Will Banning Porn Fix the Military's Sexual Assault Problem?

No. No it won't. But Congress is feeling like they have to show face for the abysmal state of sexual assaults in the military, and they're not going to just sit on their hands with this whole sexual assault thing! They're going to do something. Something that doesn't even come close to changing a culture that has resulted in over 20% of female veterans reporting being assaulted while serving, but hey, it's something...

They're discussing banning porn. Well, they're considering enforcing the ban on porn that is already in place more strictly. The Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996 (a name that conjures images of a crying bald eagle holding a door open for me), basically bans porn from military bases and ships already. It requires the Department of Defense to confiscate all sexually explicit material, but the law has been largely ignored in actuality.

Morality in Media, a LOL group that wants to make sure boobies stay far, far away from any media you could possibly consume, is the driving force behind making sure men and women in service aren't looking at Sasha Grey anal shots. They've been on a mission to stop the sale of porn on bases, and published photos from military bases displaying boobie mags like Playboy for sale, which violates the current law enforced. But if they think that dudes are jerking it to the relatively soft-core smut in the pages of Playboy, Morality in Media is sadly misinformed. Don't they know about the Internet, and the vast universe of porn that holds?

Military.com asked anti-porn activist Gail Dines about the Morality in Media's move: "Forget about Playboy or Penthouse— that's not the problem. We've gone far beyond that." According to Dines, by the time dudes join the military, they've been watching porn that would make Hugh Hefner blush. Okay, she didn't quite say that, but you get the point.

Even if Playboy is now porno light, the military is taking measures to ensure pornographic material isn't around. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued an order in June requiring all bases to check for "obscene" material, but the order didn't mandate searching in living spaces and on private computers. You know, the places where people usually keep their porn. The Senate Armed Services Committee similarly added a measure to the 2014 Defense budget bill that would require the DOD to enforce the Military Honor and Decency Act more strictly.

But behind the push to remove all pornographic material from the military, despite that being a seemingly unfeasible task, is the misinformed opinion that watching porn causes dudes to rape or sexually assault women. While it makes sense that the military would seek to remove pornographic material in the workplace, to link porn to sexual assaults directly is more than a stretch. In fact, studies show that making any correlation between the two is pretty much bullshit. Morality in Media is pushing the claim that porn is a major factor in military assaults. But porn didn't cause an estimated 19,000 assaults, the majority of which are committed against service members by service members. And if Morality in Media and certain members Congress believes that porn is the issue, it only shows the cluelessness of officials as to how to "fix" the military's sexual assault problem in the first place.

[The Daily Beast]

Image via Associated Press