The mayor of Toowoomba wants pornography out of his city, supporting a campaign claiming porn "kills true love".
There is a push on in the southern Queensland region to become 'a city free from porn'. The push is being led by a local church group, City Women Toowoomba, and supported by the mayor Paul Antonio.
Up to 300 people, mostly men, attended a public rally on Tuesday and pledged "I won't view porn and I will help create a city free from porn". City Women Toowoomba chief executive Letitia Shelton claimed to The Huffington Post Australia that pornography consumption was linked to violence against women.
"A city free from porn sounds very ambitious and unlikely. But look at the anti-smoking campaign, there has been a huge reduction in smoking. You'll never stop it, but you can show people the impacts it has on your life," she said.
"We've been working with the mayor and other city leaders throughout this year, looking at the link between porn and domestic violence. Domestic violence is a huge thing in our nation, you have to look at what is driving that."
Shelton claimed that "88 percent of porn displays violence against women, such as choking or gagging."
"We're hearing more stories from women porn-addicted partners, where there has been a direct result of abuse from that," she said.
"We had 250 or 300 men on Tuesday morning, wanting to say we can value human life and the women in their lives."
Mayor Antonio led a pledge at the rally, asking men to "acknowledge that viewing pornography promotes exploitation of women and violence against women and damages families," as well as committing to not viewing porn (video below). The ABC reported the mayor was in support of the campaign against porn. HuffPost Australia has contacted Antonio for comment.
"I dare say there will be some negative comments about it," Antonio said, according to the ABC.
"But we must begin a journey with one step. I think what we've focused on today is the real value of proper relationships. Pornography has no place in that."
City Women has made a quite dramatic video in support of the campaign, claiming that pornography "hurts your partner", "destroys your family", "ruins your sex life" and "kills true love".
The campaign also has the support of the local member in state parliament. Toowoomba South MP David Janetzki and Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts, in the QLD parliament, have both spoken in favour of limiting porn in the city.
"I would just like everybody to consider the effects that pornography is having on our community," Watts said in a video on City Women's Facebook page.
"Toowoomba has been voted as the most family-friendly place in Queensland and clearly pornography has no part in a family-friendly community."
Janetzki said he supported the idea in a video by local newspaper The Chronicle.
Shelton said the campaign was not planning to take any legislative action against pornography, but to push through education programs for people to avoid pornography.
"It's really first beginning an awareness campaign, getting particularly to men. Now with the internet, pornography is so easily accessible, so it's helping young people understand the damages and giving them a choice," she said.
"We're not going to go picketing sex shops or the strip club. It's working with the local community, our chamber of commerce, our schools, businesses. We have a lot of leaders in our city who are onboard, we're putting our heads together to move forward."