Commenting on Arkansas’s actions, Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said, “Personal stories from millennials who experienced negative side effects from exposure to Internet pornography at a young age, and peer-reviewed research, combine to paint a clear picture: pornography harms individuals regardless of age, race, or sexual orientation.”
“Research shows that pornography is linked to decreased erectile function, increased rates of sexual violence, and several neurological harms,” said Hawkins. “For instance, since 2009 there have been 30 neurological studies showing that pornography is linked to negative impacts on brain structure and function, including actual shrinkage of brain regions used for motivation and decision making.
“I’m grateful that Arkansas elected officials are recognizing both the science about pornography’s harmful impacts and the individual accounts of those effected.”
A report — Pornography: A Public Health Crisis — by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation can be read here.