Media Release 30 March 2017
The petition calling on politicians to investigate the public health effects and societal harms of pornography has reached 15,000 signatures in just over six weeks with the cut-off date next week. The petition is to be presented to Parliament on Wednesday 12th April.
The petition states: “That an expert panel be appointed to investigate the public health effects and societal harms of pornography to both children and adults, and to make policy recommendations to Parliament.”
“The response to our petition has been phenomenal, but indicative of the community concern over this issue. We originally set out to get at least the same amount of signatures as the petition asking for an investigation in to the euthanasia law which took the organisers 4 months to collect 8,974 signatures and which resulted in an official inquiry. In just over 6 weeks, we have obtained more than 15,000 signatures and they continue to pour in,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ who is sponsoring the petition.
The petition is an official parliament petition which requires the petition form and signatures, and not an online one which can utilise signatories from all over the world to boost numbers. This has made the speed and numbers on the petition even more extraordinary.
“Society is starting to catch up with the science on the harms of pornography. The research is there. It’s time we examined it and took appropriate action – and that will be the role of an independent expert panel.”
“Over the past couple of weeks we have seen disturbing examples of increasing sexual aggression and inappropriate sexual behaviour by teenagers, and a national conversation around consent and ‘rape culture’. At the same time, there is increasing consumption and availability of online pornography and sexual violence. It’s time we connected the dots.”
“Research shows that children who are exposed to pornography develop skewed ideas about sex and sexuality, which lead to negative stereotypes of women, sexual activity at a young age, and increased aggression in boys. It also places unacceptable pressure on young girls which leads to eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, depression, and other harms,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The research also is discovering the highly addictive nature of pornography – termed by some as ‘the new drug’. These studies all highlight the extent to which porn is not a private matter to be ignored by the government. It is a public health crisis which needs to be confronted,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“If we want to tackle sexual violence, we must first admit the role that pornography plays and the harm that it does to attitudes and actions.”
The official website is www.porninquiry.nz