What started out as a teenage fantasy has developed into a numbness of sorts when it comes to pornographic movies for 26-year-old Jim Gitonga.
Ten years after his maiden encounter with blue movies, Gitonga knows how to get me a copy for just Sh100 “hapa tu River Road” (here, at River Road), he tells me. Minutes later he is back with a sample in a clear jacket.
Blue movies from River Road are camouflaged as blank DVDs— after all they are pirated with no more than a random name written on it, like … Sally. And that’s it.
David Pkosing is the CEO at the Kenya Film Censorship Board and his plan is simple: Stir up the comfort zones and get the bad guys. In his four months in office, he has already raided three different porn nests in the city.
In his office, Pkosing displayed samples of what he collected from the last raid in April: Kenyan girls on dogs and even horses! Girls aged between 14 and 16 doing this for Sh3,000 in Nairobi’s River Road and parts of Mombasa. Pkosing has trained his gunsights on certain white men who pose as tourists while putting their movie making skills into lewd use, he says.
He pulls out the DVDs from his drawer. These ones are clearly marked, Kenyan girls complete with a sneak peak as the highlight pics are on display. “This is not pornography, this is satanic!” he almost shouts.
But even Pkosing knows that the effectiveness of a raid is close to nil in comparison to the thousands of videos already out there.
So, it narrows down to a 78-year-old censorship board with an unenviable task. Kenya’s law cannot address issues of porn accessibility through the internet or from mobile phones because the Film and Stage Plays Act has been overtaken by technology. What used to be a white man’s exclusive vice is now made in Kenya. Illicit material is airing in matatus. The fourteen-year-old girls on tape are speaking a Kenyan language.
But it’s obvious that the board is fighting a losing battle. X-rated stuff is allover. Perhaps even more fashionable is the use of e-technology in ways other than plain on-line chats, email and downloading music. Which is why internet cafes have other customers other than guys polishing up their CVs and sending e-mails.
In any cyber café there will be those who will be devouring content that can only be viewed in public as minimised on-screen pages lest other clients get to know of their lewd ways.
Somebody once wrote that progress and decadence are interchangeable terms. How right he was! Even the mobile phone has acquired a obscene uses. Connected to the internet, the small hand-held gadget becomes the voyeur’s best companion “strictly adults-only” sites are surfed. And there’s no nosy neighbour looking over your shoulder. No nosy policeman. Just you.
Now there are home-made goodies to the eye that craves too. Kenya may be 80 per cent a Christian nation but it has its own official porn site—an adult “entertainment” site that promises lewd wholesomeness. We will not name it but all the boring parts have been left out, or so they say. The site sells porn DVDs from the west and advertises unclean services that can be had in Kenya.
Since its launch in 2006, the site has been receiving over 500,000 hits in a month. That’s 16,666 daily. If numbers don’t lie then it seems they do not disappoint. Additional after-sale services on offer include package delivery personalised right into your inbox or that Post office mailbox that you commonly associate with bills and depressing bank statements.
Proximity for them is not an issue. The customer is king. You can be as far as Bomet or Funyula and they’d still deliver.
Then there is the latest craze in town www.facebook.com which enables a network of friends across the globe to chat, meaning it can also bring blue movie addicts together. Facebook is now home to more than 100 porn groups. Although anonymity is observed in many other similar sites, here, some find it no secret worth keeping. Hitting the “search” button opens a whole new route to porn appreciation, porn support and even disability porn groups! The list is as sordid as it is endless.
According to www.netnanny.com, the male brain and body is wired in a way that it is susceptible to pornographic images whether it’s a 12-year-old boy or a 70-year-old grandfather.
With time, blue stops being just a colour but a lifestyle. According to www.troublewith.com, most porn addicts start early. It maybe a clip of a girl in a music video wearing two pieces max that leads you to the world of wonder, or plain old rejection that ushers you to the winding road of porn addiction. Or maybe you’ve been asking yourself, “is my partner enough?” and for some reason you manage to convince yourself that this is better than cheating on her. Whatever the case, for those who came to fancy porn, romantic comedies just didn’t do it for them anymore.
Psychologists say that there are five stages of addiction. At first, there’s the early exposure that takes into account the beginning encounters one gets as well as repetitive exposures. At stage two, the material becomes a regular part of your life, meaning you get addicted. Normally at this point you can’t quit what has become a lifestyle.
Then there’s the escalation stage when after a while, you start to look for more and more graphic stuff. That would be the kind that would have disgusted you as you started out but now excites you. Desensitisation is stage four. At this point, you start to become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading filth doesn’t excite you anymore.
The final stage is acting out sexually. This is where many men make a dangerous jump and start acting out. They move from the paper and screen images of porn to the real world.
Most sex offenders get this far before they can get a hold of themselves. John (second name withheld) has had an experience that should teach pests in the making a lesson.
“When I personally got to the ‘acting out phase,’ I started fantasising about what it would be like to rape. I finally tried it.” He speaks with remorse.
“I was lucky. Very lucky. I didn’t succeed. After being reported, arrested and some time in jail, I finally was able to begin the process of weeding out the lies in my life that porn had put there.”
The vice is no respecter of persons. It has affected the likes of Brit Awards favourite, Kanye West — one of the least repentant culprits and of no little fame. Kanye admitted to his mass fan base that he’s addicted to sin and collecting porn.
The rapper who, bizzarely, is said to be a devout Christian also revealed that he couldn’t shake off the habit.
In his confessions, he cited Marvin Gaye’s x-rated anthem Sexual Healing as a fun song even though he really had a problem with sex. He is aware of his problem but he’s not willing to come out of it anytime soon.
“My only drug is porn. I have porn with me all the time,” says the musician who has been idolised by teens worldwide.
X- File’s lead role actor Moulder (David Duchonry) has also fallen into the same trap. The 48-year- old actor, who has been playing a sex obsessed character this year on an Emmy nominated show, Carlifonication recently checked himself into a rehab admitting that he was a sex addict. David, father of two, asked the media to keep their distance as he and his family ‘deal with the issue’.
On the other side of the musical divide, gospel music star Kirk Frankin —he has won three Grammies and did 20 Number 1 hits with over 10,000,000 records sold —but has admitted to millions of fans on Oprah Winfrey’s couch that he was addicted to pornography. He spoke of the vice straining his marriage.
Although Franklin has been credited with single-handedly taking gospel music to the mainstream, his addiction started from age eight and slipped right through to his souring gospel music career.
His weakness was in the magazines he would slip right off his matrimonial bed and head to the room upstairs for a little more pleasure yet his wife knew nothing about it. Not until a year after their wedding. But his is a story with a better ending. His confession led him to live a more accountable life.
But there aren’t many success stories of this kind. If anything, there’s an increasing demand for blue movies locally. Granted, the film industry is growing but the direction it is headed is perturbing.
Although porn made in River Road brothels has been described in a local blog as “tasteless”, it is still porn and available from vendors in any backstreet joint.
It so emerges that there is an increase in the consumption of blue movies in the city that has been linked to the trend of rapes on minors. Psychologically, crimes of this nature are referred to as copycat crimes.
As porn and related crime take firm root, most psychologists and counselors in Kenya have had little or no experience in handling such addiction... Sex offenders end up in jail for a few years and are launched back into the society with no counseling whatsoever.
Husbands at home will forever be demanding of their wives what they see. Kirk Franklin did. And the strain on the marriage could have broken their home.
Children across the country are getting internet enabled phones, so you never know what they are up to. And it’s only a matter of time before every home gets a PC.
So how about having the home computer in a public place and install an anti-spyware program. Many don’t know that porn sites routinely place it into computers. Using a password may not work with some computer savvy children but you can always use a monitoring program but chances are even what’s brought on TV, partial nudity and sex scenes could certainly trigger a desire.
It’s a wired, global village we are living in where new vices can spread across continents in zero time.
Edited copy Published by Daily Nation