In the Media

Joanna Yeates murder: legislation needed on incitement to gender hatred | Julie Bindel

PUBLISHED October 28, 2011

Vincent Tabak was a user of violent porn, and whatever the apologists say, porn does normalise violence against women Vincent Tabak, the murderer of Joanna Yeates , has now been revealed as a habitual user of violent pornography. Images of women being tortured, strangled during sex, bound, gagged and degraded by men were found by police on Tabak's computer, as well as a film in which two women were bundled into a car boot. Joanna Yeates had suffered more than 40 injuries to her face, throat and arms. Her T-shirt had been pulled up above her breasts and a sample of Tabak's DNA was found on her chest. Prior to him killing Yeates, Tabak had been in contact with prostitution agencies. There is strong evidence that, as well as being a man who liked seeing women being strangled and tortured, he was a prolific punter. I am not surprised. Common sense tells us that men who masturbate to porn involving the severe degradation and abuse of women are actually attracted to the idea of doing it directly to a woman. If I admitted fantasising about putting kittens in a microwave, or cutting the ears off dogs, would you feel OK with me being around your animals? If I told you I experience a sexual thrill at the thought of black men being lynched would you not conclude I was a chronic racist? Pornography causes harm. It is not as straightforward as some people might argue. I do not believe that a man watches a woman being raped on camera and goes out looking for a woman to rape. But here's the thing ? in order for violent pornography to exist, a woman has to be harmed in its production, and there has to be a market for it. That means there are men out there (and it is overwhelmingly men) who get a sexual thrill from seeing women hurt and abused. Recent research by the American psychologist Melissa Farley , in which she compared men who admit to paying for sex with those who do not, found that: "Over time, as a result of their prostitution and pornography use, sex buyers reported that their sexual preferences changed such that they sought more sadomasochistic and anal sex." Farley's study also showed that high pornography users were higher than low pornography users in acceptance of rape myths and of violence against women than non-users. There is no simple solution. Eliminating violent pornography will not prevent sexual violence and pornography does not, in and of itself, create men like Tabak. But the normalisation of sadistically violent imagery and the merging of pain, torture, degradation and sexual pleasure reinforces the view held by some men that women are subhuman playthings, and there to be abused. Much pornography accessed on the internet has now become so extreme that acts that were almost nonexistent a decade ago are now commonplace. These days the most popular acts depicted include vaginal, oral and anal penetration by three or more men at the same time; double anal; double vaginal; a female gagging from having a penis thrust into her throat; and ejaculation into a woman's face, eyes and mouth. I once found an image on the internet of a dead, naked woman in a ditch, her flesh crawling with maggots, who had been beaten and raped. There are men who will find that picture sexually arousing. That woman had possibly been murdered and then turned into pornography. There is, whatever the libertarians and porn apologists say , a direct link between violence against women and pornography. I am not advocating the state censorship of pornography, just that we bring in legislation akin to that which criminalises racial hatred. We should introduce a crime of incitement to sexual hatred in order to sanction those who produce and consume images of females being tortured and violated because of their gender. Tabak is an extreme example of how pornography can feed sadistic fantasy to the point of where it is no longer enough to be a passive viewer. Joanna Yeates Pornography Bristol Crime Julie Bindel © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds