Jonathon van Maren

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Porn is fuelling a new, violent sexual ideology in our teens. It has to stop.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- I’ve been saying for quite some time that pornography is dangerous for more reasons than those that we typically discuss. Pornography is not dangerous just because it is spiritually dangerous. Pornography is not dangerous just because it is addictive, unhealthy, and unrealistic. Pornography is dangerous because it is becoming a new ideology of sex, in which women are objects to be abused and consumed and men are sexual aggressors, using the girls and women to physically extract as much so-called “pleasure” as possible.

When I first spoke on this issue at the University of Ottawa with my fellow anti-porn colleagues Daniel Gilman and Peter Mahaffey, many people showed up angry, desperately wanting to refute the idea that porn fuels rape culture. But when it came time to take questions, there were none. As we heard from many people afterwards, the fact that pornography is a celebration of degradation was just too obvious.

I’ve had this sick and disturbing fact confirmed by expert after expert. When I talked to Dr. Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, she explained to me that the sexual exploitation industries teach men something very simple: If you can buy something, you can steal it. And in ten years of working with sexual trauma victims, she’s discovered that pornography played a part in every single situation. Dr. Paul Jensen of the University of Texas told me that when he speaks to men, he just asks them a simple question: Does porn help you become the man you want to be? Men know instinctively, he says, that pornography does something dark and awful to them.

My personal conversations with hundreds of high school students across the country have given me a heart-breaking and personal glimpse of how this generation struggles with the virus of pornography that has spread through their homes and their schools, their social networks and their entertainment. And thus, an article in the Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom this week called “Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition” did not surprise me at all, in spite of the appalling details it revealed.

Columnist Allison Pearson was describing a recent conversation between herself and a number of other parents. “Porn has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition,” she noted. “Like other parents of our generation, we were on a journey without maps or lights, although the instinct to protect our children from the darkness was overwhelming.”

It was when a doctor in the group spoke up that the group was stunned into silence. According to Pearson:

A GP, let’s call her Sue, said: “I’m afraid things are much worse than people suspect.” In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to. “I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”

Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress. When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.

And where are these brutal expectations coming from? Every adult knew without asking: From pornography. Anal sex, especially of the violent variety, is now mainstream in porn, as the research of Dr. Gail Dines and others show us.

This is resulting in a sharp upswing in emotional problems among girls, something I’ve seen time and time again when interacting with high school students as well. Researchers with the Journal of Adolescent Health, Pearson reports, have been shocked to see a 7% spike in emotional issues in a mere five years—and in girls between the ages of 11 to 13. In a culture saturated with pornography, girls especially feel the pressure to conform to the fantasy that has consumed the minds of the boys and spilled out to invade their reality.

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All of these problems are interconnected. “Take female insecurity, warp and magnify it in the internet Hall of Mirrors, add a longing to be ‘fit’ and popular, then stir into a ubiquitous porn culture, and you have a hellish recipe for sad, abused girls,” Pearson writes. “It explains why more than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts, according to one of the largest European polls on teenage sexual experience. Recent research by the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from their teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five boys harbouring “extremely negative attitudes towards women.”

Up until now, the response has been a feeble attempt at further sex education, which many experts think may have a hand in the problem to begin with—once you open the Pandora’s Box of teen sex, it’s very hard to unring that bell. And once those teenagers start taking their cues from an increasingly misogynist entertainment culture, a hypersexualized marketing industry, and violent pornography, you have all the ingredients you need to create a rape culture. The sex education being used now is not working, Pearson writes angrily—“not when tens of thousands of girls are revealing ‘serious distress and harm following abusive behavior from boyfriends.’”

The result? That is what Pearson’s doctor friend deals with, the medical treatment of young girls who got treated like porn stars—brutally abused and coerced into things they didn’t want to do. “Young girls—children, really—who abase themselves to pass for normal in a grim, pornified culture,” says Pearson. “Another study of British teenagers found that most youngsters’ first experience of anal sex occurred within a relationship, but it was ‘rarely under circumstances of mutual exploration of sexual pleasure.’ Instead, it was the boys who pushed the girls to try it, with boys reporting that they felt ‘expected’ to take that role.”

In times past, porn theatres and smut shops were labeled “for adults only.” But the sad reality now is that children, adolescents and teenagers are being forced to grow up in an adult world—and those adults have unleashed a tsunami of depravity unrivaled in human history for sheer accessibility. The Sexual Revolution is a revolution no longer, with all of its central tenets institutionalized by the authorities and educational system.

But I have to wonder—does nobody think that when we have to teach teens not to hurt each other through violent sex acts that we may have done something terribly wrong? I feel pity for those who have reduced sex to “consent.” Humanity once knew that we could transcend mere consent. Consent, yes. But also dignity. Love. Compassion. When we revisit those timeless values, then we will start to recognize our new ideology of sex for the crude and insidious imposter that it is.



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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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