Sexual Exploitation

Not Your Grandfather’s Pornography: the Problem, the Harm, and a Policy Response

By | Legal, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

As the country wrestles with the widespread problem of sexual assault (as embodied in the recent “#MeToo” phenomena) and how to respond to it, we must consider the multiple factors that lie at the root of the issue. The rapid spread of online pornography, with its decisive sexual objectification of women, is one area that should be explored and prioritized among policymakers.

The violent, sexual subjugation of women is not an unfortunate byproduct of pornography but one of its main selling points. Physical and mental abuse of women is not uncommon — both on and off camera — in the porn industry. It is an industry that rewards risky sexual behavior and preys on the minds of both young men and women by appealing to their prurient instincts and feeding their most debased desires.

Pornography, taken as a whole, lacks any serious societal value, and whatever value it may have is greatly outweighed by the numerous unintended consequences it continues to produce in our society.

This paper discusses the problem of online pornography, the numerous harms that make it a public health hazard, and suggests a three-pronged approach (three “E”s) to tackle the issue going forward: education, enforcement, and empathy.

International Women’s Day: Is #MeToo Yesterday’s Hashtag, or Will it Bring True Change?

By | Blog, Defense of Family, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Five months out from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the subsequent launch of #MeToo, we find ourselves celebrating International Women’s Day on Thursday with a focus on gender parity.

Concerned Women for America members join in the celebration. Thankfully, American women enjoy more freedom, opportunity and legal protection than most, if not the entire, world. This is no secret.

The majority of legal immigrants to the United States are women who yearn to join our ranks. Even Hillary Clinton recognized this fact when she said in 2015: “There has never been a better time in history to be born female.” We are doctors, lawyers, and governors. We are CEOs and astronauts. Women are on the move.

First, are women actually more inclined to speak up about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace today than they were five months ago? Did the show of support from Hollywood during the awards season or black-garbed senators during the State of the Union really change anything?

Last year saw women take on the tough topic of sexual assault, but we should take a moment to reflect on the current cultural phenomena of the #MeToo movement. What started here has spread to become an international inflection point for women to discuss sexual harassment and assault. It is no surprise that even other Western nations struggle, because this is a matter of the heart. Mankind is broken.

While the movement has left a trail of abusive men and women who have been fired from their lofty positions, or are at least are under investigation, it’s difficult to say with any authority that it will permanently change our institutions.

It took over 30 years for one Harvard professor, who was accused of sexual harassment over three decades by female colleagues and students, to finally be placed on leave. Women left their jobs at Harvard because of this man during all these years and only now are seeing justice.

However, despite decades of stories filtering out from the ivory towers of academia, for the most part, higher education is slipping undeservedly under the radar. One will know things have changed when universities stop predatory professors.

Secondly, is Hollywood serious?  Several Hollywood actresses have indeed broken their silence and named the men who made their lives a living hell. Those men have fallen hard from the top, but then Hollywood chooses this week to give an Oscar to Kobe Bryant, who was arrested and charged with sexual assault in 2003 after a 19-year-old woman accused him of rape. The case against Bryant was dropped a year later when the woman said she wasn’t willing to testify in court.

Hollywood also has made a huge show of appointing Anita Hill as head of a commission against sexual harassment. Yet, it was Hill who defended President Bill Clinton during one of his many alleged sexual escapades, several of which were reportedly unwanted advances. Conservative women are left to wonder Hollywood is just content to score political points.

And when is Congress going to come clean?  A few members have resigned in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but others are hiding behind a secret list from the Office of Compliance that paid over $17 million in taxpayer money to settle workplace disputes – including sexual harassment settlements.

This is only in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate paid separately and also concealed the identities of the guilty. The taxpayers rightfully deserve to know how our money was spent and which lawmakers were involved.

The whole ordeal is rife with contradictions and seems to always be one step forward and two steps back.

What about lower-paid working women?  Is the demand for zero tolerance of boorish behavior going to trickle down to them? Thus far, there are no stories of the hospitality industry and restaurant chains clamping down on grabby bosses or patrons.

So what makes a woman working a blue collar job who is sexually harassed think she stands a chance of not facing retribution should she report what is happening? This becomes real when reporters cover stories of new accountability at places like McDonald’s and TGI Fridays.

The final question: When will the #MeToo movement realize that there can be no left or right litmus test for members? You think the mean-girl stage ends in high school, but no.

“You can’t sit with us” has just turned into “you can’t stand with us.” Many women feel as if they have no recourse in the public square, because in order to join other women in the #MeToo movement they think they must be liberal feminists.

So as women celebrate living in an exceptional nation, it’s good to consider ways to improve our nation for all women, regardless of socioeconomic class or political bent. The #MeToo movement needs consistency and inclusion in order to be both sustainable and effective. If gender equality is to happen, it must first happen among women leading the way by embracing the Golden Rule for each other.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by Fox News. Click here to see it.

Another Hard-fought Victory This Week – Sex Trafficking

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

This week the House passed a sex trafficking bill (H.R. 1865) that would allow state attorneys general and victims to sue websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. This bill was created to target sites like, which is currently under Senate investigation because of the hosting of ads that promoted the trafficking of minors. The legislation passed changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which the first circuit ruled shields websites from lawsuits over user-generated content.

This bill was a fight from the very beginning. Fortunately, human trafficking is a big issue nationally, and generally, everyone agrees it is a horrid practice that must be stopped. However, this issue has a lot of money surrounding it, and that means there are a lot of anti-sex trafficking groups with a lot of opinions about how this type of legislation should be handled. This issue also touched the bipartisan golden child of Congress: the tech industry. Democrat and Republican leadership are both heavily funded by the tech industry, and, unfortunately, they hated this bill when it was originally introduced, so we had our work cut out for us.

CWA worked with Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Missouri) office almost weekly for a year, meeting and strategizing how to get people in D.C. on board with something for which states were asking. The original bill was altered several times to appease not only the trafficking groups, but also was altered per DOJ’s request. When it passed, it was supported by all 50 state attorneys general. The final bill is a reflection of what should happen in Washington. Everyone: groups, congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the administration, worked together (eventually, not everyone was on board initially) to make a stronger and better piece of legislation.

We were not happy with the Senate counterpart for the House bill. It is what I would refer to as a “pat ourselves on the back” bill; it seems like it is accomplishing something, and it sounds really good, but ultimately it was not as strong as the House bill, and we had major concerns. Unfortunately, we were one of the few who did have major concerns with only the Senate language, and many sex trafficking groups loved the Senate language, but we vocalized those concerns and worked with Rep. Wagner’s office to educate members and leadership on why the House bill is better.

H.R. 1865 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 388-25.   The Senate will take up the House-passed bill the week of March 12.  Congratulations to Rep. Wagner who led the charge on the passage of this bill.  CWA worked long and hard on this legislation.  We look forward to seeing it through to passage in the Senate, also.


Nassar Case Demonstrates Harms of Pornography

By | LBB, Legal, Sex Trafficking / Pornography, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The pornography cancer that continues to consume our nation reared its ugly head again as the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar concluded this week. The former USA Gymnastics doctor was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who told him, “I’ve just signed your death warrant.”

Nassar abused more than 150 girls over the past two decades. He got less than what he deserves.

But those getting acquainted with the case now might miss that, just like virtually every other predator in the history of sexual assault, Nassar fed, groomed, and rotted his brain on pornography before and after abusing girls for years.

It was pornography that did him in…

Read the rest of this op-ed as featured exclusively on

Mario Diaz, Esq. is Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Congress: Back in Black?

By | Blog, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The Golden Globe Awards show was viewed by 19 million people, and many women in entertainment used it as a platform to stand in solidarity with victims of assault and sexual harassment by powerful men in the industry. They did this by wearing black, which successfully grabbed the national spotlight and drove the media conversation for a solid day, maybe two.  Piggy-backing off this media attention, some members of Congress are planning to wear black to the president’s State of the Union Address later this month.

The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace has finally broken into the national consciousness, as it should have years ago. We applaud the likes of Eva Longoria who launched “Time’s Up,” which has raised millions of dollars for a legal fund to help disadvantaged women who have been sexually harassed. We all agree that #TimesUp on sexual harassment, and now, as a nation, we’re on the edge of our seats; how will this be handled both by specific industries as well as on a congressional level?

#TimesUp for sexual harassment in the workplace, but time is also up for replacing action with slogans and hashtag campaigns. Time’s up for fawning over an actress who calls for the rejection of abject poverty while wearing a $380 sweatshirt declaring said rejection. Time’s up for buying into the illusion that donning a certain color garment is something powerful.

It is not. These are nothing more than gestures.

How does wearing a black dress to an awards show help the waitress with the grabby boss? How does it help the rape victim whose DNA evidence sits unprocessed by state law enforcement for years?

To our congresswomen and senators specifically, how does the choice of a black suit help the low-level staffer who was forced to quit her job because her boss – your colleague – couldn’t keep his hands in his pockets?

What can Hollywood, the media, and Congress actually do besides use hashtags and designer gowns to prove they are in solidarity with the victims of abuse? There are real steps that can be taken.

Congress can start by releasing the list of congressmen and senators who have used taxpayer dollars to keep their victims quiet. Until that list is released, no one is going to take a campaign of color-coordinated outfits seriously. Demand accountability for whatever portion of the $17+ million of tax dollars that was used to cover up the workplace violations and sexual harassment claims against elected officials.

Currently, there is limited process and no accountability. That low-level staffer will still leave her job – or stay and endure the harassment because she needs the money and a resume boost. She does not feel supported because celebrities and senators look like they are going to a funeral for a night.

Some men have been called to task for their despicable behavior and rightly fired. But Congress is way behind the curve on this issue. At least the media and Hollywood have acted quickly to remove from their payrolls the men who behaved badly; Congress acts as if they are on a leisurely Sunday stroll to nowhere when it comes to accountability when they should be setting the example.

While Eva Longoria seems to be on the right track, another group of Hollywood executives from all the big labels blew it.  This was their moment to own their sin and to find a way forward, but, sadly, they chose politics over people.

The Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace could have chosen anyone from a large number of qualified women, but instead, powerful insiders chose Anita Hill to lead the commission. While Miss Hill is a hero for the left due to her opposition and testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, they conveniently forget the incident a few years later during a Meet the Press interview when she chose not to support women who were sexually harassed by President Bill Clinton.  Instead, she deferred to, and then sided with, the most powerful man in the world.

These kinds of stunts get us nowhere. They only serve to exacerbate an already politically charged and contentious topic. Hollywood and Congress are wearing black this January, and if they want to use their power to dress alike, fine. However, if they want to use their power to help women who have been forced to be silent in the face of harassment, Hollywood needs to find someone new to head up their Commission on Sexual Harassment, and members of Congress must demand that the list of fellow colleagues who used taxpayer dollars to cover their tracks be released.

Time’s up for inaction and posturing.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was posted by Fox News. Read it here.


Playboy and the Way of the World

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

It is the way of the world that corporations tend to be corrupted as each successive generation takes control. Sometimes men start companies with all the best intentions, eschewing the making of a cheap buck for the sake of their principles. This tends to be something their children fail to understand, or it at least tends to be discounted in favor of getting dad to go a different direction to increase the company’s bottom line. But oftentimes, dad won’t budge. The company will operate as he sees it — as his vision dictates … until he dies. Then, without their father to stand in the way, the children turn the company down darker paths and make darker alliances. In the case of a company that’s already bad, well, things get worse.

In the case of Playboy — while Hugh Hefner’s dead body was still warm — the floundering magazine for “men” introduced its first transgendered playmate. (Links are for sourcing purposes only. Let the curious be forewarned.)

Let that sink in for a moment. They went from the exploitation of women, to the exploitation of a man who feels like a woman. Playboy has definitely taken a darker turn, coming down on the side of sexual confusion. But then, the whole empire was built on sexual confusion as a founding principle. “The human body is beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with that; no one is getting hurt. This is empowering to women.”

Really? Then why do we have a #MeToo culture? Why do we have porn addicts assaulting children in libraries, Target stores, and elsewhere across this porn-soaked planet? Why is the FBI rescuing a five-year-old girl and her three-month-old sister from a sex trafficking ring? Who really gets empowered in all this — and who gets fooled into believing they’re empowered? Sex and sexuality as a tool of empowerment is absolute confusion. It is used by the Hefners and Weinsteins of the world to control and exploit.

But God never intended sex as a tool or weapon. He never created a harem — virtual or otherwise. He created us male and female. One man and one woman in the beginning. God instituted one man/one woman marriage, and by extension that means a man should only really see his wife’s body and she his. Every Playboy playmate — and every woman caught in the web of lies that is pornography — is offered up as an opportunity for every man to look at the body of a woman who is, or has the potential to be, someone else’s wife. And that fits perfectly the Lord’s definition of adultery.

Playboy has, for years, tried to tell men what kind of body shapes they should find attractive. That effort has been mimicked to softer — but no less insidious — degrees by the marketing industry. The trickledown effect has been monumentally destructive for young girls, who see the thin, busty models and then look at their still-developing bodies and well up in a rage and hatred that points inward and warps their sense of self, playing out in eating disorders and other forms of self-harm.

On top of those unrealistic expectations — because, let’s be real, every image in Playboy is heavily Photoshopped — our daughters have to contend with porn-soaked boys, who look at Playboy and worse, and expect girls to be the easy, slutty porn princesses of their lurid, little dreams.

The #MeToo culture isn’t going anywhere, because sexual predators will continue to feed on Playboy and the rotten fruits of the industry it spawned, until they are no longer sated by mere images and venture out into the real world for victims.

This latest envelope pushing by Playboy shows that they’re not done yet — that they’re willing to sink deeper into sexually deviant realms. Their callous disregard for women, under the guise of empowerment, simultaneously sickens me and chills me to the bone.

I fear for my daughter. I fear for my sons. And I fear for an America that has turned from the Lord to engage in such a twisted, base worship of the human form. God help us all.

Anita Hill is not Hollywood’s answer. Her ‘they all do it’ defense of Clinton doesn’t fly.

By | Blog, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Aspiring actresses and Hollywood career women may have cheered when they heard Show Biz execs tapped Anita Hill to lead a sexual harassment commission examining issues of sexual misconduct and inequality in the entertainment industry.  As a former victim of an actual physical attack and attempted rape over 20 years ago, all I can say is, “I wish this was truly a win for women.”

Besides the obvious problem of Hollywood big wigs choosing to politicize this problem, the deeper issue is that Ms. Hill is not the advocate for whom women are looking, especially in an industry that is led by many clearly hypocritical men.  The women of Hollywood may have grown up learning about Anita Hill as a heroine, but as we’ve come – all too painfully – to learn, academia and media have painted a picture of her over the past quarter century that is conveniently divorced from reality.

Ms. Hill had the chance to stand up for numerous women who were being sexually mistreated by a powerful man. Instead she chose to defend that man and cast doubt on his accusers.  So much for every woman deserving to be believed.

During President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct scandals, Ms. Hill was interviewed by Tim Russert and Gwen Ifill of NBC News on Meet the Press.  They asked her directly about accusations made by Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, and others. Her reaction would cause a great deal of shock today, and the women of entertainment need to know what she said then, because it affects how much confidence they should invest in her now.

Kathleen Willey, once an enthusiastic fundraiser for, and supporter of, Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaigns, came to see him in the Oval Office. She was in financial trouble.  He chose this moment to assault her.  When asked about Willey’s accusations on Meet the PressMs. Hill dismissed them.

“We don’t have Ms. Willey claiming that this behavior was severe and ongoing, or pervasive enough that it became a condition of her employment. She’s not making that claim at all. And, in fact, no one has made that claim. She says in the deposition, I believe, that she was not given any particular favor at the White House because of this incident nor could she say that she suffered any disadvantage because of this incident.”

Russert pushed: “So, do we dismiss the president’s alleged behavior … because he backed off when he was told ‘no?’ It’s acceptable.”

Hill: “Well I’m not sure. I think that we have to evaluate it not on the basis of whether it’s sexual harassment, but evaluate it on the basis of what we would like to see in terms of the behavior and the moral decisions and judgments of the president.”

She then inexplicably launched into the “they all do it” defense, citing Presidents Kennedy and Johnson among others.

“I think the American public has heard so much about the sexual activities and the sex lives of these individuals, and we’ve sort of become cynical and said, ‘Well, if he did it, maybe that’s OK; they all do it.”

If you’re a woman in the entertainment industry – or any victim of sexual misconduct or physical assault – and you’re watching this or reading the transcript, it does not inspire confidence.  Quite the opposite, especially in light of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein and others.

Hill kept going and even more inexplicably compounded the “they all do it” defense with the now unfathomable double-standard reasoning that President Clinton should get a pass because … he’s a liberal and supports so-called “women’s issues.”  Sound familiar?

This is utterly ridiculous given today’s revelations. Before he was outed as a predator, Harvey Weinstein took a back seat to no one as a liberal advocate on what Hill referred to as “women’s issues generally.”

When Ms. Hill had the opportunity to step up and defend the powerless against the most powerful man in the world, her instinct was to defend him, because his politics happened to be liberal. Well, it’ll come as no shock to every woman in Hollywood that their town is replete with countless powerful men whose politics just happen to be liberal.

It doesn’t take a great intellectual leap to posit this is why, in all their insecurity (and condescension), the Hollywood moguls picked her to lead the commission in the first place.  If these leaders truly care about the women in their industry, they’ll find someone way better to lead this effort than Anita Hill.  As it stands, with Anita Hill at the helm, this effort must be viewed as unserious.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by USA Today. Click here to read it.

His Standard of Righteousness

By | Blog, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Lately, we have seen so many situations involving people stepping down from their positions because of inappropriate behavior.

It’s all very disturbing, and yet it’s also no surprise that sin and perversion is so rampant in our society. Now it’s just more evident than ever and out in the open for all to see. The church isn’t exempt either. The Bible says in I Peter 4:17 that judgment begins in the house of God.

Thank God for His standard of righteousness and for His mercy. He is exposing what is hidden in the darkness and bringing it into the light. Now it can be dealt with so redemption can begin to take place. He’s all about redeeming what is broken, twisted, and lost and making people and society whole and in alignment with His Word.

If there was no standard of right and wrong, none of this would even be happening. The fact that it is happening indicates that there is still some moral code remaining in our country, despite how far we have drifted from Biblical standards as a nation.

In the midst of this, there are also situations where some are being falsely accused. We must pray for truth to be made known in each situation and for God’s protection for those who are innocent.

It’s possible that what has been hidden in darkness needs to be dealt with and exposed, because God wants to pour out His Spirit once again on America. As we pray for a thorough house cleaning, may the King of Glory enter in! (Psalm 24)

Denise Cappuccio serves as Director of Finance for Concerned Women for America.