• indoubt Podcast
  • ·
  • September 7, 2020

Ep. 243: The Dark Impact of Porn

With Julia Beazley, , , and Daniel Markin

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This is an episode that will deepen your understanding regarding the incredibly destructive impact upon the individual and society at large as a result of the epidemic of pornography and sexual exploitation. Julia Beazley, from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, joins Daniel in a very frank conversation that brings light to a very dark reality.

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Daniel Markin:

Hey, welcome to indoubt. My name’s Daniel Markin and today I’m joined by Julia Beazley, and we are on the topic of society, pornography and human trafficking. We’re going to have a discussion about this and all the things in between as we look at this really heavy, and deep, and very prominent topic that we have today in our society. Welcome to the program, Julia. Why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

Julia Beazley:

Sure. Thanks so much. It’s really good to be with you today. I work as director of public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. I work out of our Center for Faith and Public Life in Ottawa. At the center, we engage with the government and in the courts on a range of issues that are of concern to the evangelical community. We seek to bring biblical principles to bear in public policy discussions that are happening.

Julia Beazley:

I am based in Ottawa. I live with my 16-year-old son and three very spoiled cats.

Daniel Markin:

Amazing. We are talking about pornography in our society and also I want to get into the topic of human trafficking. But I do want to give a disclaimer at the beginning of this episode that we will be getting pretty in depth so our audience knows on this issue. But again, our aim isn’t to shame anyone who in the past has struggled pornography, anyone who is currently struggling with it right now. The idea is we want to take a pretty objective look at our society and at this public health crisis as it’s emerging upon our society. This will be a very interesting and I’m very excited to hear your input on this, especially it’d be interesting to even get some of your angles on a governmental level with your work in the government. Is this something that our government is even seeing as a potential issue? As we began, let me ask you this, Julia, how did you first begin to get involved in this issue of pornography, and of society, and then also involved into human trafficking?

Julia Beazley:

I love that you asked that question because I think the answer is really important to understanding the fullness of this issue. My approach to pornography actually has been very much shaped by exactly how I arrived at it, which was while working on issues of sexual exploitation, so in particular prostitution and sex trafficking. We were working on advancing laws and policies on these issues, but it just became so apparent to us that pornography was not just part of the puzzle, but that in so many ways, it is actually the root of these other forms of sexual exploitation. Some colleagues and I set about the very difficult work of digging deeper into the realities of pornography. I think it’s important, from the outside, it’s useful to understand that the commercial sex industry is a system. It’s one that is built on things like inequality, violence, racism, misogyny, and prostitution, trafficking, strip clubs, massage parlors, and pornography, and so on, are all intimately interconnected parts of this system. And you just can’t dig deeply into any one of them without bumping into the others. So in the big picture of trying to address sexual exploitation, we realize it’s just vital to tackle the issue of pornography.

Daniel Markin:

Has there been an uptick in prostitution since the emergence of pornography? And can that be tracked?

Julia Beazley:

I think what we’ve seen increasingly is the nature of all of these aspects of sexual exploitation changing. So as pornography has become more common, we talk about what happened when high speed internet happened. It changed so many things in our lives, but it really fundamentally the nature of pornography. Then there was another significant shift that happened with the iPhone. What’s happened with these advances is that… We talk about the three As that drive demand. We say that the internet has made pornography affordable, accessible, and anonymous. So yeah, with that shift, we’ve seen an increase in pornography consumption, we’ve seen it increase in sex buying behavior, we’ve seen an increase in sex trafficking because you have to meet that demand somehow. So it all works together. One of the reasons we try to dig deeply into pornography is because the things that it teaches and the things that it tells us about sexuality and about people really sets the stage for all of those other things to be acceptable in society.

Daniel Markin:

What would you say are some of the things that is teaching and things they’re saying, “Hey, this is good.”?

Julia Beazley:

That’s their argument that it’s sex positive and all these things.

Daniel Markin:

That it’s liberating, right?

Julia Beazley:

Yeah.I think one of the things that… If you don’t watch pornography or you haven’t looked at it in even the decade, you probably don’t really understand what we’re talking about. Today’s pornography is centered around the domination and humiliation of women. It’s degrading, it’s dehumanizing, it’s aggressive, abusive, quite often violence, and for the women in particular, it’s profoundly body punishing. That is all available in mainstream pornography. This is what you can find if you go to any free site online. Needless to say, that is telling and teaching all kinds of damaging and dangerous lies about sex and sexuality, about men and women, about the ways in which they do they should relate to each other. So we’ve got all these voices around the world who are starting to sound the alarm. You asked what pornography teaches, you’ll have to cut me off if I go on too long because there’s just so much that you can talk about. Gail Dines, who is one of the leaders in this movement, she talks about how pornography has hijacked the dominant discourse in our culture around sexuality, and that is so true. And as you said, the industry will argue that pornography is sex positive. They’ll also say, “It was never meant to be educational,” but the reality is pornography, particularly internet pornography is an incredibly powerful teacher. Some of the lessons that kids are getting before they have any concept, any interest in sexuality, they are learning that sex is not about intimacy, caring, love, or mutual respect. That sex with strangers and risky sex is the best and most intense kind, that it’s a game or a conquest. It’s about taking or conquering. That violence and degradation in sex is normal. That women like to be dominated and humiliated. It teaches the kind of sexual narcissism and sexual entitlement. And something that’s really, I think that has started to get the attention of a lot of educators out there is that it’s really blurring the lines of consent in dangerous ways. In pornography, female performers rarely say no, but if they do, and this is what’s really critical, it doesn’t matter. Whatever is being suggested to them or done to them happens anyway, and they’re either ultimately depicted as enjoying it or the condition they’re left in just doesn’t matter. This is such a common theme in porn and it’s a real problem. In fact, we know that the earlier boys are exposed to pornography, the more likely they are to engage in non-consensual sex as adults. So on the one hand, we have this, we’re waking up to the real problems we have with consent in schools and on college campuses, and we’re scrambling to come up with good consent education, and that’s a good thing. But it’s not going to be effective as long as generations of kids are getting a very, very different message, a much more powerful message from pornography and having it reinforced through regular use. So we do know that pornography has become the primary sex educator of young people today-and there are just layers upon layers of problems with that.

Daniel Markin:

What is the average age that most men and women are exposed to pornography? Because my understanding is now the statistics are showing that for the most part, people assume this is just a male issue. But my understanding is that the female statistics aren’t that far behind it.

Julia Beazley:

No, you’re right. A few years ago, we said the average age of first exposure was about 13 at average. Today, we think it’s closer to 10 or 11. In my work, I have heard of far too many eight or nine-year-olds who are not just watching pornography online, but were really struggling with compulsive or addictive behaviors. A lot of the data tells us that by age 16, about 90% of kids, boys and girls have seen pornography. When I speak to parents about this issue, I tell them, “It’s not a question of if your child will see pornography, it’s a question of when.” And I think that is so important for those of us who want to engage with young people on this issue to understand this is not about good kids or bad kids, it is that pornography is everywhere. It’s actually far more difficult to avoid than it is to find. And it is a multibillion dollar industry that goes to great lengths to normalize pornography and to make it as easy to come across as possible. And the reality is that for the most part, as parents, and educators, and as a society, we’ve left our kids utterly unequipped and unprepared to deal with the onslaught of pornography.

Daniel Markin:

Wow. There’s a couple of angles I want to go here, but let me go with this one is, it seems to me that in the religious world, in Christianity, even other religions, the whole consensus I’m assuming is, yeah, pornography is bad. But now we’re starting to see this on a secular societal level that they are just as concerned about the effect it’s having on young kids, and you mentioned the addictive disorders that come from this. My understanding is that the same endorphins are the same neural pathways when someone is viewing pornography is the same and as addictive as heroin, some of the hardest drugs. And it’s interesting that we don’t expect kids to come in contact with heroin that much, but we cannot be blind to the fact that they are going to come in contact with this. And like you said, it’s not a matter if, but when.  People will just like… Even if a person is trying to be as strict as they can, all it takes is one person, “Hey, look at this.” And on their phone right into the person’s face and it’s just so prevalent, it’s so everywhere.

Julia Beazley:

Yeah, and I love that you raised the brain science behind it because I think that’s important to understanding how it gets ahold of people. And also understanding why all of those lessons that I rattled off, why they become so easily and deeply ingrained without us even knowing it. Our brains mature from the back to the front. We call it the feeling brain in our mid brain is fully developed by the time we’re kids. Then the front of our brains, the prefrontal cortex that’s called the executive control center. This is the center for good decision making, and judgment, and so on. It does not actually mature until our mid 20s. So when we watch pornography, or take drugs, or eat something really delicious, that reward system, its purpose is to drive us to do things that ensure our survival and that feel good, and dopamine is the chemical that fuels that engine. When you watch pornography, you get the biggest natural surge in dopamine that you can get. If you combine watching pornography with other behaviors that you might associate with watching pornography, I heard someone say at a conference last week that it was the equivalent of taking cocaine and heroin at the same time in terms of its addictive potential. Now, that’s not the case for everybody, people have different sensitivities to neurotransmitters and so on. But what we do know for sure is that our brains operate on a use it or lose it principle. It’s how we become experts in things, it’s how practice makes perfect. The more you practice a certain circuit or pathway, the more strengthened it becomes. Think of it like walking in a path in the snow. The more times you trampled down that snow, the easier that path is to travel. So this is how repeated pornography, it literally changes those pathways and that wiring in our brain. This can go to different degrees for different people. In anybody who watches it, it’s going to be affecting your sexual conditioning. That’s what you’re turned on by, what your body responds to, what you find arousing all the way, as you said, to act to addictions to pornography and all of the dysfunctions that can go along with that. No one is immune, but young people, teenagers are particularly vulnerable because that front part of the brain that controls impulses and moderates all of those other responsive, impulsive behaviors and feelings isn’t fully developed yet. So their brains are literally all gas pedal, no breaks. Plus you throw in hormones from puberty and so on. It’s time that is really critical for forming those pathways and learning those behaviors, and attitudes, and preferences.

Daniel Markin:

How do we as Christians orient ourselves on this topic? Biblically speaking, this is how I’ve broken it down and I’d love your insight on this. But the one verse that I always think about is Genesis 4:7, which God is speaking to, I believe it’s Cain. And God says to him, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” That image of sin crouching at the door is the one I think about with all sin, but particularly as we’re talking about pornography, and you talk about the prevalence of it, you talk about an oversaturated, over sexualized culture. That’s what I’m thinking about is the fact that it’s crouching at the door and you can imagine a lion at the door. People, maybe you can open the door a little bit, but you open that door too much, that lion’s powerful, strong. You think you can contain it, but it’s only a matter of time until that lion overpowers and it takes control of the house. That image there is very strong to me. But another one that I think about is in 1 Corinthians 6:12, I believe where Paul is… He’s giving this Corinthian slogan. The Corinthians had this belief that… They were very liberating, they were very modern society and they would say, “I can do whatever I want. I have the right to do everything.” Like a YOLO for all the kids up there. But verse 12 says, “‘I have the right to do everything,’ you say” Paul says, “but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but I will not be mastered by anything.” What Paul’s saying here is he’s like, “You guys think that you won’t be mastered by the sexual idolatry that was happening at the temple, but make no mistake, it will overpower you, it will master you.” In my mind, I think about this in the same way with sexual sin. “You have the right to do it.” Sure, it’s what our society says, but it’s not going to be beneficial to you. “Oh, I have the right to do anything,” but you will be mastered by this. I think many are mastered by it and don’t realize until it’s too late.

Julia Beazley:

Yeah. No, I think that’s great. Actually, that’s probably one of the better explanations I’ve heard. I’m holding up a prop here, which people can’t see, I’m holding up my phone. The lion isn’t just crouching at the door, it’s in our purses, and our pockets, and our bedrooms. So I think that’s very apt. I think we’ve done a decent job with the personal angle, but I think we’ve all heard in some way or other that watching pornography is sinful. But I don’t know that we’ve always done a full enough job of digging into why that is. We know from all sorts of research that while it probably shouldn’t be enough to just say that, that oversimplification of the issue doesn’t seem to make much of a difference inside the church, and it certainly doesn’t make much of a difference outside. So how do we expand that view beyond the personal? I think the idea that it’s just a personal sin that affects us is problematic for a few reasons. Not because it’s wrong. I think it’s absolutely true and that is an important piece of the puzzle, but I think there’s a lot more to it. And if we did a better job of finding and painting the fullness of the issue, we might have a different response because the stats tell us that porn usage in the church is not that different from outside of the church. So where are we not getting it right? We’ve talked how it affects us spiritually, how it can affect us psychologically, emotionally, physically, and relationally. That of course has impact for us, it has impact for current and future partners. It has impact on our ability to maintain and form meaningful relationship, and so on. I think we also, we’ve talked about what pornography teaches us about sex and sexuality, how it impacts our sexual behaviors, and attitudes, and preferences. And the important thing there is that those things don’t stay between us and God. They don’t stay between us and our phones or our laptops, but they ripple out into real life and they affect how we relate to our partner or our spouse and the very real betrayal trauma they can experience. That’s a whole other topic. It also ignores how our personal sin affects the many, many women and girls who are abused and used up in the porn industry. The many who are trafficked for use in pornography. There are very, very clear links between prostitution and pornography. It ignores how pornography consumption drives the demand for paid sex, which is what funnels women into prostitution and fuel sex trafficking. The ways that women and girls are groomed for exploitation and trained for prostitution by pornography. I could go on, how prostituted women are subjected to the violence, dehumanizing and degrading acts that buyers have seen in pornography and want to act out on their bodies. Of course the cultural impacts, so there’s all of these tentacles and these things that are just part of the picture that I think we need to grapple with. I think we can also think a little more about what the heart of the problem is. I heard a presentation a few years ago from a guy named Matt Fradd who runs an organization called Integrity Restored, and he’s Catholic, so this is where he comes from. But John Paul II wrote that the human person is a good towards which the only proper attitude is love. He also said that a person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love and not as an object for use. I think that those ideas capture what’s at the heart of the problem. And that is that pornography and everything that it shows and teaches stands in complete opposition to love. It exemplifies, and teaches, and celebrates the use and abuse of others, and it makes a mockery out of an arch that was designed by God to be one of self-giving procreate of love. I think it was Pope Francis said that the problem with pornography isn’t that it shows too much, is that it shows too little. We can look at all of these other aspects, but we can also just understand that it reduces sexuality to something that is devoid of love, care, intimacy, or self giving. It objectifies people, and to objectify someone is to take away everything that is individual and human about them. I heard someone say recently that it divorces personhood from sexuality. And in all of these ways, pornography is an affront to the dignity, the God given dignity of men and women.

Daniel Markin:

Yeah. And I would even say the God given design, so the dignity, but also what it means to be a person. Consensual sex within marriage is fulfilling the design that God has created for humans. We often get caught up in like, “Oh, there’s the laws like don’t do this, it’s sin.”  But you’re also missing out on like you do understand that this is only going to be like 10% maybe of what fulfillment could be as opposed to actual godly marriage where you’re maximized in love and compassion for one another and your emotions-

Julia Beazley:

Mutuality.

Daniel Markin:

Mutuality, there’s care. There’s so much more going on than just the physical act. Our culture has gotten a little bit reductionistic where they just reduce sex to a physical act, but in God’s design, it’s so much more. You touched emotional, spiritual.

Julia Beazley:

That’s the design. Yeah.

Daniel Markin:

Yeah.

Julia Beazley:

Yeah.

Daniel Markin:

The word you used back, you said ripples, and this is where I want to go because I want to get into a little bit of the human trafficking aspect. Because one of the ripples that often this is brought into is human trafficking. Now, I often notice this is thrown around, but we often don’t take the time to think through this carefully. And I think especially on a Canadian level. I don’t necessarily want to talk about… I know that you go to places like Thailand and sexual prostitution, sexual exploitation is the norm. That this is people from first world countries come there on sexual binges. But oftentimes we will also hear that this affects Canadians. This affects us here in Canada, and my wife and I were getting fired up talking about this because personally, I want to hear your understanding on this and I want to learn from you because I don’t know how this plays out in Canada.  Because let me give you an example. The closest example I can think is Canada is a free society, and when you think of sexual exploitation, you might think of, the strip club. What I think about is, aren’t they volunteers? Don’t they sign up for that job? I’m completely ignorant in this area, so please help me understand.  But the common thing would be, people would say, “That’s the choice that they made.” And I want to hear your angle… Because it’s different than that. I think that view is too simplistic.

Julia Beazley:

Oh boy. Okay. As I mentioned earlier, we talked about how everything is interconnected. The sex industry is this seamless interconnected continuum and pornography is foundational to that. I’m not sure where to start because there’s so much that comes out of what you just said. Okay. First of all, trafficking absolutely happens in Canada. We’ve known for many, many years from a number of sources that in Canada, trafficking is predominantly domestic. That means what we mostly have our Canadian girls primarily who are being trafficked into the commercial sex trade. The commercial sex trade, again, that could be for massage parlors, it could be in strip clubs, most commonly into prostitution. That is the reality of human trafficking in Canada. We know that the ages are getting younger and younger, the demand is for younger and younger girls. That again goes directly back to what is trending in pornography, what people are consuming on mainstream pornography sites, which are full of teen, preteen. That’s the trend right now. That is directly reflected in what we see in the demand for sex buyers in Canada, their demand. They demand younger, and younger, and younger. We know that indigenous women and girls are vastly overrepresented in the commercial sex industry in Canada. It quite often doesn’t look like what we think because usually in movies and even a lot of well-meaning anti-trafficking groups will use imagery that gives a certain perception of what trafficking looks like. Chains, and ropes, and so on, and that is rarely what it really looks like. I would say the violence that is used to control is very, very real and often very severe, but the chains that actually hold people there are more often psychological or emotional. Probably the most common root in Canada is what they call the lover boy. This is somebody who will come into a young person’s life as a boyfriend or a Knight in shining armor, and everything starts out really great. And they usually will shower them with gifts or buy them things and tell them they’re beautiful, and whatever it is, that need, or that vulnerability, or that desire, they know how to tap into that. After a period of time, sometimes it’s days, sometimes it’s months, they will just turn on them and say, “Okay. I bought you all this stuff,” or, “I gave you a place to stay,” or, “I did X, Y, Z. Now you have to pay me back and this is how you’re going to do it.” And they turn them out into prostitution. Increasingly we see young people are being recruited online, on social media. That’s a huge, huge problem. Something that we all need to be aware of is how predators can lurk in social media and get to people. But generally, we speak so often about there are common vulnerabilities. Obviously, if you are homeless, if you are poor, if you are marginalized, if you have aged out of foster care or you’re in foster care, these are really common vulnerabilities. But I think particularly with the reach of social media, anybody can be vulnerable. You can be vulnerable just because you’re struggling at home or you’re not fitting in at school. That’s a really quick rundown of what it looks like. We’re gearing up actually for a really significant battle in defense of our current prostitution laws. Several five years ago, we had a model of law passed that actually says, “You know what? We recognize that prostitution and trafficking are not.” They are part of that same system and part of that same structure, and trafficking happens because there’s a demand for prostitution.So you can’t separate them out. If we want to do away with trafficking, we have to go after that demand for paid sexual services. Trafficking is what meets the demand. Right? Those laws are up for review and we’re actually gearing up for defense and saying, “We need to uphold these laws because if we say, “Okay, it’s all right to buy sex in Canada again,” then we know what happens, it feeds the machine.

Daniel Markin:

Your point about being domestic is probably the most shocking thing to me. As you’re describing it, I definitely can see how that plays out. Especially the idea that like you rip someone away from their family and you send them to another place. Canada’s a big country, right?

Julia Beazley:

Oh yeah.

Daniel Markin:

And they disappear. You’re on the other side of the country, and you have nothing, and all of a sudden a person becomes dependent on… Just trying to survive, and now they’re trying to survive in this way. And I think, is it, just for clarification, is it largely predominantly women, but also some men who are pulled into this?

Julia Beazley:

Yeah, it is predominantly girls, young girls. There are young boys also. We don’t have great data on boys because I think there’s cultural reasons, I think why we don’t think of young boys as vulnerable. There’s probably a combination of we don’t look for them the way we should and they don’t come forward for help as much as girls do. We know that boys are trafficked as well. LGBT youth are trafficked as well, they’re very vulnerable. So the majority would be girls, but absolutely, yeah. LGBT youth and boys are also trafficked.

Daniel Markin:

One of the things that’s always challenging about this discussion at least for me, and I think is understanding that I think more conservative people are more… Let’s say, liberal people would come at the issue a little bit differently. So part of my preamble was a little bit of like a devil’s advocate where I mentioned, “This person, it was their choice that they got involved in that.” Yeah. But that’s more of a conservative way of thinking about things where like if you keep your choices in line, then life will go well for you. But that’s not to exclude the fact that on the other hand of things, there are circumstances outside of people’s control that I think more often than not actually outweigh the choices. And the circumstances almost like take the first step in that league. So oftentimes I think on issues of justice, conservatives and more liberals have hard time communicating because the liberal side’s saying, “It’s because society’s broken.” Conservatives are saying, “No, it’s because humanity’s broken because each individual person’s broken.” And I think the battle you’re facing and all of that is you’re saying, “Both are broken. Both sides need Christ, both sides need to be healed.” And part of the fight is to actually be able to listen to one another in that.

Julia Beazley:

Here’s probably the first time I’m going to challenge you a little bit.

Daniel Markin:

Yeah, please.

Julia Beazley:

We worked really hard when we were pushing for this… I’m not sure if you’re familiar with our current prostitution laws, but what they do is make buying or attempting to buy sex illegal for the first time in Canada anywhere. Whether that’s on the street, online, in a brothel or in a massage parlor, so on. We have also decriminalized those who are being sold out of recognition that there are all of these vulnerabilities that drive people into prostitution. What you said first about feeling… The common perception that it’s poor life choices, right? We worked really hard to dismantle that and say, “There’s a lot more to it than that.” In fact, the other side, the pro prostitution lobby argues choice. They will argue that this is a choice that women make and they should be free to make it. So there’s just so many layers to this question of choice and what we say is there’s a difference between making a true choice that is free, and it is informed, and you have a range of options before you, and you make your choice. If you have aged out of care and you have nowhere to go, if you have been kicked out of home, if you are poor, if you have no other way. You don’t have education, maybe you have a criminal record, maybe you have addictions. If you don’t have any other way that you can pay your bills, feed yourself, put a roof over your head or feed your children. Is that a choice? If you have been abused, so one of the things we know is that most women who are in prostitution have a history of abuse. If you’ve been abused your whole life, if this is something that has been taken from you over and over and over again, and you finally decide that you’re going to take back some measure of control and at least get some money for it. Is that a choice? So on both sides, we have to really deconstruct that question of choice and say, “What’s really going on here?” And if that is in fact, your only economic choice, as a society, do we say, “Oh, okay, then we should make that easier.” Or do we say, “No, that’s not acceptable. That shouldn’t be what any person in Canada thinks is their only or best option for survival.” So I’ve gotten us way off topic here, but-

Daniel Markin:

No, but that’s exactly where… The intensity of this conversation I think is coming out and we could just keep going on and on and we don’t have the time to. What you’re getting at is where I wanted to bring things is the fact that, like what you’re saying, it’s a weird thing because our culture is saying, “It’s your choice, your choice,” but then also at the same time, these people, they have no other choice. And this is something recently that I’ve been really growing into being like, wow, because I was raised that like, these are the choices you make and you toe the line. And I’ve been hit in the face that like it is so much more than just peoples choices, because I grew up in a great family right? Where we were taken care of, parents were together, on many levels I had those privileges that helped influence a lot of my choices and identity and you begin to see that its not the case with many people so.

Julia Beazely:

I mean we ran into that when we first started speaking about this issue and I said OK this his how we’re going to talk about the issue of prostitution,  it was work. We really had to work- because previously I think a lot of the understanding was of the prostitute as the one who has made the poor decisions and who is kind of out to get your husband. Right? She’s the temptress, she’s the bad one. And so shifting that around and saying hey that’s not usually how the dynamic really is, and even with government, like we had the laws passed because we had a conservative government who got it right? But it took a lot of convincing even a lot of conservative MP’s because they were still like “No, they should be arrested too, and they’re breaking the law”, so it’s a whole shift because we’ve always focused on the prostituted, we’ve never talked about the buyer. So it’s a real paradigm shift for all of us to think differently about this.

Daniel Markin:

And I’m sure in the work that you’ve done, you’ve sat down with people who’ve walked this story. Walk down how they maybe got involved or brought into prostitution. When you hear someone’s story, then you get the clarity and you actually begin to understand what actually happened because it’s never as simplistic as, oh, that was their choice. That’s where I wanted to bring this thing is, there’s so much going on to this massive beast that is surprising, but also very frustrating. But look, let’s end on a happy note here because this is a tough discussion. First, just tell me what gives you hope as you’re entering this discussion, as you are fighting in this fight? What kind of things are giving you hope right now as a Christian as you were trying to advocate in the government? Then what are some ways that the common person can get involved in this fight?

Julia Beazley:

Being asked to speak openly about these issues in forums like this, like this kind of conversation gives me hope. It really does. As we find more and more churches who are willing to learn about the issues, who are willing to learn deeply about pornography, and sexual exploitation, and how they’re interconnected. Who are willing to lift that veil of silence and shame in their own churches and talk openly about something like pornography. That gives me hope. The partners that I get to work with across the country give me hope. Being part of a diverse, committed and growing global movement gives me hope. Each year, I attend something called the Global CESE Summit, which is put on by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Washington. This is a place where leaders and experts from every angle imaginable gather together to learn, and strategize, and network. There’s usually, I think about 1,000 people there from a number of countries. This year, because of COVID, the summit moved online and we just wrapped up, gosh, it was about 11 days, we wrapped up last Tuesday, I think. But at the last count I heard, I think there were over 22,000 people who participated from 105 or so countries around the world. That gives me hope. So we are all coming together and we’re all saying, “Our end goal is to end sexual exploitation in all its forms.” And we all understand that they are all a part of that same system and we have to figure out how can we work together across borders to start to poke away at that beast as you called it and start to make some change in these areas. That gives me hope. And of course, knowing that fighting for the dignity of every person, and fighting these injustices is so close to the heart of God. That gives me hope because we know that ultimately He is with us, He’s on our side, and that’s sustaining as you face insurmountable looking obstacles all the time.

Daniel Markin:

God’s heart has always, and will always be for the orphan, the widow, the marginalized, you name it, the poor. His heart inclines and orients to them, and I think as Christians, we ought to be doing the same thing.

Julia Beazley:

Absolutely.

Daniel Markin:

Julia, thank you for your time. Thank you for this discussion. Thank you for being honest and open to share all of this. I know that it’s going to be very profound and helpful to our listeners.

Julia Beazley:

I hope so. Thank you.

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Ep. 243 The Dark Impact of Porn

Who's Our Guest?

Julia Beazley

Julia Beazley has been with the EFC since 1999, working mainly on issues of domestic and global poverty, homelessness, prostitution, pornography and human trafficking. She moved from her previous position as Policy Analyst to Director of Public Policy in January 2016.
Ep. 243 The Dark Impact of Porn

Who's Our Guest?

Julia Beazley

Julia Beazley has been with the EFC since 1999, working mainly on issues of domestic and global poverty, homelessness, prostitution, pornography and human trafficking. She moved from her previous position as Policy Analyst to Director of Public Policy in January 2016.