A Harare woman’s recent noble intentions to surprise her husband, a Barcelona fanatic who had missed his team’s Uefa final against Manchester, with the DVD of the match, turned nasty when the DVD turned out to carry pornographic flicks.
She, together with her husband and children, had settled to watch the match after supper but to their horror, pornographic pictures filled the television screen.
“If I was watching with my husband alone, perhaps it would have been better. But we had our two sons, aged 13 and eight. It made me feel bad and I had to go and confront the vendor from whom I had purchased it.
He said there was a mix-up since there is mass production of pornographic disks where they purchase these for resale,” she said.
This woman is just one of the many people who have found themselves in this uncomfortable position where, after purchasing properly labelled DVDs, they later find out the content contradicted the label.
Vendors are openly selling pornographic discs, some of them with explicit cover pictures, and no stern action has been taken against them.
“There is generally a decrease in demand of general movies. People used to buy African movies but the demand is now low. Pornographic discs are however on demand, with both young people and even married men looking for them. It’s good for our business,” said one vendor.
The vendors explained that most pornographic discs are labelled “romantic movies” or “sexy movies”. While some customers wanted blue movies without explicit sexual content, others preferred hardcore pornography.
He admitted that what he was doing was illegal and he had become used to paying fines whenever he was arrested. “I make about $45 a day and when we are arrested we usually bribe the police officer with $5 or pay $20 as a fine. We do not go to court,” he said.
Wikipedia defines pornography as the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.
Pornography is fast becoming a global problem which rakes in a lot of money.
The Organisation of Anti-Pornography reported that the business generated more than $150 billion worldwide and is becoming more complex and syndicate.
The materials are mass produced in developed countries and sold there or shipped into developing countries.
Some of the vendors said those who “burn” the discs know the websites from which they download the material before copying them onto discs.
In Zimbabwe, distributing pornographic materials is illegal and is a punishable offence but the people who are openly selling the discs seemed to be getting away with it.
Parents have complained that the vendors do not use age discretion in selling their discs. One parent said she discovered that her 13-year-old son was watching pornographic materials.
“After thorough questioning he disclosed that he used to buy the discs in town on his way from school. I do not understand these vendors, how can they sell pornographic discs to underage children?” she said.
Another parent said it was disheartening that the relevant authorities knew the vendors were selling pornographic materials but nothing was being done to effectively deal with the problem.
“Vending in the city centre is illegal. Selling pirated discs is a crime and distributing pornographic materials is a sin. Most children who are exposed to these images are not mature enough to control their sexual urges so those distributing these materials should be jailed with no option of a fine,” he said.
A municipal police officer who declined to be named said most vendors were arrested on piracy charges and in some cases the police confiscated the discs but no charges are laid.
Sociologist Pardon Taodzera said pornography should be treated like a drug because it is addictive. He added that people who sell pornographic materials should also be punished the same way people found with illegal drugs like cocaine are.
“Pornography is detrimental to the human mind, it creates lasting images in the mind of the viewer and it is more harmful to young people because they have not yet developed the art of being responsible,” he said.
Taodzera added that pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts the concept of sexuality, often preying on unrealistic fantasies.
“It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and family happiness. It is undermining marriage. It is one of the factors in undermining social stability,” he said.
Research by Anti-Pornography Organisation showed that pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of the addiction. In its journal, the organisation said: “Users tend to become de-sensitised to the type of pornography they use, become bored with it and then seek more perverse forms of pornography. Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression and sexual promiscuity.”
The journal added that prolonged consumption of pornography by men produced stronger notions of women as sexual objects.