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 | By Richard Budd

Taking a Stand Against Pornography

Safe Haven Sunday launches a critical diocesan effort against the epidemic of porn

In 2016, the Barna Group published a landmark study, The Porn Phenomenon, detailing the use of pornography in today’s digital age. Frankly, their findings were devastating. 

Their report showed that pornography is no longer an issue of creepy old men with magazines in their tool shed but has increasingly become a predicament for young people, both male and female. One in three Americans uses pornography at least once a month, including 67 percent of teen and young adult males and 33 percent of teen and young adult females. Of those female porn users, 51 percent have shared nude photos of themselves. 

Because of the proliferation of personal technology, exposure to pornography at a young age has become common. The average (that’s right, average) age of first exposure to pornography for boys is 12 years old, and 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls are exposed to online pornography before they reach the age of 18. And as a parent, the statistic I find most heartbreaking: 71 percent of teens have done something to try and hide their online activity from their parents. 

Add to all this that pornography is an industry – a $100 billion (with a B) industry that is actively seeking out its users, and it can feel terrifying trying to raise children in this world. As a Church, we need to begin openly discussing this problem and working together to support and provide solutions for people and families in the fight. As part of this effort, the Diocese of Lansing will begin an annual event called Safe Haven Sunday, which launches this coming Oct. 7-8. Safe Haven Sunday will begin an awareness campaign to help families understand what they are up against and receive resources and tools to support them in making their homes a haven from pornography. 

Sometimes it can feel like your family is on an island surrounded by danger. In reality, we have bonds of support that we need to learn to tap into better. Safe Haven Sunday will be the first step in strengthening those bonds across the diocese so our children can grow up in a safer world.