I was invited to go to Washington DC to attend the ‘Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation’ from May 16-17. The experience provided me with connections, education, and the resolve to address the issue of protecting children from adults who would put them into inappropriate dance presentations. Morality in Media, a faith-based organization, was the summit sponsor. They brought together a variety of leaders and groups, both Christian and secular, with one common element: a desire to stop sexual exploitation in our culture and around the world. To give you an idea of what I learned, let me share several high-lights:
Gail Dines, PH.D spoke on ‘Sex, Identity and Intimacy in a Porn Culture’. She is an author and professor of sociology and women’s Studies at Wheelock College where she is also chair of the American Studies department. Gail has served as a worldwide leader in the effort against sexual exploitation. She has been writing and researching about the damaging effects of pornography for well over 20 years. I found her to be personally inspiring and articulate.
Sharon Cooper, MD, spoke on a panel about ‘Pornography and the Colonization of Childhood.’ She is a developmental and forensic pediatrician who evaluates and treats children who have been victims of all forms of abuse, though her primary area of expertise is that of sexual exploitation. She is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Wonderful.
Reverend Joseph Dennis spoke on the church’s role in the war on pornography. He is a popular conference speaker and has a passion to lead men to lead lives of moral purity. He has authored more than 6 books and developed the Decision maker’s bible. He challenged every church to talk about this important issue.
Jennie Bishop commented on Protecting Innocence: Real Solutions, not just scary statistics. She is best known as the author of the children’s classics ‘The Princess and the Kiss’ and ‘The Squire and the Scroll’, which have sold over a quarter million copies worldwide. She is the founder of purityworks, an international and non-profit organization. What a heart for little people!
Mary Anne Layden, PH.D provided research on the long term consequences of pornography. She is a psychotherapist and Director of Education at the center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program there. She specializes in the treatment of victims. I have written her personally to get her research so that I can be informed about sexual exploitation with hard data.
Dr. Donald Hilton MD, talked on pornography addiction and shared extensive brain research on the effects of pornography on the brain development. He countered the notion that pornography addiction is not valid or not widespread. The brain changes with different stimuli; it can also return to its original state because it has elasticity. Amazing.
And there were many more presentations and speakers……A big thank you to Dawn Hawkins who put the conference together with her staff! It was an inspiring conference full of people who were speaking out on behalf of women, men and children; increasing numbers are being exploited sexually. We actually live in a ‘pornified culture.’ It was clear that the trend to objectify children in dance is part of the way we are exposing our culture to hyper sexualization; it is destructive to all who are involved.
There is much to do. “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Let’s protect children and monitor what kind of dance movement we allow them to experience when they are under 12. Then they can grow and develop in wonderful, healthy ways. Please join me by signing the national online petition and take action on the local level with the toolkit; let’s get the word out to others.
I’ll keep you posted.