Summary

Part: 
One
Chapter: 
3

The issues surrounding pornography defy simplification, challenge objectivity, and create passionate responses from opposing extremes of a multitude of political, religious, and philosophical spectrums.

It is my sincere hope that our focus on these confounding and controversial issues will assist the American people to develop a knowledgeable concern regarding the potential impact of pornography on their children and their communities, an understanding of the personal choices and public policy alternatives available to them, and the realization that pornography is the product of a demand resulting from a host of motivations we have only begun to identify.

It has occurred to me, throughout our Commission's hearings, that the subject of our inquiry, whether relating to adult or child pornography, has a very significant and direct connection to many issues surrounding the abuses and exploitation of children. I saw the clear characteristics of a helpless child in each adult victim testifying before us, and this helped me to understand how and why they tolerated the abuses about which so many are skeptical. I saw the angry and inadequate adult reenacting his or her own childhood abuses in much of the sadomasochistic materials. Perhaps most significantly, I saw the sad, lonely and desperate search for intimacy denied in childhood on the faces of those who stood haplessly in the adult bookstores and those who told us of their addictions to obscene materials. It occurred to me, over and over again, that the real issue might be the effects of American family life on the consumption of pornography, rather than the reverse.