Saturday, February 20, 2016

What PornHarmsKids Symposium Thought Me about Pornography and Harm in the New Millennium

It has been 21-years since I attended a conference on Human Trafficking, Prostitution or Pornography. I quit for a while because after 15-years of researching these topics, traveling the world and talking about it, I had become disillusioned about the world. I actually related to just about anything through my research on pornography. I saw the patterns of power-over and subjugation everywhere.

Now, I realise that it is because our memory is built through patterns and anything outside these patterns we notice and remember. For me, there was nothing outside the patterns of violence I detected around me. My brain had been collecting material since a very young age and at that time I could relate everything, including children's play and dolls through the dichotomy of power over and subjugation that can be found at the heart of the idea of the pornographic message. I felt I had to get out and save myself from too much harm. Luckily, moving to Australia was the solution and a new career in age care and community building was the salvation. But how long can it last before the universe provides new impetus for thought for someone who is trying to ignore it the best she could? Not long. Somewhere in my subconsiousness, I did keep up with the issues and the connections kept adding up. Then I found myself a target of a romance scam and wham, the world made sense again. 

My book Love on the Line. How to Recover from Romance Scams Gracefully and without Victimisation is a result of that shock of becoming a victim of a scam. Through it I explain the bigger picture that I see through the patterns built in my brain about power over and subjugation through pornography, romance book reading and scamming. Now I am detecting scams in everything, especially in how we relate to each other as human beings. I am already in the process of writing a sequel. But before it my mission was to update my knowledge about pornography and harm it brings to us in the new Millenium.

Luckily, I saw the online add for the PornHarmsKids Symposium. It was held at the University of NSW on the 9th of February. I got my plane ticket and donated in my fee as advised and all and all, I was a little late but got there anyway. And this is what I learned on one day listening to very professional speakers and discussing the topics with other concerned attendees:

Unfortunately, I learned that nothing much has changed in 20-years I have not been active in this field. Or maybe everything has changed, depending on your view of things. I now, hold a personal 35-year historian view based on my own research about how the message of pornography harms human beings; women, men and children; those that are vulnerable and being used as pawns to earn money for those others with callous minds or otherwise disruptive behavior thought patterns about the matter of power-over and subjugation. I'll be frank. 

The most profound change is visibility. Or maybe not! Remember the billboards? We drive past them with the family everywhere. Well, during the 1980's porn was plastered directly on them. It's message was interfering with our lives most anywhere, I remember those sexualised women sitting on some fancy cars on billboard and I remember having to explain all of it to my son and my daughter. Even porn magazines were advertised along with alcohol and tobacco. We fought them down in Europe, USA and Scandinavia and the world followed through. The argument was: porn is everywhere. And it was. Unfortunately, just as the solutions for those times were put in place, Internet appeared and the visibility shifted to homes and anywhere with access to it. The message remained unchanged. Though, now we could view it from the comfort of our own space and more of us could find and watch porn without interruptions.

The other profound difference has come through brain research, actually. For now we KNOW, what we only had an inkling about during the 1980's. Our brain is affected by what we see. It builds patterns and our actions follow through, if we let them. And, now we also know that it take around 25-years to grow a fully functioning frontal cortex with the ability to rationalise. So, we know that young brains are affected and harmed the most by what they pick up along the growing process. PornHarmsKids Symposium was all about how to tackle that huge problem we are faced with by free access to online pornography. There are some alarming sign detected about our behaviour as human adults and kids in relation to how we see the world and act on impulses of the ideas that are presented to us. This can be really bad news for women and girls as our lives are heavily affected through vulnerability and conditioning. I am not saying that the men and boys are not affected. They are but the power-over and subjucation clause of pornography clearly points to the victim as female. It is hard to detect, I know. 

In fact, one of the speakers at PornHarmsKids Symposium, Dr Tucci, actually theorised that the different way the boys and the girls react to pornography points to inequality. He said that he could not understand what it was in that in boys, porn trickers their arousal response, while this does not happen in girls. Conditioning perhaps, he suggested. Well, I know! After all we live in a patriarchy and the messages in porn are molded to mirror the power-over and subjugation clauses inbuilt in the very structures of our society. Not a very hard thing to draw a conclusion from there. 

For me the rest of the symposium was about finding what practical advice, each and every speaker could give in order to best tackle the problems at hand. Three big ones come to mind:

Melinda Thankard Reist forwarded the messages that young girls want to say to boys about relationships:

And the @Cypercop1 Susan McLean gave advice to parents who are struggling to cope with the ever expanding world of pornography and how to explain and guide their children to avoid abuse and hate.
And lastly, Collett Smart gave us the 10 Body Safety Rules that can help a child to recognise where the boundaries lie:

There is an excellent PornHarmsKids website to go to for more information. From there you can get the videos and the articles that keep coming about the symposium and about the issue. I am really pleased that I went. Meeting all these brave and courageous people has given me hope. Also look up the Twitter handles @PornHarmsKids and @CollectiveShout. I know that young people themselves are very concerned and they will come up with some solutions of their own, once they are educated about this issue in an open and nonjudgmental atmosphere. 

Until that time, it is our responsibility to keep working at it. It is our responsibility to insert hope, recovery and happy endings positivity to the world. Hopefully you'll follow along and take action for the betterment of the situation and the world. Every era needs their own solutions. Let's find the ones that work now in the new Millennium. 

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