Women's Rights Advocates and Sex Trade Survivors Rally Against PornHub Pop-Up
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the National Organization for Women-New York (NOW-NY), and feminist author and leader Gloria Steinem held a press conference today to highlight the detrimental impact the PornHub pop-up shop has on our culture and to call on elected officials to halt the expansion of more pop-ups in New York City. Joined by sex trade survivors, the group asserted that the physical presence of PornHub, an Internet warehouse of graphic, violent pornographic videos, promotes and normalizes sexual violence against women and girls.
The groups were joined by supporters from around the city who are concerned about the proliferation and unchecked accessibility of pornography online that is contributing to boys' and young people's understanding of sexuality and to a broader rape culture that normalizes violence against women. The PornHub site's titles include "Picking up a Schoolgirl for a Quick Drive Home," "Jap Maid Serves the House Guest," "Hot Innocent Teen Gives Grandpa a Blowjob." Viewers pick the women by race or categories, like "stepdaughter," "gangbang," or "barely legal."
"At a time when we are beginning to dismantle the fear many sexual violence victims have from speaking out, the last thing our society needs is a storefront promoting violence against women," said Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women- New York (NOW-NY). "We are creating a dangerous precedent when we glorify this pop-up, even if on the surface it appears harmless, PornHub and similar sites are teaching young men that the violence they see is normal and accepted."
Protesters called out the way PornHub crosses the line on the exploitation of women, promoting racist language and stereotypes and selling violence against women and girls.
"As long as porn is seen as synonymous with sex, people will defend it, but in fact, pornography is about power, not sex," said Gloria Steinem. "We need to make the difference clear to save the lives and shared humanity of both men and women."
Studies have found that the consumption of pornography is associated with the perpetuation of male physical and psychological violence against women and rape myths.
"Many survivors of the sex trade, including me, can testify that our pimps or traffickers have brought cameras into the room to get our rapes on film," said Melanie Thompson, 21, who was trafficked in Queens at the age of 12. "You had to smile and submit, or face the consequences from your buyer and your pimp. You had to deal with it, whatever that was."
The website PornHub is just a parcel of the multi-billion dollar sex industry that profits from exploitation, dehumanization, and the sex trafficking of the most marginalized people. It opened its storefront in November 2017 and is planning to open additional storefronts throughout the city and across Europe.
"PornHub is grooming the next generation of sexual predators," said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of CATW. "If New Yorkers want to honor the #MeToo movement and end sexual violence, we must make the connections and stop mainstreaming the sex trade."
The National Organization for Women New York (NOW-NY) advocates for women and girls across our state by working to defend reproductive rights, fight economic inequality, and end discrimination and violence against women.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations working to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of women and girls worldwide. CATW engages in advocacy, education and prevention programs, and services for victims of trafficking and CSE in Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
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