Nearly one third of all data on the internet is pornographic in nature and there are an estimated 12 million sex addicts in the United States, according to experts in the field.
Jill Manning, a licensed family and marriage therapist, and Dawn Hawkins from the National Center of Sexual Exploitation, teamed up to shed further light on this issue at the World Congress of Families IX.
The session began with the viewing of a film titled, “The Porn Pandemic,” which depicts those who are addicted to porn and those who are dealing with addicts’ behaviors.
Ninety percent of the couples marriage counselor H. David Wright visits with have issues with pornography, according to the film.
Wright also worked with hundreds of children whose parents had accepted money in exchange for their children having sex with adults or for posting nude pictures of their children online.
One woman depicted in the film named Courtney shared her heartache over having been sexually exploited as a child by a friend’s father, who then posted those experiences online.
“It’s extremely painful to think that trauma is somewhere out there and that people are viewing it,” Bailey said.
Married women are also some of the people most adversely affected by the pandemic, Manning said.
“Their distress is not influenced by religious beliefs, which directly counters the notion and argument that these women are only distressed because of their religious or conservative mindset. This is simply not true,” Manning said.
One woman named Jacy, who is depicted in the film, talked about the sense of betrayal she felt upon discovery of her husband’s pornography usage and subsequent visits to prostitutes.
“I don’t think there was a time I ever felt more defeated as a wife, as a mother, or as a lover,” she said when she learned she would need to be tested for HIV and AIDS due to her husband’s behavior.
When it comes to family dysfunction, pornography has the third highest number of negative consequences, according to Manning, and it’s the fifth most prevalent issue.
“Because in these situations it is as if the war has literally invaded their own homes. And the person she thought was her safe harbor and ally has suddenly become enemy number one,” Manning said.
The move from viewing adult pornography to child pornography isn’t as big of a jump as many people think it is. It’s the gateway drug to child exploitation and child pornography for many, said Hawkins.
While pornography usage doesn’t always lead to visiting prostitutes, it is the reality for many. One study showed one in four men aged 18 to 23 said they had already visited a prostitute or were planning to do so in the future.
There are more 71,600 videos that pop up when one searches “rape porn,” according to Hawkins. Additionally, Anna Bridges conducted a study showing that 88 percent of top porn videos depicted violence against women and less than 5 percent show a negative response from the female.
The problem is so pervasive that it’s difficult for families to remain untouched by it.
“Now when I walk into a room I don’t ask ‘who has a problem with pornography?’ I ask who hasn’t encountered it,” Jacy said.
But both Manning and Hawkins are hopeful that, despite the gravity of the problem, there is still hope of stopping it.