Even if we do not look at pornography, its influence seeps into our everyday lives. Sunday, October 31, 2010, kicks off the annual White Ribbons Against Pornography (WRAP) week. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the harms of pornography and to let people know it is not a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.
How does pornography affect you? If you have children who use the Internet, they could accidently click on an x-rated site that has purchased a domain name similar to favorite children’s characters. Or, they could be doing research for a school project and come across pornography sites. They could actively seek out Internet pornography and be able to access it easily. What happens when they first view these sites? It could be the beginning of a pornography addiction.
The website www.safefamilies.org has statistics that are startling in regards to children viewing pornography online. They cite sources which say the average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11; the largest consumer group of Internet pornography is 12- to 17-year-olds, and the adult industry says 20-30 percent of its traffic is made up of children.
If your child has not viewed pornography, it still may affect them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s local office websites contain press releases from their cases, and almost every list contains arrests for possession of child pornography. Those arrested include teachers, librarians, scout leaders, daycare workers, and coaches to name but a few. Would you want your child in close contact with people who view pornography, especially child pornography? These people are viewing images of child abuse and rape, but how many are producing their own child pornography using children they come into contact with during their daily lives?
Speaking of daily life, children aren’t the only ones who encounter pornography addicts. Do you recall the recent news stories on government employees and contractors viewing pornography while purportedly working? How do you think people viewing pornography at work think, act towards, and treat their opposite-sex coworkers? Would you feel uncomfortable if you found out your boss was watching hard core pornography right before you had a meeting with him? Or other people you may encounter during your day, such as the repairmen you let into your home, your doctor, the produce worker at the grocery store, or the maid who cleans your hotel room? (Yes, women are addicted to pornography too, albeit not to the extent men are addicted.)
Perhaps one of the most pronounced examples of pornography’s influence on our lives is found in Halloween costumes. If you peruse the flyer from your local party/costume store, the section for women looks like a pornography movie/stripper casting call. For young girls, the costumes seem to have the same pattern involved with variations on the theme – tight bodice and a mini skirt. Gone are the days where pirates had an eye patch and a fake parrot on their shoulder. Today’s girl pirate costume comes with a sword which should be carried at a jaunty angle to highlight the provocative ensemble.
Even a night of television viewing is not free of pornography’s influence. Cable shows regularly have nudity and simulated sex incorporated into them. Parents Television Council rates the content of network programs, and most of the shows during primetime fall under the red category, which says, “Show may include gratuitous sex, explicit dialogue, violent content, or obscene language, and is unsuitable for children.” The category description pretty much sums up pornography.
Our daily lives are inundated with pornography. If you are sick of its influence, wear a white ribbon during the week of October 31-November 7, 2010, and when people ask you what it means, tell them. If you would like the legal background materials for contacting your local and federal prosecutors to urge them to take obscenity crimes seriously, visit Morality in Media’s website.
It is time for Americans to put a stop to pornography’s harmful effects on ourselves, our families and our society.
Brenda Zurita is a Research Fellow for Concerned Women for America’s think tank, the Beverly LaHaye Institute. More resources can be found at PornHarms.com.