An empirical investigation of the role of pornography in the verbal and physical abuse of women (1987)

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Violence Vict. 1987 Fall;2(3):189-209.

Sommers EK1, Check JV.


In studies of male aggressiveness and pornography, social psychologists have found evidence to support the theory that consumption of pornography by males increases their aggressiveness and antisocial attitudes toward women. The research reported here studied the presence of pornography and both sexual and nonsexual violence in the lives of two groups of women: a group of battered women drawn from shelters and counseling groups, and a comparison group of women from a mature university population.

It was found that the partners of the battered women read or viewed significantly greater amounts of pornographic materials than did the partners of the comparison group. In addition, 39% of the battered women (in contrast to 3% of the comparison group) responded in the affirmative to the question, "Has your partner ever upset you by trying to get you to do what he'd seen in pornographic pictures, movies, or books?" It was also found that battered women experienced significantly more sexual aggression at the hands of their partners than did the women in the comparison group.