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Berl Kutchinsky

Related: The Lockhart Commission - pornography - Denmark


In the 1960s, Berl Kutchinsky was Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Science of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Berl Kutchinsky wrote a report on pornography for the American The Lockhart Commission (1968 - 1970), in which he stated that there was no positive correlation between the availability of pornography and sexual violence. [Mar 2006]

Cathartic effect

The scientific foundation of the "cathartic effect" has in recent years been refuted, yet anti-ordinanace/pro- pornography supporters continue to promote this perspective as if mere repetition will wipe out the sceintific record. The catharsis theory, which impressed the 1970 U.S. Presidential Comminssion on Pornography, is mostly based on research by Berl Kutchinsky. Kutchinsky had discovered that the relaxation of porn laws in Denmark and Sweden coincided with a decrease in reported sex crimes. But susbsequent inspection of his study revealed that his correlation was poor, since he failed to account for other social factors, such as an abnormally high rape rate after the German occupation during WWII, which would have made any subsequent decrease of sex crimes seem statistically supportive of his original premise. Interestingly, Kutchinsky himself has since recanted his initial conclusions, noting that the rape rates of Denmark and Sweden have *increased* since he conducted his study. It should also be noted that Norway, which has a culture similar to Denmark and Sweden and far stricter laws against pornogrpahy, has had even greater success in combating sex crimes (34 percent decrease from 1970 go 1981, compared to a 14.2 percent decrease for Denmark).

In 1984, Dr. John Court examined changes in rape rates in several countries that had periods of greater or lesser legal control of pornography. He concluded that greater legal control of porn appears to hold down rape rates. Similarly, Baron and Straus (in studies published in 1984 and 1985) have shown a highly significant statistical correlation between state-by-state circulation rates for seven porn magazines (Playboy, Oui, Hustler, Genesis, Gallery, Chic, and Club) and state-by-state reported rape rates. Their study revealed that proliferation of pornographic magazines and the level of urbanization explained variance in rape rates more than did unemployment, economic inequality, sexual inequality, and social disorganization. In Mary Koss's 1986 national survey of over six thousand college students, she found that college men who reported behavior that meets the legal definition of rape were significantly more likely than men who did not report such behavior to be frequent readers of at least one of the following magazines: Playboy, Penthouse, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, Genesis, Oui, and Hustler. --Transforming a Rape Culture (1993) - Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher, Martha Roth

Pornography, Sex Crime, and Public Policy

PORNOGRAPHY IS A CURIOUS EXAMPLE OF AN ISSUE WHICH HAS GROWN VERY quickly from a state of insignificance to become a major social issue, at least in some parts of the world. From the very beginning, in the early 1960s, of what has been termed the 'modern pornography wave', there has been controversy over nearly all aspects of the topic: definition, amounts and contents of material, uses and users, economy and, most importantly, effects. This paper outlines the development of pornography in a historical perspective and from a Danish point of view. It will then deal with the issue of the possible effects of pornography on sexual offences.

Historical Background
Erotic art is probably as old as art itself. Sexual themes appear in the artistic creations of all times and cultures. The first erotic paintings, sculptures and writings were probably produced by the first painters, sculptors and writers in the early youth of humanity, and every milestone in the arts usually saw new developments in the field of erotica.

For example, Johann Gutenberg developed the art of printing around 1448, and one of the very first books to appear in print was Il Decamerone, Boccacio's erotic masterpiece. Suppression of freedom of the press a phenomenon which is a significant part of the history of eroticism followed immediately after. In 1497, sections of the Decameron were thrown into Savonarola's 'bonfire of the vanities' in Florence. The next giant step towards mass media production, the invention of the photographic process in 1832, had very similar consequences. Forty years later, in 1874, 130,000 'obscene' photographs and 5,000 slides were seized by police in a raid on two houses in London owned by photographer Henry Hayler. By this time, pornography was beginning to broaden its appeal beyond the narrow literate class that had been its primary audience. --http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/proceedings/14/kutchinsky.pdf

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