Bombay Archdiocese studies impact of pornography

Survey seeks to understand its attitude toward work, relationships, family and community
Bombay Archdiocese studies impact of pornography

Activists from the women's wing of the Socialist Unity Centre of India demonstrate against internet pornography in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, in this file photo. (Photo: IANS)

ucanews.com reporter, Mumbai
India
December 23, 2017
Published Jan. 31, 2017 

A Catholic archdiocese in India has taken up the country's first survey considering the effects of watching pornography in order to help counsel families for whom it has become an issue.

The online national survey, created by Bombay Archdiocese, aims to study pornography use across India, focusing on people aged 15 and above who watch pornography at least once a week.  Bombay is India's largest archdiocese covering Mumbai (formerly Bombay), which is the biggest city in the country.

The detailed survey enquires into the patterns of use among regular pornography viewers, seeking to understand their attitude toward work, relationships, family and community.

The family service center of Bombay Archdiocese, uses the term "porn addiction" to describe situations where pornography use has become associated with negative consequences.

"If we have good marriages, we will have good families. Happy and stable families are the foundation of a strong nation," said Father Cajetan Menezes, who heads the survey project as the director of the family service center.

"There were regular complaints from wives that husbands forced them to watch pornography — a crime under Indian law," he said.

"When we looked around we found no credible Indian study on the impact of pornography on marriage and family. We wanted to study it," he said.

The first phase of the survey began in 2014 in Mumbai among some 1,000 people, more than half of them between 15-25 years. Majority of the others in the survey were married. It found that pornography was in a "subtle way destroying families," said Father Menezes.

"I call it the new plague. Very few see this as a problem, but we want to be prophets of our time and forewarn people. High-speed internet is becoming common and this addiction is going to grow very fast," he said.

Father Menezes said the results of the first survey prompted them to conduct training seminars to help people recover from the addiction. They also started a support group called "Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous" that meets twice every month.

Alwyn Dantis, coordinator of the project, said while the first survey was a general one, the current survey is a more detailed one. The earlier survey showed that "addiction is not easily identifiable but highly addictive" and negatively impacted responsibility and relationships. 

The present survey is still in the "data gathering phase and it is too early to reveal any findings. However, once we gather enough data we will be able to provide some preliminary findings," Dantis told ucanews.com.

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