If you live in the UK, you’ve probably seen the revelations about the institutional misogyny and sexism in the London Metropolitan Police and other UK police forces. An HMICFRS report published in November looked at eight separate police forces and found a culture of misogyny, sexism, and predatory behaviour towards female staff and members of the public in all the forces inspected.
The inspectors reported that police officers staged unwarranted stops of women in public places, that crimes such as sexual assault were covered up and ignored, and that every single female staff member they spoke to said she’d been harassed or even assaulted by her male colleagues.
These attitudes and behaviours do not exist within a vacuum but rather are part of the wider culture that is becoming increasingly misogynistic and sexist through mass exposure to brutal pornography and the normalisation of the sexual exploitation industry.
Most mainstream pornography depicts violence and aggression, sometimes extreme, directed at women and girls. Suzzan Blac spent several years researching free-to-view porn on Pornhub. She describes seeing women being sexually and violently abused, humiliated, degraded, raped and tortured, and concludes that, “These are not sex videos. They are crime-scene videos.”
There is now unequivocal evidence that both porn consumption and buying sex are associated with a decrease in empathy and an increase in attitudes that underlie men’s verbal and physical aggression towards women, including rape and sexual harassment.
It is simply inconceivable that the misogynistic and sexist culture within the Met and other UK police forces will change while police officers have virtual impunity to watch porn, engage in porn-style banter, and pay to sexually use and abuse women in prostitution.
This is why we are asking you to sign our petition, which calls for the introduction of a total ban on all police personnel watching porn at work and paying for sexual activity. Please also share it and help initiate a national conversation about the harms of the sexual exploitation industry and its links with the epidemic of male violence against women and children that we are currently witnessing.