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Our porn problem

Our porn problem

Our porn problem

17 July 2016

Photo: Daniel Gzz

By Lieutenant Kristen Jackson-Dockeray

The statistics are staggering. A survey by men’s magazine GQ found that 53 percent of respondents developed a regular porn habit between the ages of 12 and 14. Close to 20 percent said they started watching porn before they were 12. One in five people who regularly watch porn admitted to feeling controlled by their own sexual desires. And 42 percent of male college students reported visiting porn websites regularly.

The Internet has made pornography more accessible than ever before. Mobile devices put it directly in the hands of consumers. The result is a generation of young people whose minds have been marinated in explicit sexual content since adolescence, an age when their brains are still developing. It’s having an alarming effect on their understanding of human sexuality.

A recent study found that mainstream pornography is overwhelmingly centred on acts of violence and degradation toward women. Porn uses sex, but has very little to do with it. Instead, it’s about power and privilege, about upholding the social construction of patriarchy. It uses sexuality as an instrument of active oppression, eroticizing humiliation and abuse. It makes abnormal sexual behaviour seem normal.

This is the message that young people are receiving, and it is dangerous and destructive.

We are beginning to see the effects of this distorted view of sexuality. In Australia, a recent survey of 600 girls aged 15-19 by Plan International found that online sexual harassment is disturbingly common. The report, titled “Don’t Send Me That Pic,” reveals that 51 percent believe girls are pressured into sending “sexy” pictures; 81.5 percent say it’s not OK for a boyfriend to ask for a naked picture; and seven out of 10 believe girls are bullied or harassed online.

Other stories are emerging of girls being asked to play out porn scenarios characterized by male dominance and female submission.

That’s why, as Christians, we need to be concerned not just with the sexual immorality of porn, but with the way it entrenches a distorted view of the sexes. The porn industry refuses to see men and women as created in the image of God. It turns people into objects. It stunts our ability to be fully human.

Abstaining from porn is not primarily about piety, it is about holiness. Holiness is about being more and more in love with God and with humanity. If you are in love with God and in love with humanity, the commodification of people through pornography breaks your heart.

As the holy people of a holy God, a God who ordained and created sex, we need to yell out to the world—there is more! We need to speak out about the porn industry in a way that is thoughtful, aware, intentional and justice-oriented. We need to love God and love our neighbours by moving away from that which is selfish, thoughtless or hurtful to others.

Let’s reclaim sex as the holy gift of a holy God.  

Lieutenant Kristen Jackson-Dockeray is the divisional youth secretary in the British Columbia Division. First published in the Canadian Salvationist

For a report on pornography by the International Social Justice Commission, click HERE

 

 

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