by C.J. Asher
Dear Elizabeth Smart,
I’m a sex and adult entertainment blogger based out of Philadelphia, PA. Over the past three or so years, I’ve interacted with hundreds of individuals who work in adult film as well as numerous other areas of human sexuality, such as LGBT rights organizations, burlesque dancers, adult novelty product sellers, sex worker rights advocates and many others.
Let me start out by saying that I was heartbroken to hear of your abduction many years ago. Even today, I’m constantly reminded that millions of individuals are, at this very moment, the victims of sexual violence and sex trafficking. Through my site, CJAsher.com, I also support and promote organizations that work against sexual violence and human trafficking.
Recently, in a video created by anti-porn organization Fight The New Drug, I watched while you spoke about your nine month-long abduction and, specifically, how pornography exacerbated the horrific ordeal that you went through.
With all due respect to you, Ms. Smart, and what you suffered through many years ago, I don’t agree with your views and beliefs about pornography.
First of all, while I do agree that your captors’ use of pornography made your experience that much more horrific, in your case it was used by a sick, twisted individual who clearly had no self-control or no sense of human dignity. Legal, professionally-produced pornography is intended for individuals and couples of legal age for sexual arousal and pleasure. It is certainly not intended or created – mainstream, professionally produced adult content, that is – to incite anyone to commit child abuse or sexual violence.
Pornography is a multi-BILLION-dollar global industry. Certainly, there is a very, very low percentage of this vast market that is inspired to commit sexual violence, especially that against children. Despite the millions of people that are harmed and killed throughout the country by alcohol and gambling, these vices are allowed to exist legally, although regulated, because – much like pornography – for the most part, they are used by responsible adults who can differentiate between fantasy and reality… and because a greater number of individuals accept it than do not.
Also, pornography isn’t going away no matter how you, I or any number of individuals feel about it. The only way to truly eliminate pornography is widespread criminalization, to which I ask: what then? I can tell you what will happen if pornography were to be made illegal. Much like many illegal vices in society, this multi-billion-dollar global industry would move underground, where there would be no government-insured age verification, safety standards or sexually transmitted disease testing… a nightmare scenario where “consensual performers” would quickly become “helpless victims.”
While the aforementioned video doesn’t address many of the specific reasons why you are an outspoken advocate against pornography, let me address some of the claims made by the video’s producer, Fight The New Drug:
In Porn’s Dirty Little Secret, it states: “To those who create and participate in making pornography, however, their experiences are often flooded with drugs, disease, slavery, trafficking, rape and abuse.” I have not only spoken with performers, agents, filmmakers and adult film company owners, but also have been on-set during an actual adult-film shoot, and I can assure you that these claims couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only have my personal experiences and knowledge of the laws that govern adult filmmaking shown me otherwise, but also there are industry-run groups such as the Free Speech Coalition and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee that are actively engaged in promoting the betterment of adult performers in legal pornographic films.
In Porn Leads To Violence, it is claimed that “…the majority of even the most mainstream porn is packed full of women being physically and verbally abused…” I’m not sure what pornography is referring to, but none that I’ve seen have had women treated in such a manner. Are they referring to BDSM films, in which environment “consent” and “trust” are inherently necessary, expected and respected by those within the lifestyle? Also, what about sites such as Sssh.com that specifically creates adult content for women, adult film industry group ASACP which is dedicated to child protection and MyBodyBackProject.com, which recommends adult film for women who have experienced sexual violence and warns on potential triggers?
In closing, Ms. Smart, I am certainly aware of the harm that pornography has done in your life, and I certainly would never want it to be used as a catalyst for anyone else to experience what you have. Regardless, pornography and other forms of adult entertainment aren’t going away. To address some of the concerns made by both you and the Fight The New Drug organization, I would be happy to work with you and my contacts in the adult entertainment industry with the goals of raising awareness of the importance of producing adult content that is respectful to both women and victims of sexual violence, as well as how to best educate their consumers as to responsible use of pornographic content.
Thank you and I look forward to receiving your reply.
President, Asher Global Media, LLC