Make Your Mark festival seeks to end silence about pornography addiction

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Alexa Anderson
BYU Unraveling Pornography club members Anthony Ennis, left, and Essen Skabelund hand out fliers for Saturday’s event in the WILK. (Alexa Anderson)

BYU’s Unraveling Pornography Club will sponsor Reach 10’s first annual Make Your Mark Festival at Kiwanis Park on Saturday, April 8.

Reach 10 is a new, local non-profit based in Provo, Utah and was founded by Vauna Davis in January 2017. Davis, a BYU graduate and current executive director of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, created Reach 10 as a platform to arm young adults with the skills and education needed to cultivate change and repair the culture of pornography.

“I have been involved in this cause now for roughly six or seven years, and I have learned so much,” Davis said. “Young adults live with the consequences of pornography now. We are getting more evidence that pornography harms people, but sometimes how we talk about it makes the problem worse.”

Davis said the young adults with whom she speaks tell her that pornography addictions are not usually talked about because of fear or shame. Reach 10 helps young adults better communicate and connect.

“Reach 10 helps young adults improve relationships and create connections,” Davis said. “It teaches people how to talk to people they are dating or friends and family, and helps them prevent and resolve problems.”

Senior family studies major and future president of BYU’s Unraveling Pornography club Essen Skabelund met Davis in Houston, Texas, at the Coaltion to End Sexual Exploitation conference.

At the time, Skabelund was an intern at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in Washington, D.C., through BYU’s Washington Seminar. Upon Skabelund’s return to BYU, she quickly got involved with Davis’ Reach 10 program.

“I felt that Reach 10’s work was connected to what I was doing in D.C.,” Skabelund said. “This is an issue I feel strongly about, and I think it is very important.”

Saturday’s Make Your Mark Festival is geared towards educating millennials about the platform and its important message.

Senior and sociology major Austin Fausnaught, who is also a member of the Unraveling Pornography Club, highlighted the necessity of the event and its connection to BYU students.

“Vauna Davis reached out to a bunch of us nine months ago explaining there was a gap in the pornography movement,” Fausnaught said. “The gap is with millennials. This is important because millennials are the first generation to have easy access to pornography through the Internet. Pornography has spiked, but we don’t know how to talk about the issue.”

The method of conversation about pornography needs to be changed, and Saturday’s festival will provide an opportunity to learn how to best do that, according to Fausnaught.

“There is a lot of shame associated with pornography,” Fausnaught said. “Everything with pornography happens in the dark—both the viewing and the recovery of it. If we are okay talking about alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse, why are we not okay with talking about pornography addiction? Recovery from pornography happens through connection, not without it.”

The event will feature educational booths, food truck vendors, a raffle, prizes and games. It will be held at Kiwanis Park in Provo at 1019 W 1100 E from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“People can come who want to get involved with Reach 10 or who simply want to learn more,” Skabelund said. “Either way they can come and use the resources provided at the event to do that.”

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