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Shelley Lubben

Porn Harms: Just Ask Those in the Industry

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At the moment there are several government inquiries being held in Australia about porn, young people, and sexualisation. And overseas people are beginning to wake up to the very real dangers of pornography as well. For example, last month a Utah lawmaker introduced a bill to deal with the porn scourge. Here is how one news report covers the story:

A Utah state senator is taking a stand against pornography, blaming skin flicks for creating a “sexually toxic environment,” increasing the demand for prostitution and ruining families. Sen. Todd Weiler introduced his legislation on Friday, asking that the state recognize that porn is creating a public health hazard. He called for a reform to take on the “pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.” The politician told the Daily News that porn was more addictive than powerful drugs, and the public needed to start seeing adult films as a national epidemic.

“I have read books and I have experts tell me pornography is more difficult to overcome than cocaine,” he said. He compares the public perception of porn to cigarettes in the early 20th century, when doctors and celebrities openly smoked and advertised them as healthy. He said he hopes to shift the public opinion on adult entertainment the same way it has on cigarettes.

It is not just the consumers of porn who are harmed. Those who make the films, especially the actresses, also suffer greatly. The common impression is that porn stars – like prostitutes – are just so happy to be there, and have no problems with what they do; it is just another career choice. The reality is much different.

Simply letting the women tell their own gruesome stories is the best way to proceed here. There are now a growing number of porn stars who have left the business and are telling the world what a lousy hellhole the porn industry is. One of the leaders in all this is Shelley Lubben. Here is part of her story:

Lubben ShelleyShe landed in the San Fernando valley with no food and no money. ‘A “nice” man saw I was upset and told me how sorry he was.’ Still shocked and angry about being kicked out the house, so ‘that I didn’t care any more . . . I sold myself for $35.’

Thus Shelley entered the ‘glamorous’ life of prostitution, but the money, jewelry, and gifts soon included bizarre sex with strangers who stalked her, slashed her tires, and threatened to kill her if she demurred from performing certain sex acts. One man tried to kill her with his truck, and she often had to lie her way out of frightening situations. During her eight years as a prostitute and exotic dancer, she had two miscarriages and one birth. Little Tiffany grew up living ‘with a lewd wild woman.’

Now a single mom, ‘Jesus kept tugging at my heart,’ Shelley writes, ‘but I ignored him. I figured, God wasn’t taking care of me, so I had to do whatever I could to survive.’ Most of her prostitution money went for drugs and alcohol to blot out the trauma of her life. To avoid the rapes and arrests for prostitution, she turned to pornography because ‘it seemed safer and more legal.’

However, even prostitution did not involve the brutal kinds of rape and degradation that she endured while ‘starring’ in pornography. Soon she was required to do very hardcore scenes. ‘[O]nly more drugs and alcohol could get me through them. . . . I sold what was left of my heart, mind and femininity to the porn industry and the woman and person in me died completely on the porn set.’ After becoming infected with herpes, I quietly left the porn industry but went back to prostitution to survive.

A more recent article about Lubben contains even more gruesome details on the sordid, dangerous and high-risk world of porn. Says Lubben:

It’s a vicious circle [being] a sex worker, because you’re stripping, taxi dancing, and you just get burned out in prostitution. After prostitution I got burned out, and I was lied to that I would be safe from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and I would make all this money. I was a single parent, so what the heck, might as well do sex on camera. But it was completely and utterly the worst, darkest thing I’ve ever been involved in.

We didn’t use condoms in porn. There’s no condoms allowed, so we’re forced to do unprotected sex – and I can’t tell you how many people alter their tests. Just last year, they had 4 HIV cases, a high bunch out of a very small group of people…we know that most of the porn stars have had an STD at one time or another, and they estimate between 66% to 99% have herpes. They don’t test for herpes, so all these people are involved with rampant STDs.

Even the LA Public Health Department shows they’ve been monitoring and they came up with thousands and thousands [of cases] of chlamydia and gonorrhea. They’re the highest group in California to have that many STDs. So when people click [on porn], they’re contributing to sex trafficking, they’re contributing to STDs, they’re contributing to people who are mostly alcohol to drug addicts. Now I’m speaking of the majority. Not every porn star’s a drug addict, but the majority of them are. And I can’t tell you, when I went through recovery, I had PTSD. I had all kinds of disorders, serious traumas.

Consider just one more sad story, this time of former porn star Veronica Lain. Here is just a small part of it:

The next thing I knew, I was in Las Vegas at a porn convention signing autographs and posing with fans. I wasn’t even famous but yet they made me feel like I was and it hooked me even more. I did some more movies in Las Vegas and did not sleep much at all. I wasn’t even old enough to gamble. You can make a porn movie in Vegas but you can’t gamble or drink. That’s just wrong.
It was all so overwhelming for me so I came back to Colorado but I ended up going to the convention 2 more times again. I loved the attention and by then I was jaded and use to the whole porn world. I continued to work in Colorado doing, movies, parties, prostitution, photos.

Yes Porn Stars are also prostitutes! Anything and everything that had to with sex work I did it. I learned to depend on men to take care of me. I wanted a father so much. I was young and loved the attention and money. Porn was not “glamorous” though. I definitely did some things I did not want to do. I saw girls gagged and choked on the set during filming. I was one of those girls who was gagged and choked. I also saw empty douches and enema boxes laying around. I also met women who couldn’t work because of STD’s. I was treated like meat and saw other women going through the same, or worse. I would stay up and party all night on drugs. I wasn’t even old enough to drink.

At about 20 years old, I flew out to Los Angeles and stayed for a month and a half in Hollywood! Wow, I was a real “porn star” now. Everything seemed pretty great up until I started getting terrible abdominal pains so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was so sick that I went to a clinic and found out I had several bacterial infections and Chlamydia all at the same time! The medicine made me throw up and I hated it. I came back home to Colorado and decided to work at a topless bar for about 2 years to get away from porn.

I also started drinking heavily. I was trying to kill the pain with alcohol and pot daily. I went back to prostitution and I turned tricks out of my apartment. I risked my life over and over and tried to quit many times. I tried to get regular jobs here and there. I wanted out so bad. But I pretty much did sex work off and on from the time I was 18 until age 32. The money was always there and I didn’t know anything else.

On Lubbens’ home page she provides this helpful collection of shocking information, not only about the negative impact on porn workers, but other bits of information as well:

Porn Industry Statistics

  • 36 porn stars died that we know of from HIV, suicide, homicide and drugs between 2007 and 2010.
  • 66% of porn performers have Herpes, a non-curable disease.
  • 2,396 cases of Chlamydia and 1,389 cases of Gonorrhea reported among performers since 2004.
  • Over 100 straight and gay performers died from AIDS.
  • 26 cases of HIV reported by Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), since 2004.
  • 70% of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry occur in females according to County of Los Angeles Public Health.
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhea among performers is 10x greater than that of LA County 20-24 year olds.
  • The largest group viewing online pornography is ages 12 to 17.
  • More than 11 million teens regularly view porn online.
  • There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily search engine requests.
  • 50% of men and 20% of women in the church regularly view porn.
  • Of 1351 pastors surveyed, 54% had viewed Internet pornography within the last year.
  • Of all known child abuse domains, 48 percent are housed in the United States.
  • At the 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a gathering of the nation’s divorce lawyers, attendees revealed that 58% of their divorces were a result of a spouse looking at excessive amounts of pornography online.
  • Child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, and the content is becoming much worse. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains.
  • Worldwide pornography revenue in 2006 was $97.06 billion. Of that, approximately $13 billion was in the United States.

Porn harms everyone it touches. It certainly harms those caught up in this sordid industry. It is time to say no to porn.



 

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