Presented to the Parliament of South Australia Social Development Committee Canberra Hearing 12 May 1995. Prepared by Maureen Tully of the Australian Federation for the Family ACT


Prostitution - A Case for Harm

Prostitution Then and Now

Casualties of Prostitution

Pornography: Prostitution's Advertising Arm

The Effect of the Sex Industry on Children


Attachment 1 Sex Crimes and Pornography: The Link

Attachment 2 Submission by Dr Judith Reisman to the Australian Senate Select Committee on Community Standards April 1992

Attachment 3 Conned by Condoms

© Australian Federation for the Family ACT (AFFACT) PO Box 768 Jamison ACT 2614 12 May 1995


Prostitution is simply one aspect of a massive sex-exploitation industry, comprising brothels, escort agencies, gay agencies, child prostitution, paedophile groups, pornography, lobby groups and sex shops. It is a massive industry composed of small investors, individuals, large concerns and organised crime.

If you support legalisation of this industry, you will be legislating immorality. You are on the verge of crossing a cultural Rubicon - which means, of course, that you are making a decision that cannot be changed. The profound change you will initiate in Australian society will result in such a fragmentation of the family that it may never recover. One simply cannot contend or pretend otherwise.

In even assessing the need for such a change, it has become all too apparent that the sexual exploitation industry has suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. This industry is seeking a substantive justification for its exploitative practices. You could be the author of that justification.

I am here to represent a growing apprehension that a tidal wave of misinformation fostered by the sex-for profit industry, might actually engulf Australian life and culture. These people are tireless morals crusaders: they are determined to impose their anti-family morals on the community. They are trying to convince you to accept their vices as virtues. The families of Australia beg you not to hand them the key to achieving their goal: legislative legitimacy.

We ask you not to legislate in favour of legalised prostitution under the assumption that whatever is right is actually good. That whatever is good is actually just, and that whatever is just is actually merciful. The kindest and most compassionate message we can convey to prostitutes and their pimps is an unwavering rejection. Like any cult or extremist group we must reject their overtures for our own safety and their quickest assimilation back into society.

The ACT government's faith in the propaganda disseminated by this industry is touching, but is completely and entirely unfounded. The flesh-for-hire industry, having conned the ACT government is now attempting to force South Australian society to accept these vices as virtues and must laugh long and hard when yet another shallow innocent falls prey to their disinformation and solicits new customers for them.

South Australians will not thank you for foisting ACT experiments in social engineering on the populace.

The Distant Past Chroniclers of past ages tell us that societies that have legitimised prostitution have seen total social collapse. Societies who profligately indulged in every form of promiscuous pleasure woke from their orgies in time to witness social destruction. Historians from Thucydides to Herodotus, Himelfarb to Scholssberg have documented that the social collapse of Greco-Romanism was rooted in the moral collapse of Greco-Romanism. The reason is as simple as it is universal: just as liberty and equality are opposite extremes often contrary to freedom, so sensuality and satisfaction are opposite extremes often contrary to happiness. There is, in fact, no real connection between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of pleasure, as happiness is founded on the value of something eternal, whereas pleasure is founded on the value of something ephemeral.

The Recent Past in Australia When I was a child, prostitution was thoroughly vilified. It was accurately seen as a callous exploitation of women for money and a scourge to the security of the family. An industry that attempted to recruit daughters, wives and sisters to be used as sex objects and whores was reasonably viewed with disgust. Legislation inhibited its practice and activity.

The Present in Canberra Presently we have a situation where the open practice of prostitution perpetrates the sexual harassment of the remainder of Canberra’s women. Women are regularly propositioned in Fyshwick and Mitchell as if all were prostitutes. Regular ads appear in The Canberra Times attempting to recruit fresh staff. For a scientific and objective psychological assessment of the impact of this pressure I have an attachment for your consideration.

The Future in Australia Today's actions have consequences in the future: CES benefits may one day be tied to accepting a job in this industry. Legitimacy will see Australians being recruited at younger and younger ages to an industry thirsting for young healthy bodies: pressure to lower the age of consent is undoubtedly linked to future exploitation. These children will be discarded when their minds, bodies and spirits are despoiled - which doesn’t take long. One can predict that TAFE colleges around the country will be running courses in a new area of the hospitality industry - Prostitution 1 and 2 - no doubt long since pioneered by the Canberra Institute of Technology. Today parents are concerned that fast-food companies are sponsoring facilities in schools - tomorrow it could be the sex industry. Children's sport is an obvious target for sponsorship. Legislative legitimacy can only feed an industry desperate to expand into new markets! I contend that you will be the authors of a great leap forward in this industry’s bid for community acceptance if you bow to their pressure for validity.

Casualties of Prostitution

Recovery/Addiction Groups The Salvation Army amongst many counselling organisations will inform you that there are growing numbers of individuals seeking counselling for so-called sexual addiction. Desperate people make contact with prostitutes hoping to assuage their anguish and loneliness, but many end up experiencing an even greater alienation. They seek counselling to escape from emotional damage sustained as a result of anonymous sex in the bars, brothels and bathhouses that promise human contact, but instead serve only to exacerbate the isolation suffered by these people. To thus say that prostitution serves a socially desirable function is to be taken in by a short-term con.

Sickness, Injury and Death Around the world, legislation liberalising prostituion and pornography has failed to inhibit rape, STD's,AIDS or unwanted pregnancies as promised (the supposed cathartic effect). Instead, the risk of disease, misery and divorce for the men and women who buy these wretched products and services has dramatically increased. How many of you present today will take responsibility for any increase in deaths in SA? Will the South Australian government be sued in the future for damages resulting from participation in a government sanctioned new industry?

The Canberra Times reported on the 25th of November 1992 that the ACT’s sexual assault rate had tripled that year alone - it would have declined if this industry was telling the truth! And yet, our politicians defend this lobby group as if they were in the forefront of the battle against violence or exploitation of women. In 1993 the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions reported a massive 137% increase and in 1994 the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the ACT leads the nation in sexual assaults against women. The sex industry insists that their dehumanising portrayal of women in no way contributes to the rate of sexual assault against women. Do you believe them? The ACT government does!

The ACT Government's also has faith in chemical and mechanical methodology to avoid venereal disease and/or pregnancy. This too is obviously genuine, but is also completely and entirely unfounded. Safe sex is an illusion. Around the world, safe-sex programmes have failed to inhibit either AIDS or unwanted pregnancies and have dramatically increased the risk of severe medical problems for the men and women who follow this advice.

The prime mover in this propaganda in the United States is Planned Parenthood and yet, according to its own survey, conducted in 1986, teenagers who took comprehensive sex education courses had a 50% higher rate of sexual activity than their peers, and yet the courses had no significant effect on their contraceptive usage. The conclusion (one that even their own researchers have been unable to escape) is that sex education courses only exacerbate the teenage pregnancy and disease problem. Legal brothels further exacerbate this problem. Taken together, those lies comprise The Lie: the Myth of Safe Sex. The truth is, each promoter of these ideas has become a veritable Typhoid Mary - actually encouraging the spread of syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, granuloma, chancroid and even AIDS. Do some dislike prostitutes and homosexuals so much that they want to KILL them? Because that’s exactly what’s happening when those in power lend their weight to this lie. The truth must be told: high risk behaviour leads to disease or even death. The Pill, with it’s annual in-use failure rate of up to eleven percent, still leaves its users totally unguarded against these diseases, while barrier devices offer only limited extra protection, due to in-use mechanical failure - leaks, breaks, tears, slippage and spillage. Barrier effectiveness has been estimated to be AT BEST 82%. It is also common knowledge that a common ‘game’ played by brothel ‘customers’ is to try to get the prostitute to agree to sex without the condom. The brothel industry is not by any stretch of the imagination in the forefront of the battle against disease. It is instead part of the problem, serving as a conduit for ‘unsafe’ sexual practices. We simply cannot contend or pretend otherwise. I’ll say it again, the flesh-for-hire industry is attempting to force society to accept their vices as virtues.

Pornography: Prostitution's Advertising Arm

As it is now scientifically quantifiable and legally definable that pornography degrades all women (the Canadian Supreme Court ruled so unanimously in February of 1992) will someone please explain to the South Australian Government why we also need to have pornography restricted? Pornography is a tool for recruiting clients for the prostitution industry.

The direct link is best exemplified by the recruitment and subsequent behaviour of visitors to the Canberra Summernats - a car enthusiasts rally, held in Canberra over the last few years. Summernat organisers featured a public strip show (without age regulations) held in the evenings, wet-T-shirt competitions during the day and free buses provided by the sex industry for tours of their establishments. Free tickets for the buses were given out in showbags given to all attendees. Loutish behaviour increased dramatically until the entire event had to be temporarily banned due to drunken riots, violence in the streets and damage to property. Women were harassed and molested and police reported rapes. The concept of ‘Nonviolent erotica’ is an illusion. I would like to gently point out that pornography IS violence - violence against ALL women. Visual violence readily translates to physical violence as we saw at the Summernats. Discount tickets to brothels and sex shops are still sometimes distributed at clubs and association meetings in Canberra, although most groups reject them.

Over 145 scientific papers published during the last 10 years on the development of sexual callousness from consuming violent and non-violent pornography found:

  • Rape is seen as a less serious criminal offence. Shorter sentences are recommended for a convicted rapist by both men and women.
  • Most sexual practices seem more prevalent than they are.
  • Callousness toward women and the sexual abuse of women increases.
  • There is heightened dissatisfaction with existing sexual relationships and diminished caring for and trust in one’s partner
  • Evaluations of the victim’s ‘worthlessness’ are significantly increased.
  • There is an increase in callousness toward the suffering experienced by child victims
  • There is a self-reported increase in the likelihood of forcing sexual acts on a woman
  • Even very brief exposure to standard pornography featuring attractive women changed the way men perceived their female sexual partners
  • They significantly under appreciated their mate’s sexual appeal
  • They showed less affection for their mates • Dissatisfaction with their intimate partner increased.

J Weaver, ‘Pornography and Men’s Sexual Callousness Toward Women’, Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations (Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989) pp. 95-125.

Law enforcement agencies have collected extensive data showing that people convicted of serial murders, sex crimes and child molestation often used pornography. An FBI study of all serial murderers in American prisons revealed that 81% reported significant pornography consumption, making pornography one of the most common profile characteristics of serial murders and rapists. “When the offenders were asked to rank their sexual interests, the highest ranking activity was pornography (81%), followed by compulsive masturbation (79%), fetishism (72%) and voyeurism (71%). It is interesting to note the seemingly solitary pattern of these sexual expressions.” The Men Who Murdered, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Aug 1985, p 4.

Through computerised literature searches and personal conversations with recognised authorities, Dr John Lyons and David Larson, MD, identified 152 empirical studies on the effects of pornography from 1971 to the present. As a form of quality control, they used only peer-reviewed studies, but these included most of the important studies in the field. Thus, the final analysis was based on eighty-one research studies of audio or visual pornographic materials, all of which had previously been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The studies were classified into three categories of results based on evidence of effects on arousal, attitudes or behaviour. The conclusion: Systematic research results suggest that exposure to pornography does have important causal impact. The majority of studies found a causal association between exposure to pornography and both aggression towards women and the development of rape myth attitudes and beliefs. This means that pornographic material not only arouses sexually, as it was designed to do, it arouses to the point that it changes attitudes and beliefs and causes more aggressive behaviour. The causal impact was particularly pronounced for exposure to violent pornography. (Emphasis added)

According to Drs. Lyons and Larson, the most surprising finding was that there were any adverse effects of pornography given the serious restrictions on pornography research. Experimental laboratory studies:

  1. Cannot ethically study subjects most likely at risk from harmful effects of pornography such as children, teenagers, sexual deviants and psychologically unstable individuals;
  2. most often used soft-core or erotica rather than hard-core and violent pornography, which may have produced more adverse effects;
  3. did not study the cumulative effect of heavy exposure to visual pornography over long periods of time (Dr Lyons states that it ‘would be reasonable to propose that if there are effects of a little exposure there should be bigger effects with more exposure’); and
  4. did not study the effect of hard-core pornography consumption compared with masturbation, which is often the real-life practice.

J Lyons and D Larson ‘A Systematic Analysis for the social Science Research on the Effects of Violent and Non-Violent Pornography’ (published in 1992) (Paper delivered to the National Family Foundation Media Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA Nov 1990).

According to the US Department of Justice, law enforcement statistics have reported that ‘pornography’s clientele have a frightening, but not surprising, degree of overlap with the police blotter’s list of sex criminals and violent assaults’.

National Law Centre for Children and Families Fact Sheet on Harms of Pornography (Alexandria, Virginia 1992) “Connections between pornography and violent sex-related crimes, including rape of women and molestation of children have been proved by scientific research and hard data. They are no longer supposition.” (Emphasis added) US Dept. of Justice Press Release (Feb 21, 1987). National Task Force on Child Exploitation and Pornography Created A study by Dr James Check, undertaken in 1984 for the Canadian Frazer Committee on Pornography and Prostitution is a most significant study in that it compares the impact of violent and nonviolent pornography. It is the only study that makes a direct comparison after prolonged consumption. Three classes of pornography were shown to samples of male students and nonstudents for three 30 minute sessions within one or two weeks. Four or five days later, the subjects were tested.

The studies showed that commonly available, non-violent, mainstream hard-core pornography and violent pornography had exactly the same effect on men’s inclination to commit rape. The both significantly elevated a man’s likelihood of committing rape. When it came to the inclination to force women into unwanted sex acts, commonly available non-violent pornography had a substantially greater impact than violent pornography. While the effect of the ideal pornography (material used in sex education without offensive elements) was not as great, it was clearly in the same direction.

This study also revealed that men who score high in terms of psychoticism were most influenced by both common and violent pornography. Also already regular consumers were more strongly affected than those who were not.

Subjects who viewed sexually explicit videos or films at least once per month (relative to those who rarely viewed such materials) were more accepting of rape myths and violence against women, more likely to endorse adversarial sex beliefs and more likely to report that they would rape and force women into unwanted sex acts and were more sexually callous. Regular watchers were particularly likely to report that they might rape, were more sexually callous and reported engaging in more acts of sexual aggression. The greatest effect, and perhaps the greatest cause for alarm, was in response to commonly available, non-violent pornography, the type most prevalent in mainstream commercial entertainment videos. (Emphasis added).

D Zillmann, ‘Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography,’ D Zillmann and J Bryant (eds) Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations (Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989)147-151.

Even critics of the US Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, Linz, Donnerstein and Penrod found in their 1987 studies that: “The 1986 Commission maintained that there was a causal relationship between exposure to sexually violent pornography and negative changes in certain attitudes towards and preconceptions of women as well as increased aggression towards women. This is an accurate statement ...”. Donnerstein, El, Linz,D and Penrod. S., The Question of Pornography: Research Findings and Policy Implications. (New York:Free Press, 1987)

Research indicates that if factors sometimes present in real life pornography consumption - months or years of prolonged exposure for teenagers and sexually deviant makes or consumption of hard-core pornography accompanied by masturbation - the negative impact would be even greater.

Pornography is “material that is predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal”. This accurate definition was used by the 1986 US Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. (Emphasis added) A unanimous ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court on 27 February 1992 asserted the fact that women in Canada have more rights than pornographers in that nation. Pornography that is “degrading, subjugating or dehumanising” is now illegal.

“PORN RULING IS HISTORIC” reads the headline in the Calgary Herald of 28 Feb 92. The article says, “A ruling on sex and pornography issued by the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday will affect women’s rights across the country and around the globe. This is a world historic case. Violence against women is not a Canadian issue, it’s a global issue.” One must ask why the Australian press fails to widely report this “world historic case” dealing with this vital “global issue”? In order to “degrade” a class of people ie; portray them as sex objects or reduce them to nothing more than vehicles to fulfil sexual gratification, violence must be used. No class of people will willingly allow themselves to be deprived of their basic right as a human to be respected and protected by society.

A brief word about so-called “Non-Violent Erotica”. The word ‘violent’ comes from the word ‘violate’ which means “to do violence to”. All pornography, by its very nature, violates a woman’s personal, private space. In so doing, it places all women at risk. Thus no pornography, by definition, can be “non violent”.

“Dehumanising” pornography is now illegal in Canada. In order to dehumanise someone they must be portrayed as an animal or a thing. Australian pornographers frequently present pictures of naked women as if in oestrus- as if already aroused and in poses reminiscent of animal sexuality. Human females do not experience oestrus- only animals do. Not only have we had the now famous case of the naked woman-portrayed-as-a-dog on the cover of an Australian porn magazine, but at present, all women in Australia are blatantly dehumanised in mainstream pornography by being pictured as nothing more than “bitches in heat”. This is clearly subjugation and thus unconscionable.

The violation of women’s rights by “non violent pornography” and the dehumanising and subjugation of women by the multi-national pornography industry is no longer tolerated in Canada. Australian women certainly deserve the same protection as Canadian women now enjoy. Social science has, and is, demonstrating the harmful effects of pornography. Clinicians are having to deal with the shattered lives of pornography’s addicts and victims. Australian society, with the highest rape rate in the developed world, is reeling from a loss of its moral and sexual bearings. Legislators in Australia owe it to the population to enact laws to better protect the basic human rights of all our citizenry.

The Effect of the Sex Industry on Children

Dr James Mason, former US Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, writes about the disastrous affects of pornography on children and warns, “These effects include what is called ‘traumatic sexualisation’ which is the result of a child being coerced into viewing and participating in a broad range of sexual experiences. This experience can produce and obsession with or aversion to, sex and intimacy.”

“Clinical studies of children suffering from traumatic sexualisation show a range of pathological responses: sexual dysfunction, preoccupation with sexual activity, sleep disorders, withdrawal from other children and adults and an inclination to act out what they have seen or experienced. Convincing long and short term clinical studies demonstrate that these disorders may last a lifetime.” Pornography and Public Health, Introduction to Surgeon General’s Workshop, Dec 1989.

Ten AFFACT Policy Initiatives

  1. An immediate lifting of the age to appear in pornography to 18. The present legal age of 16, or year 10 in school, is too young and places all 16 year olds at risk.
  2. A 5 year moratorium on pseudo-child imagery in pornography.
  3. Cartoon characters, childhood heroes, nursery rhyme figures and other characters which particularly appeal to the unique world of childhood entertainment should no longer be permitted to appear in pornography.
  4. Publications which contain advertisements for sex services, “marital aids”, Dial-A-Porn numbers, X & R rated videos, brothels and materials of a sexual nature which can only be legally ordered by those over the age of 18 should no longer be displayed, sold or otherwise made available to Australian children under that age.
  5. Publications which contain editorial content of a sexual nature and clearly intended for an Adult Only clientele should no longer be available for sale to anyone under the age of 18.
  6. All pornography to be removed from and no longer sent into Federal and State prisons where sex offenders are incarcerated.
  7. Sex offender registration laws must be enacted. Child sex offenders have the largest recidivist rates of all crimes. In order to better protect Australian children, an accurate police register must be kept of the whereabouts of sex offenders.
  8. In order to stop the flagrant violation of each of the State’s laws in Australia the availability of X Rated videos across State lines through the post must be stopped. If the Constitution guaranteed total free trade between the States, which it does not, opium poppies could be ordered from Tasmania by those in the mainland states, diesel fuel could be bulk purchased in NSW and sold in the ACT and truckloads of cigarettes could be purchased in Queensland and sold in the southern States, (just to name a few examples of restricted trade between the states).
  9. Nude or semi-nude pictures, objectionable depictions of the human form (such as in Canada) on magazine covers, video covers, record album covers and other media generally available to the public at large to be placed in such a way as to not be openly displayed by those who would be offended or disturbed by such depictions. Either in “blinder racks” where only the title of the item is visible or behind the counter where one has to ask for the item by name or in a restricted access area not visible or accessible by children. If in a “blinder rack” some height restriction must apply, say 1.75 metres, so as to stop such material from being easily perused by children.
  10. Enact a law in each State that requires all police agencies within the State to keep records when sex offenders are arrested providing a space for the arresting officer to check as to whether pornography was involved in the sex offence.


You are not creating laws in a vacuum! You must consider that these laws also apply to you. Do NOT vote for legalising this industry unless you would be happy for your own close, loved relatives to embrace prostitution as a career. Unless you fully endorse the lifestyle, you must examine your role as an elistist and hypocrite. In other words, don’t vote for this change unless you think it is good for your own daughter to prostitute herself!

Finally, it would help to bear in mind that most of the ideas being put before you in favour of these proposals have been slavishly adopted from Sweden, a country whose social tinkering has been held up as a model of enlightenment. Yet Sweden is changing its mind about prostitution after years of thorough study on the effects of its liberal pornography laws.

A Swedish government-appointed commission has recommended outlawing prostitution, and punishing not only prostitutes but their clients too, according to a recent front page story in The Canberra Times. The report stated that the commission, after several years of study, has proposed steep, but as yet unspecified, fines for both prostitutes and clients, as well as prison terms of up to six months. Their current law does not ban prostitution but does allow for the prosecution of pimps. Head of the commission, Inga-Britt Toernell, said that banning and criminalising prostitution should discourage many women from getting involved in this sort of activity. She added that prostitution ‘debases and humiliates women, who are the victims.’

The reports says that about 2500 women engage in prostitution in Sweden, usually in private settings, with only 650 working the streets. The commission report also said that half of the prostitutes in Sweden were also drug addicts. Many had psychological problems and most were products of violent childhoods.

I believe that criminalisation of prostitution will not only happen in Sweden, the home of the most liberal pornography laws in the world, but will also eventually happen in the ACT once again. Please don't allow the lessons of history to be lost on those who most need to learn them.

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