Thirty percent of women are addicted to it. Sixty-seven percent of men say they look at it at least once a month.
“It” refers to pornography. The statistics above reveal how pornography is an epidemic within the church community, and these numbers mirror secular statistics. The percentages are provided by Transparent Ministries and Morality in Media, respectively.
Morality in Media (MIM), a national organization opposing pornography and indecency, is fighting to combat this growing trend. It is in its last week of the National Awareness Campaign, entitled “Be Aware: Porn Harms.” This week, the focus is on how pornography harms women. With an increase in pornography consumption, there is an alleged link to the increase in violence against women.
Dawn Hawkins, Morality in Media’s executive director, says that the kind of videos the porn industry produces has grown more violent in recent years due to its popularity among consumers.
“Spousal violence is also one of our greatest concerns – the husband consuming violent porn and then living out the pornographic scenes in his marriage,” said Hawkins.
Patrick Trueman, president of Morality in Media, agrees with Dawkins and told Catholic News that when men view violent porn there is not only an increase in violent behavior but sex trafficking as well. Men who view pornography see sex as “hiring prostitutes.”
Trueman explained in a statement that studies reveal pornography leads to violence because the excitement factor for porn eventually diminishes. As a result, the consumer requires more extreme, or deviant, material in order to reach the same level of excitement.
“Internet pornography consumers are essentially training their brains to demand violence, because the images available are unimaginably depraved and violent. By not putting a stop to this illegal pornography available on the Internet, our country is creating a culture of violence for today’s woman.”
The theory of “violent porn leads to greater violence against women” has been contested in many studies. Reason Magazine conducted research in 2007 which revealed that pornography does not necessarily lead to more violence.
With the explosion of the Internet and social media in the last two decades, Reason noted that according to people who claim porn leads to violence there should also be an increase in sexual assault. This study found the opposite. As porn has become more extreme, rape has seemingly decreased, according to this study.
Clemson University economist Todd Kendall reported in his study in 2006 that in states where the Internet expanded the fastest, rape saw the most decline.
Still, porn has devastating effects, especially on the family.
“It’s destroying families. Children are becoming a lot more involved,” said Hawkins.
Perhaps even more shocking, 50 percent of pastors said they visited adult web sites at least once a week, according to Transparent Ministries. This startling statistic is an indication at just how deeply the church has been affected by porn. No matter where a Christian is in their walk with Christ, this number reveals that he or she is still susceptible to these sins.
Influential pastor Chuck Swindoll has called porn "the #1 secret problem in your church.” "It’s ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ," he has lamented. "Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray."
Many churches are starting to address this issue that has been considered taboo for many years. MIM is also urging them to do so, saying that this is something that needs to be addressed from the pulpit. The Church, Hawkins stressed, needs to do a lot better job at combating pornography. She, however, acknowledged that the ability to talk about it openly has helped.
“It’s providing help for the family. Family members are getting support. It’s definitely helping.”
“Be Aware: Porn Harms” kicked off on July 11. More details can be found at PornHarms.com.