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Mayor leads anti-porn crusade targeting 50,000 men

THE mayor of Toowoomba is leading an anti-pornography crusade in the city.

Mayor Paul Antonio is inviting men and boys from the Garden City to an event tomorrow that will denounce porn, defined as the portrayal of erotic behavior designed to cause sexual excitement.

City Women Toowoomba is helping to organise the event.

The group's chief executive officer, Letitia Shelton, said porn fuelled violence against women.

She said 88% of porn promoted violence against women and often included graphic portrayals of choking, gagging and pulling hair.

She said fighting porn was the first step in stemming domestic violence.

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"I've spoken to women who received abuse from porn-addicted boyfriends and if we want to do something about domestic violence we need to stop porn."

She said it was not a moral campaign, but rather about the safety and health of the city.

"The stories I hear firsthand from girls about what they've been through and the pressure it puts on women, they feel cheated against.

"But there are also plenty of women into porn."

"The mayor wanted to start with the men, but we very much acknowledge there are women addicted to porn."

It is estimated that 50,000 men in Toowoomba view porn and this event is aimed exclusively at them.

"This is not some sexist rally of mad raving feminists," Ms Shelton said.

"We want to try and have a conversation (about porn)."

She said it was not a religious campaign, but said churches were quick to get on board because they understood the "damage it does".

Cr Antonio said he wanted to send a "strong message" to everywhere else that "we do not want this city to be involved in pornography".

"We don't want to see wonderful relationships ...  destroyed by pornography," he said.

"This will be the beginning of a journey for this city ...  that this community becomes free of pornography.

The event starts at 7am at the Civic Square, Ruthven St.

The mayor will be joined by former Heritage Banks chief executive officer John Minz.

Residents will also share their stories about porn.

The "A City Free From Porn" group was started this year by City Women Toowoomba, with the aim of "freeing" the city from porn.

"There is overwhelming research out now that reveals the damage that porn does to an individual, to relationships, families and society," the group's website states.

"This group aims to bring awareness to the damage that porn does, but also to offer resources and hope to those who are addicted."

Topics:  porn pornography toowoomba



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