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Call to make watching porn in public place a criminal offence

Call to make watching porn in public place a criminal offence
Social media to blame for ‘incredible disinhibiting effect’ which has multiplied distress to women, says Baroness Helena Kennedy

Watching pornografia in a public place should be made a criminal offence in the UK, the author of a keystone new report on misogyny has told O Independente in the wake of Tory MP Neil Parish’s suspension for viewing adult material in the Commons.

Eminent barrister and peer Helena Kennedy said that had been a dramatic and alarming increase in recent years in men viewing hardcore porn on trains or buses when seated next to women they do not know or showing women graphic pictures in workplaces, pubs and clubs, apparently getting a thrill from the discomfort and distress they cause.

She said her year-long inquiry for the Scottish government,published last month, achar algo mídia social and easy access to porn on phones has created an “incredible disinhibiting effect” which has transformed the kind of abuse women face in public places.

Like other forms of misogyny, the act of making women look at pornographic images against their will is often undertaken as a demonstration of power, with men using it to “put women in their place”, ela disse.

And for some men in positions of authority, like MPs, may be even more prone to this kind of action because of the risk-taking and domineering personalities which drive their careers.

“Something has happened in recent times,” said Baroness Kennedy. “It’s not new for women to be sexually harassed and have people being predatory and behaving in an inappropriate sexual wayrubbing themselves up against you, touching you and commenting on you inappropriately, all that stuff.

“What became very clear to me when taking evidence for my inquiry was that social media has had an incredible disinhibiting effect on people.

“We know that people feel disinhibited about what they can say online, but it’s now shifted and it people are now disinhibited in in the public square and in the workplacethey do things and say things now that would never be said five or 10 anos atrás.

“Something has just multiplied and magnified all of this and I believe that social media has a lot to answer for.”

Evidence was given to Lady Kennedy’s inquiry of men viewing hardcore porn – including videos of sex with animals – on buses in such a way as to ensure women sitting beside them could see it.

“There’s some sort of titillation they get from discomforting a woman with this stuff,” she told The Independent.

“You would have expected that Westminster would have been above the fray all of this. You expect better conduct from mature people who have responsibilities and must consciously be mindful of the ways in which this could have consequences.

“But often people who are in positions of authority and power, do these things even more outrageously than other people because they somehow imagine they have impunity.”

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon last month welcomed the Kennedy report’s recommendation for the creation of a law making misogyny an aggravating factor in offences against women, which is currently under consideration by the Scottish government.

Lady Kennedy said she would like to see the inquiry’s recommnedations taken up in Westminster too, including a new offence of public misogynistic harassment which would cover forcing a woman to view porn against her will.

“It has to be made clear to the men doing these things that there are consequences," ela disse.

“It’s about sexual harassment in a public place. My strong view that there has to be a public misogynistic harassment offense.

“We need we need it to be criminalised. Scotland’s ahead of the game because they’re in favour of doing it and it should be done in Westminster too.”

Lady Kennedy said that the complaints and grievance systems set up in the wake of the Pestminster scandals of 2017 must be reviewed and strengthened to take account of the rapid development of the problem over the last few years.

“One of the problems in all of this is that women who complain very often suffer the consequences," ela disse. “Their own political party or their employer is angry with them for bringing the spotlight down on them in a negative way. They get the anger of other male members of parliament or other people in their workplace who see them a troublemaker.”