To Curb Rape, India Looks at Banning Porn

Supreme Court considers petition that ties porn to sexual violence

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 22, 2013 7:07 AM CDT | Updated Apr 22, 2013 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – In the wake of brutal gang rapes, the rape of a 5-year-old girl, and surging sex crimes, India is looking at banning pornography completely. The country's Supreme Court took up the controversial issue last week, the New York Times reports, after a petition claiming porn leads to sexual violence was submitted to the government. Indian law already bans distributing pornography, but the laws are rarely enforced; this petition calls for even viewing pornography to become a non-bailable offense.

"I believe that watching porn corrupts people, and many of the crimes that happen to women, girls, and children, such as sex-trafficking, are mostly related to pornography," says the lawyer who started the petition. Pornography is increasingly popular in India as the Internet and smartphones become more commonplace, and it may even be more popular there than in many other countries—despite the fact that just a decade ago, the sight of a naked woman in the movies was shocking. But a link between porn and sexual violence is difficult to prove. The Supreme Court has asked a number of government ministries to weigh in on the petition by next week.

An Indian woman holds a placard during a protest to demand for tougher rape laws and better police protection for women, outside the Parliament in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 22, 2013.
An Indian woman holds a placard during a protest to demand for tougher rape laws and better police protection for women, outside the Parliament in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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