There are now two dead girls and one who is forever changed because they were gang raped by boys who then posted pictures and videos of those rapes online. Where is the outrage that politicians are giving to the gun debate? Oh, right, porn isn’t on their agenda. It’s not even on their radar. Well, it’s on mine. And I’ll tell you why.
I was sexually abused as a small child. Most people know that about me. However, the part I rarely talk about are all the boys and men who followed, who took advantage of me because of that experience, using me for their own enjoyment.
I was used by man after man. Boys talked me into doing things that, had the Internet existed and our exploits gone public (as they so often do now), I would have been horrified for the world to see. It was bad enough that most people in my town knew through gossip.
The reason I hate talking about the promiscuity that followed my sexual abuse is because I know I share the responsibility for that behavior. Yes, boys used me and talked me into things I didn’t want to do, but most of the time, I chose to let them. Only once was I actually force into sex and even then, it wasn’t so much fighting an assault, but acquiescing to the man so it would be over as soon as possible.
So I know what these girls are going through. Yet there’s a huge difference in what happened to girls in my generation and what is happening to the girls of this one. We didn’t have the Internet, cell phones with cameras, or even cell phones at all. I’m not sure we’d be alive today if we’d had. But there is one important similarity between the women of my generation and the girls today: both are plagued by fatherless homes and easy access to porn. The “boys will be boys” mentality probably plays as big a role today, too, in the acceptance of casual sex.
Whenever it’s suggested we need to examine our attitudes toward sex and porn, people balk at the idea because in our “me first!” culture, this could change how we have “fun.” We don’t want to think porn is wrong and contributes to sex being so abused in our culture. Because maybe then we’d have to face our own porn use…our own contribution to this problem.
Many kids (including mine) have seen their parents engaged in non-marital, intimate relationships. Go to a club on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll see two crowds: the college kids and the “single mothers” who are there for “Ladies’ Night.” Sometimes the women are the same young age, but for the mothers at least, the fact that they are at a club means the kids are home with a babysitter. Nothing is wrong with Mom having fun with her friends once in a while. But when your kids see that Mom’s (or even Dad’s) life revolves around having romantic relationship after romantic relationship, that becomes normal for them. Children learn through example, after all.
And while Mom is out clubbing, where is Dad? Not at home…not even in the family, most of the time. It’s fairly normal today for kids to be raised in fatherless households. I’d go further and say many kids really grow up parent-less, not just fatherless. Even when children are fortunate enough to live with two parents, the parents are often either glued to their phone or computer, working all the time, or chauffeuring the kids to a thousand activities. Being a parent is much more than that.
I didn’t always know this. I was a self-centered mom for most of my kids’ lives (and may still be, considering I just told my son, “I’ll talk to you about anything you want when I’m done writing my post!”). Parenting is about talking to kids and teaching/guiding them on how to make good decisions, holding them accountable when they make bad ones, and applauding them when they make good ones. Nowadays a lot of parents think that it means defending their kids against anyone who wants to hold them accountable for anything.
But even more damaging than kids receiving no guidance and not being held accountable for poor choices is the easy access to porn. Porn is a contributing factor in most sexual assaults, because kids today have 24/7 access to hardcore, violent porn. When my husband was a teen who wanted to look at porn, there was a whole set of hoops to jump through: getting someone to buy the magazine for him, the embarrassment in ASKING someone to buy it for him, and then finding a place to look at it. Today, there’s no shame at all attached to looking at porn, much less any difficulty in accessing it.
Before my conversion, I watched porn, all kinds of porn, and the stuff I’ve seen that kids can access for free on iPods shocked the hell out of me. Teens with raging hormones and access to that kind of violent porn will act out at some point. Many people–even those who watch porn regularly–don’t realize that rape is the most common plot in porn movies.
But most adults in our culture glorify or at least ignore the dangers of porn. At worst, it’s “No big deal for consenting adults.” But we’re forgetting our children learn to behave by watching the behavior of adults. If Dad “checks out” Kim Kardashian, then teen boys are going to think it’s okay to do the same. If they find porn on their parents’ computers or phones, they’re going to Google how to get more on their iPods and own phones. Before long, they will want to live out these titillating scenes. And it doesn’t take much convincing for a group of boys to think it’s okay to imitate what they see in porn by raping a drunk girl.
Porn is everywhere, even in the grocery store aisle, folks. I opened a copy of Cosmo the other day for the first time in forever and holy moly…there were articles about sex clubs, orgies, girl-on-girl sex, and masturbation. The whole thing from cover to cover was sex, sex, and more sex. My 11-year old could buy that magazine.
Why do we wonder what is behind the epidemic of rape in our society? Isn’t it obvious?
As adults, we are the only ones who can help our children. Do we have what it takes to look at our lives and make the changes needed for the sake of our kids? I hope so, because if we don’t, there will be a lot worse things happening to our kids in the future. I wish our nation’s president was nearly as concerned with our youth’s access to porn as he is with their access to guns. As long as we’re banning things that harm our children, where is the cry to ban porn?