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Professionals raise concerns about young men and pornography


On Monday 6th October, the Women’s Support Project, White Ribbon Scotland and Zero Tolerance invited professionals to a roundtable event to discuss concerns on the use of pornography by young men.

The “Blurred Lines: Young men, pornography and sexually explicit materials” event addressed the growing concerns of front line staff working with young men. As more young people share their experiences of pornographic and sexually explicit materials, as well as negative sexual behaviour, workers and educators need to know how best to respond to this issue.

“During the course of our research for “He’s the stud and she’s the slut” we found high levels of exposure to pornography, particularly among young men. And young people themselves are concerned about these issues. The ‘Blurred Lines’ event has highlighted the need for more and better education and interventions to help young people form positive, respectful and equal relationships.”
-- Laura Tomson, co-director of Zero Tolerance and a presenter at the event (see editorial note 2)

With input from Scottish and UK experts and practitioners, participants examined what we know about young men’s use of porn, discussed evidence from practice and explored strategies for countering the impacts through direct work.

Zero Tolerance, White Ribbon Scotland and the Women’s Support Project will collate the responses of the participants and release a report before the end of 2014 to help inform future practice. 

Over the course of the day, several themes emerged, including the importance of communication with young men, the need for more comprehensive relationship education, and the critical need for more research, materials and outreach targeted towards particular, often neglected, groups, such as transgender young people and young people with learning disabilities.

"The White Ribbon Scotland Campaign works to engage men in tackling violence against women, firstly through raising awareness of the causes and consequences of violence against women. Education on the damaging effects of male use of pornography is vital in enhancing our ability to deal with the consequences as well as prevent it from being so widespread. It is heartening to see so many practitioners from diverse work areas recognising the issue as one that requires joint action. Through sharing experience and knowledge with our partner organisations we have a better chance to develop effective responses to the negative impacts on young people affected by porn culture." – Callum Hendry, White Ribbon Scotland

Zero Tolerance, White Ribbon Scotland and the Women’s Support Project will collate the responses of the participants and release a report before the end of 2014 to help inform future practice. 

“It is clear that the time is right to have courageous conversations about the impact of pornographic materials on young people and their sexual scripts. Events like this are highlighting concerns shared from frontline staff and we now have to move towards actively engaging with young people and challenging this industry.” – Linda Thompson, Women’s Support Project

Notes for editors

1. Zero Tolerance is a national Scottish charity working to working to tackle the causes of men’s violence against women - www.zerotolerance.org.uk

2. The Zero Tolerance 2014 “He’s the stud and she’s the slut” research project examined how issues of sexualisation and pornography are understood by young people in Scotland. The report is available here: http://www.zerotolerance.org.uk/projects/attitudesresearch

3. White Ribbon Scotland is a campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk

4. The Women’s Support Project is a feminist voluntary organisation which works to raise awareness of the extent, causes and effect of male violence against women, and for improved services for those affected by violence. www.womenssupportproject.co.uk

5. The “Blurred Lines” event report will be published before end of 2014 and will be available from www.zerotolerance.org.uk

6. Zero Tolerance co-director Laura Tomson is the lead contact for this event and is available for interview, contact on 0131 556 7365 or laura.tomson@zerotolerance.org.uk

7. Further materials discussed at the event are available for distribution from the Zero Tolerance Website: www.zerotolerance.org.uk/news/1/315




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