Rape pornography, cultural harm and criminalization

Palmer, Tanya (2018) Rape pornography, cultural harm and criminalization. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 69 (1). pp. 37-58. ISSN 0029-3105

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In 2015 the offence of possessing extreme pornography (Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, s63) was extended to cover the possession of pornographic images of rape. Proponents of the legislation claim that rape pornography is ‘culturally harmful’, because it normalizes and legitimates sexual violence. Critics have dismissed ‘cultural harm’ as poorly defined and lacking evidence. However, critical engagement with, and development of, this concept has been limited on both sides of the debate.

This article fills that gap through a sustained theoretical exposition of the concept of cultural harm and detailed analysis of its role in justifying the criminalization of rape pornography. It makes the case that at least some rape pornography is culturally harmful, but nevertheless concludes that criminalization of the possession of rape pornography is not an appropriate response to that harm.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pornography; criminalization; cultural harm; rape porn; sexual violence; possession offences.
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0012 Sexual life
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology > HV6251 Crimes and offences
K Law
K Law > KD Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland > KD0051 England and Wales
Depositing User: Joshua Jenkin
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2018 14:02
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2018 14:03
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74682

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