Some 325 law enforcement authorities, legislators, church leaders, and others grappled with ways to combat pornography last month in the first national conference devoted to the subject. They met in Arizona under the sponsorship of the Phoenix-based Citizens for Decency through Law (CDL).

One thrust of the conference was to assist government prosecutors in dealing with what has become a specialized legal field. They were provided with a voluminous workbook of reference materials and technical workshops.

But conference spokesmen candidly acknowledged that prosecutors can only be effective when backed by citizen awareness and action. Citizens are either unaware that they can take strong action, or wrongly believe the courts have ruled in favor of pornography. Therefore, the main target has to be public complacency, the experts said.

Conference leaders attribute public lethargy to several factors:

• Ignorance of how vicious pornography has become. It bears little relation to the “naughty magazines” of the last generation with their skimpily clad or bare-breasted models. Today it is thousands of magazines, quickie films, and videotapes with close-ups of nothing but promiscuity, group sex, bestiality, masturbation, rape, sadomasochism, gang sexual assault, and fetishes. Even sex murders actually have been committed on film.

• Ignorance of the effects of continuing exposure to pornography. Victor Cline, a Salt Lake City psychologist and expert in the field, told the conference that pornography has an addicting effect, that it requires escalation (over a period of time, the consumer needs increasingly rough material), that it desensitizes (making one immune to that which originally shocked), and that there is a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: