Want to share with your friends too?

India
31 Oct 2018

Why the government can't stop Indians from watching porn

Porn bans are unlikely to work in India

Despite India being one of the most prolific consumers of porn, the Indian government hasn't had the most friendliest of relationships with adult content.

In 2015, the government had issued a ban on some 857 porn websites, but was unable to enforce the same.

Now, the government is again attempting to block porn websites, but this time too, it's unlikely to succeed.

Here's why.

In context

Porn bans are unlikely to work in India

India is the world's third-largest porn-watching country

After the US and the UK, India is the world's third-largest porn-watching nation, and between 2013 and 2017, has seen mobile traffic share to Pornhub increase by a whopping 121% - the highest for any country. And Pornhub is just one website, among hundreds.

What the two porn bans have been premised on

Bans

What the two porn bans have been premised on

The 2015 porn ban was based on a Supreme Court order that associated sexual violence with the consumption of adult content.

This time too, the porn ban is based on a similar premise, with the Uttarakhand High Court calling for the ban based on a gangrape case wherein the perpetrators were allegedly instigated after watching a porn film.

Love India news?

Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Notify Me

Online

The government has no way of enforcing the online ban

That said, the government's ban on porn is symbolic at best.

Pornhub has already circumvented the ban by launching a mirror website for Indians.

Additionally, there are hordes of websites and web browser extensions that, through the use of proxies, can easily circumvent the ban on porn websites.

Users have also reported that porn websites are still accessible on UC Browser, despite the ban.

For the technologically handicapped, there's always offline porn

Offline

For the technologically handicapped, there's always offline porn

For those who aren't tech savvy enough to use workarounds like proxies, offline access to porn via DVDs and flash drives can be availed of for as little as Rs. 30. And, there are plenty of people who are selling porn through the offline route.

Everything said and done, there's no stopping Indians from watching porn.

Premise

The premise on which porn has been banned is problematic

Now that we've established that porn bans are unlikely to ever work in India, it's important to question the premise on which porn has been banned.

The earlier ban, as well as the current one, both equate consumption of adult content to rising instances of sexual violence in the country.

While that's a straightforward assumption to make, it lacks necessary nuance.

Crimes against women in India have been increasing

Data

Crimes against women in India have been increasing

Indeed, rape statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that reported incidents of rape have doubled from 16,496 in 2000 to 34,651 in 2015. Similarly, other crimes against women have also gone up significantly.

This rise in reported rape incidents and other crimes against women could mean several things - number of incidents have actually increased, reporting has increased, or both.

Factors

Several factors contribute to violence against women in India

Yet, to think that banning porn will magically solve this problem, or will actually lead to a decrease in incidences of crime against women would be naive.

Gender violence in India is a systematic problem, resultant of several factors like the repression of sexuality among children during childhood, the patriarchy and prevalent attitudes towards women, as well as religious edicts that discriminate against women.

A ban on porn is a patchwork solution at best

To conclude

A ban on porn is a patchwork solution at best

Of course, porn, especially violent pornography, holds the potential to be an instigator to sexual violence in this situation, but it's highly unlikely that it's the causal factor.

If indeed the government wants to address violence against women, a more grassroots approach involving gender sensitivity and sex education is required to change prevalent attitudes.

Thinking that a ban on porn is the solution is tantamount to brushing the actual problem under the rug.

Pornhub VP Corey Price hit the nail on the head

"The Indian government does not have a solution to a very serious and systemic problem in the country, and is using adult sites like ours as a scapegoat," Pornhub VP Corey Price had enunciated rather correctly after the October 25 ban.

Ask NewsBytes
User Image

Next Timeline