Porn freedom in India versus US: Is comparison justified? – Part II

Editor’s Note: Received this article over email, author ‘anonymous’.

Continued From…

In India, the situation is the opposite. The origin of Indian porn can be traced back to illegal and criminal activities. First, there were adult movies that depicted nudity with permission but showed more than simple nudity without permission. Second, after the advent of Online Pornography the growth of Indian porn was triggered by criminal activity in the form of MMS Scandals. As a matter of fact, the bitter reality of Indian porn today is that despite having no porn industry there are literally millions of Indian porn videos available in the market and the question of its source has never been asked. Looking more closely into the matter one can safely say that barring a few odd porn performers of Indian origin and a few nude models, the rest of Indian porn today is non-consensual. The alarming growth of Indian porn is being assisted by the availability of mobile phone cameras and the ignorance of law enforcement towards ordinary people illegally uploading videos on user-content submission sites.

Thus, it can be seen that Indian porn is 99% of the time non-consensual and is supported by criminal activities like stealing private videos, leaking objectionable photos and sharing material without the knowledge or permission of the victim. Indian porn is therefore ‘victim porn’ because behind every photo or video there is a victim somewhere.

The effects of porn on the performer and on the viewer is both similar and yet distinguishable between the USA and India.

Here are some –

Performers in the US porn industry are divided in their opinion regarding the effects of porn – some say they are earning well and got what they wanted, whereas some say that they have been exploited and that their lives have been destroyed. Some porn performers also complain of rape and violence, whereas some porn producers have been arrested for human trafficking. There are also periodic cases of suicide, very common cases of drug abuse and most common cases of prostitution. There are also cases of anti-social behavior and crime associated with these performers.

–         –  In India there is no porn industry so the question on effects on performers does not arise. Porn performers of Indian origins are not citizens of India and are neither doing pornographic work in India.

Viewers of porn in the USA are also divided on the subject. Three distinct groups can be seen – group that watches and supports porn, group that is anti-porn and group that supports porn because of their anti-censorship stance. Of these groups the one that watches porn is also divided amongst those who claim porn has no effects and those who claim porn has severe effects. Viewers that claim porn has affected them have taken recourse in psychiatric help, self-restraint in the form of the NoFap movement and in AA type meetings.

–          – In India, due to societal stigmas very few studies have been done on the subject. Yet, the general perception can be studied and divided into three groups – group that wants pornography because they support and watch it, group that have taken an anti-censorship stance and group that do not want pornography. Group that watches pornography is not well documented and only few cases have emerged in the form of confessions of rapists, reports of psychiatrists and personal blogs and comments. Even these seldom mention all the affects of porn and whenever it does it is in similar refrain with the effects mentioned by US porn viewers.

Victims of non-consensual pornography in the USA are united in their opinion supporting the criminalization of such porn. They claim it is an offence against women and men both, a criminal breach of trust and a complete violation of the Right to Privacy. There are advocacy groups supporting these victims and they have succeeded in getting big internet companies to filter content that is of the Revenge Porn type. But they have not succeeded against the porn sites which host the objectionable content because of the ‘freedom of expression’ concern. Recent developments however show that the US lawmakers are ready to enact laws that make non-consensual Revenge Porn a criminal offence. However these laws in their current state do not address the fundamental problem of how to prosecute the porn sites that publishes or allows users to submit and share non-consensual pornography. It does not therefore take much to forecast that these laws will eventually fail in addressing the problem.

–         – In India, though there are millions of victims yet very few speak out publicly against non-consensual pornography. This is due to ‘shame’ and fear and because of this there are only a few documented cases regarding this problem. There are also no advocacy groups designed only for this and whatever legal help victims get comes from either the cyber crime branches of Indian Police or from a few NGOs or cyber security lawyers. There are also no signs of enacting any law that criminalizes non-consensual pornography nor there is a proper understanding of the Right to Privacy on this matter. Indian legal system has fallen behind their US counterparts as regarding the grasping of the concept and criminalizing of non-consensual pornography.

When it comes to Child porn or animal porn, the USA has criminalized it. But since there is no proper industry which makes these types of porn and because such porn is mostly homemade, it has become increasingly difficult to stop its production and distribution. The approach of law enforcement on the matter is also on a case by case basis and therefore progress towards curbing such porn is tediously slow. And also since people are free to share whatever they like on the porn sites therefore this type of porn keeps circulating. Then there is private messaging like WhatsApp and social networks like Facebook where child porn has been documented as being shared in huge quantities on a daily basis. The effect on a child due to pornography has been too well documented to mention here.

–          – In India, the ban on child porn and animal porn is valid but there is no device through which the ban can be implemented. The problem is aggravated by two things – physical location of porn servers outside Indian jurisdiction and non-enforcement of existing laws on distribution of porn which gives every Indian citizen a free pass to upload and share pornographic content. In fact there is evidence and documentation of huge demand for child and animal porn in India and right now the demand is being fulfilled through private messaging, social networks and user uploads to porn sites.

 

The broad social conditions prevalent in the Indian society actually do not support porn nor needs it. We also neither have the legal provisions nor law enforcement and remedial infrastructure to take care of persons affected or victimized by it. Our social conditions do not even permit the open discussion of porn addiction or porn-victimization (in case of non-consensual pornography). The Indian society’s contemporary reaction to porn is still similar to the old reaction when porn was underground. There is also no knowledge or dissemination of information as regarding the true nature of pornography and this is why many people make the fallacious judgment that porn is sex-education.

Then one must consider the pathetic techniques employed by Indian women to protect themselves after they have been victimized in the name of porn. Women in India are today taking to such pitiful recourse like staying indoors, cutting the hair differently, wearing sunglasses all the time, not going to school, college or work – and some women have even committed suicide while some had permanently left the country! This sad state of affairs is due to the fact that the entire blame is put on the shoulders of the women themselves and not on the perpetrators, and such blame is never ever being put on the porn sites that facilitate and profit from this crime – not a single porn site has been brought to book till now despite these being against the law and despite Indian government holding extradition treaties with many countries.

Another set of hard realities faced by women in India who have been victimized in the name of porn can be seen in the form of the following threats to a woman –

  1. Threat to the victimized woman’s Right to Privacy, Dignity and Life.
  2. Threat to her career prospects and employment – because there are cases where a woman’s job offer had been revoked due to such ‘scandal’.
  3. Threat to her forming a family or even finding a husband or a partner.
  4. Threat to her children who will be at the receiving end of social sanction.
  5. Threat to her health and well-being due to psychological ailment.
  6. Threat to her ever joining public posts or top posts due to the constant fear of getting ‘scandalized’ or ‘blackmailed’ if recognized.
  7. Threat to her Security and living in a constant fear of getting recognized by anti-social elements.

Only but some of these threats are applicable to the women of USA. Like mentioned earlier the hard realities on the ground for Indian women are not supportive of the idea that women can be victims of porn. This reality is so pervasive that a lot of women do not even file police complaints or seek legal remedies to protect themselves against it. Whether the Supreme Court and the Government notices this remains yet to be seen.

Conclusion –

The Constitution of India is not the result of the rights of the individual. The rights of the individual flow from the constitution and these are not absolute rights. Therefore, the ‘right to freedom of expression’ cannot be used to take away all the rights enjoyed by the victims of Indian porn and neither can it be used to experiment with society. Today, the following rights guaranteed by the Constitution are being denied to the victims of Indian porn – Right to a Life of Dignity and Safety, Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression and the Right to Privacy. A victim of Indian porn can neither lead a life of safety and dignity, nor can exercise their freedom of expression fully due to fear and ‘shame’ nor can claim that their private lives have remained private despite their trying best to keep it that way. At the same time our society is also not ready enough to face the consequences of the proliferation of online porn nor do we have the resources and tools to combat such consequences. Perhaps we should look at the USA of today and then decide whether to join them or become better than them. So, let us look closely at the various problems seen to be faced by the US society wholly or partly due to proliferation and normalization of porn and then decide whether to curb it or not.

The US society today is characterized by many things such as these –

  1. Moral decay and decline of ethical values.
  2. Failing institutions of marriage and family.
  3. Abandonment of religious and spiritual beliefs.
  4. Sexualization of children.
  5. Increase of rape and rape-culture.
  6. Increase of drug abuse.
  7. Increase of domestic violence and child abuse.
  8. Increase of prostitution leading to growth in human trafficking and exploitation.
  9. Increase in number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases and pathologies such as erectile dysfunction.
  10. Increase in crime, anti-social behavior and psychological problems.

These problems are being attributed to the easy availability of pornography along with other factors such as ‘instant gratification’, unhindered individualism and acceptance of un-restricted absolute ‘freedom of speech and expression’ etc. Despite having tremendous amount of resources at their disposal the USA is still unable to ameliorate any of these problems. It will be interesting to watch how India with its limited resources and huge population copes up with these problems. Whether it will tear society apart, spread crime and vices or destroy our country and culture remains to be seen. One thing though can be said for sure that without taking any action against pornography India will be destined towards the same fate as the USA’s barring its economic development, where society will be unnecessarily and overly sexualized, greedy and crime-friendly and where gender equality will always remain a distant dream.

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. – Anatole France.

end.

3 thoughts on “Porn freedom in India versus US: Is comparison justified? – Part II

  1. Ram April 27, 2016 / 10:23 am

    Indian MMS culture is problematic. Symptom of a system wide deficiency of corruption, deceit and patriarchical hegemony.

    Like

    • bharatboy April 29, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks Ram, your comment is thoughtful. But aren’t things like ‘Revenge Porn’ a problem in other countries as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. peepoo patel May 9, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    I read both parts of this Anonymous guy’s argument and i can definitely state it is his opinion, but it is far from being factual.

    Porn is not a problem in America. It exists, but it is not a driving problem in society. One only has to follow the discourse of American politicians to see if indeed it is a problem. It clearly is not.

    In India porn viewing clearly is not a huge political problem either or even a societal one. The government should not be involved in what goes on in the bedrooms of its citizen either. All these articles are is a way to try to get public acceptance that government intervention is desperately needed because its citizens are out of control, that they can’t make decisions for themselves on what to watch online and that some measure of strict internet control be placed over individuals in an otherwise democratic society where freedom of expression, opinion and information is a cornerstone of the nation. Somehow, it is argued with no real facts, curtailing and controlling what people view online will save the nation from moral decay and societal bankruptcy.

    The notion is that what works in china is good in india is ludricous!

    No, the government does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation and nor should it be allowed as a filter in what people do lawfully with their lives. If India is to be great then it should not stoop to be small.

    Like

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