Online porn fueling sex assaults in our private schools

An online petition posted by a former Sydney private school girl has prompted thousands of accounts of sexual abuse by fellow students, exposing a toxic culture informed by the images and narratives of online porn. 

That abuse, recounted by girls as young as 13, includes rape, assault while unconscious, forced oral sex and a sickening array of other non-consensual sexual acts. 

An impassioned plea for consent to be taught to Australian teens, the viral post - which has so far attracted more than 16,000 signatures - came in the wake of the recent media feeding frenzy surrounding the Brittany Higgins case. 

Higgins, a former Liberal party staffer, has alleged she was raped inside an office at Parliament House in 2019 but didn’t report the attack at the time for fear of losing her job. 

Rape "inspired" by porn

Among the stories shared in response to the petition is one recounting a rape by a long-term boyfriend, “inspired” by his porn addiction.

“One thing that I found with my boyfriend was that boys are exposed to porn much earlier than they even have their first kiss,” wrote the girl, who is still a student at an unnamed Sydney private school.

“From this, my boyfriend often had preconceived ideas of what sex should look like, sound like and feel like.”

Those ideas included pushing her head down during oral sex and demanding she assume uncomfortable sex positions.

When asked to stop, he refused, believing the request to be “sexy and playful.” 

“He would make me feel guilty – saying I was giving him ‘blue balls’ and should continue because I was putting him in so much pain.”

Not every sexual assault involved a boy. Another girl told of a female classmate who filmed herself performing a sex act on the girl while she was passed out drunk. The classmate proceeded to upload the video to a porn website.

Cranbrook School headmaster Nicholas Sampson pointed to “readily accessible pornography” as “perhaps the most pernicious and undermining” of all the social forces driving such behaviour. 

Porn v. consent

It’s a view echoed by Family Zone cyber experts Katie and David Kobler. 

Porn is addictive, they point out, and that means the habit is likely to escalate into compulsion. 

Over time, users find the original “dosage” no longer gratifies, and increasingly intense and violent exposures are required to achieve arousal. Reality, in the form of a real-life young woman, simply can’t compete.

According to some estimates, Australian kids’ first exposure to online porn now occurs as early as age eight.

In Dave Kobler’s words: “Porn creates a violent, damaging, non-consensual script to sex that leaves the children being educated by it as the victims in its wake.”

What can parents do?

Dave and Katie recommend two lines of defense. The first, and most important, is ongoing, open conversations with your child - ideally beginning in the early primary years or whenever questions about sex and relationships first occur naturally.

According to some estimates, Australian kids’ first exposure to online porn now occurs as early as age eight. That means children must feel safe and comfortable talking to their parents about what they see online from a very early age. 

Curiosity about sex and relationships is natural and healthy, and children’s questions need to be encouraged - even celebrated - the Koblers stress.

Secondly, they recommend that every family install strong parental controls to automatically block adult content on children’s devices and manage their screen-time, especially in the danger zone between 10 pm and 2 am.



 

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Pornography, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, online pornography, sexual assault

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