Pornography

Current Status

Motion M-47 (2016)

In 2016 MP Arnold Viersen has introduced a motion calling for the Standing Committee on Health to study the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men. The EFC has posted a sample letter that individuals can use to write to their MP in support of Motion M-47.

General Background

Pornography, with the exception of child pornography, is dealt with under the Criminal Code offence of obscenity [Section 162]. Obscenity is defined as any publication that unduly exploits sex or portrays sex with violence, crime, horror or cruelty as its dominant characteristic. The courts decide when the exploitation of sex is "undue" by considering community standards of tolerance and the risk of harm that may flow from exposure to the material. This test asks what Canadians would not tolerate other Canadians being exposed to, not what they would tolerate being exposed to themselves. It is subjective and is interpreted very narrowly, allowing much to escape the definition of obscenity.

The possession and distribution of child pornography was specifically made an offence in 1993. The Criminal Code [in Section 163.1] defines child pornography as any visual representation of explicit sexual activity involving anyone under the age of 18 or depicted as under 18, other visual representations of a sexual nature of a person under 18, and written material or visual depictions that advocate or counsel illegal sexual activity involving underage persons. There are defences based on artistic merit, and medical and educational purposes.

In January 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a challenge to the child pornography law by John Robin Sharpe. The court did make an exception for works of the mind that were used only by the person who created the work.

In March 2002, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled again on the pornographic works in the possession of John Robin Sharpe.  Mr. Justice Shaw ruled that written works were not criminalized under the child pornography provisions of the Criminal Code unless they actively encouraged sexual abuse of children. He also ruled that written works enjoyed broad protection under the "artistic merit" defence if they showed any literary qualities.

The Child Exploitation Bill (C-2) was passed by the Senate in July 2005. This bill is intended to protect “children and other vulnerable persons from sexual exploitation, violence, abuse and neglect,” by broadening the definition of child pornography, increasing maximum penalties for offences, as well as decreasing the number of legitimate defences by adding offences to the Criminal Code and Canada Evidence Act. [1]

This 2005 law replaces the artistic merits defence with the ‘legitimate purpose’ defence, which puts the onus on the accused to prove their material to be in the “pursuit of justice, science, medicine, education, or art, and [that it] does not pose an undue risk of harm to children.” C-2 also protects police officers and/or doctors who would employ such material in an authoritative and trustworthy capacity.

In November 2009 the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-58, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service. The bill eventually became law. Details the the EFC's blog and specifically this post.

Footnotes

[1] Press Release, “Minister of Justice Introduces Legislation to Protect Children and other vulnerable persons as first bill in New Parliament,” (2004) http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/nr/2004/doc_31246.html [7 July 2005], Department of Justice Canada.

Statistics

Children and Pornography

Children who are victims of pornography often feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame, and are usually psychologically and emotionally scarred for the rest of their life; as a result, many of the “children … enter into the world of prostitution, and … grow up to be abusers themselves.” [2] For victims of pornography who have taken a stand, publicly or privately, against the sexual exploitation of children, the tendency to see themselves as objects to be sold rather than people who are important and matter is a constant struggle.

A direct link has been established between pornography and child abuse, which is evident when one considers pedophiles, people who are likely to live out their fantasies once they have watched videos and movies that affirm the normalcy of their desires. [3] Various studies have shown that between 35 and 50 percent of people who collect child pornography have a history of abusing children, and a study conducted by Watch Foundation ranked Canada as the number four provider of child pornography to the Internet, due to the fact that Canadians accounted for 36 percent of all images found on the day of the survey. [4]

According to a study conducted by Microsoft, 25 percent of children who have a computer in their home have been invited to meet a stranger with whom they had chatted online. [5] As well, about 70 percent of all pornographic material falls into the hands of 12 to 17 year olds. [6]

Adults and Pornography

According to Victor Cline, a clinical psychologist who has treated over 350 sexual addicts, pornography has been a major or minor contributor or facilitator in the acquisition of their [sex addicts] sexual Illnesses.” [7] For nearly all of Dr. Cline’s patients’, the struggle with pornography began when they were exposed to it at a young age, with an increasing frequency of exposure as they grew into their adolescents, resulting in addiction during their adult life. [8] Because addiction to pornography is usually a secret part of a man or woman’s life, it is very difficult to control, since no one is able to hold them accountable.  Studies indicate that once a person is addicted to pornography, they he or she is increasingly unable to control their thoughts and actions.  For instance, if a person addicted to pornographic movies and videos passes a place of business that sells or rents those products, that person is unable to continue past it until they have rented or bought something.  This often results in a devastation of trust between husband and wife, and many such cases lead to separation or divorce. 

If you are experiencing addiction to pornography, there are Sexaholics Anonymous’ throughout the world.  To get find out the location of meetings in your province, click here .

Footnotes

[2] Victims of Violence, “Research: Child Pornography,” (2004)http://www.victimsofviolence.on.ca/research.html [18 July 2005].
[3] Ibid.
[4] Factoids, “Stealing Innocence: Child Pornography in Canada,” (2003) http://www.listenuptv.com/programs/020207porn.htm [7 July 2005] ListenUp.
[5] The Fifth estate, “Landslide porn laws in Canada,” (2003) http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/landslide/laws.html [7 July 2005] CBC News.
[6] Factoids.
[7] Victor B. Cline, “Treatment and Healing of Sexual and Pornographic Addictions,” (2005) http://obscenitycrimes.org/vbctreat.cfm
[8] Victor B. Cline, “Treatment and Healing of Sexual and Pornographic Addictions,” (2005)http://obscenitycrimes.org/vbctreat.cfm ObscenityCrimes.org.

What You Can Do

Keep your thoughts and deeds pure.
Parents need to teach their children biblical principles, and discuss what their children are watching and hearing on Television and other forms of media. Parents should block cyberporn with software and keep computers in open rooms of the home (not in children's bedrooms).
Pastors should warn their congregations about the dangers and effects of pornography.
Citizens should express their concern to elected officials, or write into the newspaper.
Sign petitions.
Become informed.

Information Sources

One recommended organization for information and activism ideas is the group Defend Dignity, which the EFC has partnered with for a number of years on issues of sexual exploitation. The group holds information evenings in various cities, and EFC leaders often speak at these events alongside various experts.

A major group in the United States is the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Motion M-47 (2016)

In 2016 MP Arnold Viersen has introduced a motion calling for the Standing Committee on Health to study the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men. The EFC has posted a sample letter that individuals can use to write to their MP in support of Motion M-47.

 

Resources