1. Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior [829]

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
1

The Commission received testimony from many individuals who reported suicidal thoughts and behavior. These individuals described experiences related to pornographic materials that led them to feel worthless and hopeless, which in turn led to thoughts of suicide or attempts. For example, the mother of an adolescent girl who said she had been molested through the use of pornography testified:

This is not accomplished overnight, nor is it ever undone. She is now sixteen. She tried to commit suicide at the age of thirteen and a half as her only means of escape. She spent five months in an adolescent psychiatric unit and nineteen months at a residential care facility for twenty-four hour round-the-clock help with her problems. The brunt of the expenses for her care were our responsibility, reaching close to $100,000.[830]

Another witness testified:

By age fourteen, I had attempted suicide three times and had been in three different mental hospitals. Never had I revealed to anyone my childhood nightmare. Finally, in an effort to revive our sex life, we began to use pornography. This had a devastating effect on our lives. I began to become very depressed and suicidal again. Though we did become more sexually active, the quality of our relationship deteriorated almost to the point of divorce. Pornography again had touched my life in a very destructive way.[831]

A former Playboy bunny testified:

I was extremely suicidal and sought psychiatric help for the eight years I lived in a sexually promiscuous fashion.

In Los Angeles, my roommate, who was a bunny, had slashed her wrists because she was so suicidal.

Although I received small parts in Godfather II and Funny Lady, had sex with movie stars and producers, I felt worthless and empty. Out of my despair I attempted suicide on numerous occasions.[832]

Other individuals reported suicidal thoughts and behaviors as a result of being forced to participate in the production or use of pornography. For example, a teenage boy who had run away from home reported having been sexually abused by his uncle. He stated he was shown pornographic materials in the course of sexual abuse and he was used in the production of pornographic films:

He told me they were for him and his friends to view ... It was a difficult situation for me. And afterwards, I attempted suicide several times.[833]

A woman reported experiences:

... which I found very humiliating and very destructive to my self-esteem and my feeling of self-worth as a person. To prevent these I agreed with him to act out in privacy a lot of those scenarios that he read to me. A lot of them depicting bondage and different sexual acts that I found very humiliating. About this time when things were getting really terrible and I was feeling very suicidal and very worthless as a person, at that time any dreams that I had of a career in medicine were just totally washed away. I could not think of myself any more as a human being.[834]

A woman who testified that her former husband of eleven years was an avid consumer of pornography and had attempted to force her to view pornographic materials testified:

... [I] was very suicidal throughout my marriage; attempted several times.[835]

Notes

  1. In some instances the symptoms described may be characteristic of mood disorders. See, DSM-III, supra note 762, pp. 205-224.
  2. Miami Hearing, Vol. II, pp. 33-34.
  3. Houston Hearing, Vol. II, p. 187R2.
  4. Chicago Hearing, Vol. I, pp. 313-14.
  5. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. I, p. 48.
  6. Public Hearings before Minneapolis City Council, Session II, (Dec. 1983), p. 64.
  7. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, p. 61.