Women and Pornography – update from Whole Women Weekend

I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s weekend retreat yesterday, Whole Women Weekend, and had some eye opening experiences that I wanted to share. Yesterday, I connected deeply with many women. My second workshop had only eight women, but they opened up and shared their raw, unfiltered experiences with pornography.

Lately, I have been so focused on the research. In the many news interviews I’m doing, they want to know the research. In the dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill, they want to know the research. In preparation for the major Summit we are planning for leaders next month in Orlando, I am trying to present the research to equip leaders with the “strongest” messaging arguments.

Gratefully, there is a lot of research today backing up our claims that there is a public health crisis from pornography.

We have incredible tools at our side. But, as I started my usual presentation spouting off these statistics — I saw deep pain in these women’s eyes. They knew what I was talking about because they have lived just what the research proves. I stopped my presentation and the eight of us were able to talk for the two-hour block. The experiences of all of them proved everything we argue.

Quick video sharing my thoughts after the event last night.

Women also struggle with addiction.

The reality of betrayal trauma is real.

Pornography destroys real intimacy in relationships and drives a wedge between husband and wife. It may seem to “spice” things up at first, but it is certain to lead to emptiness and disconnect.

It often leads to the user acting out – either with other women or by force and agression.

It is so closely a part of the story of those who are prostituted/trafficked.

It perpetuates feelings of shame, disappointment, depression, low self-esteem.

It leaves a huge open void in your spiritual life.

Each of these women pleaded for help, healing and understanding. My heart is full of both sorrow that we couldn’t just take it away, but also with gratitude that there is a movement swelling and saying NO MORE.

Thank you for being a part of these efforts. Thank you for not ignoring this public health crisis. Thank you for helping us oppose policies that facilitate exploitation. Thank you for supporting our efforts to bring the leaders together. Thank you for educating others around you.

I saw so much pain yesterday, but also witnessed powerful hope.

Sincerely,

Dawn Hawkins
Vice President & Executive Director | National Center on Sexual Exploitation

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