I hope I got your attention with my title... I am currently working with the group Morality in Media and their coalition effort the War on Illegal Pornography which means that each day I get to hear the stories or how pornography has ruined lives- those who watch it, are addicted to it, those who are married to addicts, those who were sold into it, those who were desperate and "chose" to do it, those who have found out there young children have been looking at it, etc.
I get to read studies about how it affects and alters the brain, how it increases sexual violence, how it degrades women. I read about people copying what they see in hardcore films and trying them out on minors. I look online for different groups to join our coalition: support groups for spouses, support groups for addicts, internet safety groups, anti-child pornography groups, anti-trafficking groups- BOTH foreign AND domestic (that's right, it is right here on our home soil and it is rampant). I see how "men" like Hugh Hefner glorify pornography and the life of those involved and I see how it actually takes from men what really makes them men- their strength and self-control, and even, as several reports have noted, their ability to engage in sexual activity with real women, and therefore, it takes their ability to procreate.
I also see how no one wants to talk about it. I see how it is such a thing of shame that these problems are not being addressed and how the big billion-dollar bully porn industry has too much of society in their pocket (or pocketBOOK) and how they intimidate in whatever ways they can those who try to stand up to them. I see how those who do take a stand are labled as being anti-first amendment, pro-censorship extremists who are just trying to force everyone to believe what they want- which may apply to some groups, but pornography affects everyone- whether society recognizes it or not. I see how sex and its misuse and the lack of respect for it affects EVERY part of society: it affects how we see other people, how we treat them. It affects how we feel about ourselves, our body image, our self-esteem. It affects how industries sell their products. It affects (obviously) the HUGE and every growing number of single mothers which increases her chances of living in poverty. It affects the role of men in society. It affects family relationships.
It affects poverty rates and therefore social and welfare programs. It affects politics and policy (as our esteemed Congressman from NY has shown us this past week and he is certainly not the first public official to experience a sex scandal). It just affects EVERYTHING. It is a discouraging issue, but a really important one. It is connected to SO much and if we want to end trafficking and if we want to end child exploitation and if we want to end prostitution, we need to start at the root causes or these issues: Demand. Pornography fuels the fire. There is no doubt. And no offense, but anyone who wants to dispute that, I cannot listen to, not after what I have seen and heard.
Here is a video that I just found, not necessarily about pornography, but definitely related. It is about child trafficking abroad:
It won't let me embed, so go to this site: http://love146.org/videos/face-slavery
In this video, the narrator- who also co-wrote the awesome book Half the Sky- says "I'm sickened to think that in many countries around the globe teenage girls are still being kidnapped and forced into brothels." But, I need to say and I want everyone to know, that the UNITED STATES IS NOT IMMUNE TO THIS PROBLEM!!! Look at Shared Hope International if you don't believe me. It is happening here too. It is happening everywhere.
I think that fighting against pornography and educating ourselves and others about the harms of it is a good step towards ridding the world of so many of its ills. It is idealistic, but we have to have some hope that things can get better. It is also discouraging, but if like-minded people would stand up against it, we could do some great things. And I think the first thing to do is recognize that it harms and then start talking about it.
And, let me share something else... Publishing this post scares me a little bit because this is a controversial subject and because pro-pornography people tend to be a bit bullyish. So, if you disagree, please share, but also please don't be mean :)