Statement of Deanne Tilton-Durfee

Porn Studies > Meese Report Table of Contents

My entire adult life has been spent in the field of child welfare and child protective services. As a result, my perspectives on the effects of pornography have been primarily focused on how these materials affect children and their families. However, in the course of the past year, it has become necessary to expand the boundaries of my concerns to include co-related issues such as adult victimization in the production, behavioral effects from the consumption, and crimes related to the production and consumption of pornography. Moreover, because a credible analysis must be a balanced one, I have found a critical need to weigh carefully the impact of any recommendation that might threaten the integrity of the First Amendment or unnecessarily limit choices available to the American public.

I have no doubt that there is very real harm resulting from the production, distribution and consumption of some pornography. Quite understandably, the nature and degree of the harm has been difficult to define. It is possible that establishment of a cause and effect relationship has and always will be an impossible task, given the human variables involved. In any case, it is clear that harms or benefits from consumption cannot be generalized accurately in that reactions to explicit materials will depend on the basic attitudes, situations, self-concepts, mental health, support services, and personal and sexual opportunities available to each individual consumer. Certainly, mere exposure to pornographic materials does not create criminal behavior. More than one observer of our Commission's work has noted that such a connection would render each Commissioner a potential sexual deviant.

It is therefore important to acknowledge that we cannot scientifically show that exposure to sexually explicit materials affects the behavior of most consumers. It is also important to acknowledge that we have no business regulating any expression in words or pictures without good cause. We do, however, have an obligation to protect those who are vulnerable to victimization, to prevent and deter crimes committed in the production or distribution of pornography, and to provide methods by which communities can preserve the quality of their neighborhoods.

Child Victims
Family Life Education
Exposure of Children to Explicit and Violent Materials
Prioritization of Response
A Word about Words
Time and Structure

Porn Studies > Meese Report Table of Contents

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