Recognizing that domestic violence can be reinforced and shaped by issues like prior childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and pornography is essential to conversations surrounding prevention and recovery efforts.
According to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, domestic violence intersects with pornography in three ways:
- Pornography sets expectations of violence and abuse. Pornography fosters aggression by normalizing and depicting verbal and physical violence as enjoyable.
- Sometimes abusers use pornography to manipulate victims. Behaviors like threatening, isolating, gas lighting and more, are hallmarks of domestically abusive relationships. The term “revenge pornography” is often not connected to domestic violence or abusive relationships, but the reality is that these phenomena often overlap.
Pornography use by domestic abusers can increase the odds of sexual assault. In a study of 271 battered women, it was found that 30% of the abusers reportedly used pornography. The study concluded that “the majority of women (58%) whose abusers used pornography acknowledged that the pornography had affected their abuse.”