Post By: Victoria Hirsch
I would never consider using the word “love” in conjunction with pornography. They boast completely different values and invoke contrasting feelings. Love is centered on selflessness and sacrifice. Pornography is violent and exploitative. In 1 Corinthians 16:14, Paul encourages, “Let all that you do be done in love.” My experience interning at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is teaching me that to fight well against pornography, love should be my motivation.
When it comes to a definition of love, the public has been lied to. The commercial sex industry and the marketing that accompanies it have convinced society that pornography is an avenue to love. They claim it physically depicts love, enhances one’s own love life, and is harmless to one’s personal relationships. The culture surrounding the normalization of pornography has concealed the truth of its destructive nature. Studies on MRIs of pornography users show that its impact on the brain mirrors a drug-addicted brain.
Not only does repeated use of pornography change the chemistry of the brain, but it disproportionately depicts abuse of African American women and children, normalizes sexual violence, and is largely unregulated. Diving into the realities of pornography in the United States as part of my on-boarding reading materials informed my perspective about what it looks like to end sexual exploitation, and in a manner categorized by love.
NCOSE does this by recognizing that perpetrators of sexual exploitation are often themselves survivors of childhood sexual abuse or trauma. This organization walks a nuanced line that chooses to value the dignity of all humans while working to hold those accountable who take advantage of the weak. I am learning that to be successful in this fight, righteous indignation should be fueled by love. Love chooses to acknowledge societal failures that have pushed people into believing exploitation is normal. It sees the cyclical nature of abuse and looks for ways to break those cycles. It genuinely listens to survivors and reassures them that their voices are heard. It celebrates every victory.
To do “all things with love” in the fight against pornography requires tenacious advocacy and understanding that it is the link between all forms of sexual exploitation.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.