Most moms would do anything to protect their children from sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse can have lifelong, destructive effects on a child’s actions, thinking, physical health and emotional well-being. It’s one of the ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences) listed by the CDC.
Over the past ten years, I’ve studied how sexual material and exploitation of children are interconnected. Today I’d like to introduce you to a powerful way to protect children from sexual abuse that is all but overlooked: Teaching porn-refusal skills.
3 Ways Porn Fuels Child Sexual Abuse
How is pornography linked to child sexual abuse? Let’s start with these three:
- Predators use pornography to groom children for abuse. They show their victims porn to break down inhibitions and teach them what is expected.
- Child pornography promotes the desire to sexually abuse children. As child sexual abuse material (CSAM) increases exponentially on the internet and dark web, it normalizes sexually abusing children.
- Pornography fuels child on child sexual abuse. Children are imitative–they are wired to imitate what they see adults do. When they watch pornography uninhibited, many feel compelled to imitate what they are seeing on other children.
It only takes a few minutes for things to get dangerous and that’s why I urge parents to porn-proof their kids early to better protect children from sexual abuse. #SoonerIsSafer!
One mom wrote to Protect Young Minds, an organization dedicated to empowering parents, professionals and community leaders to protect young kids from pornography, and promote healing from any sexual exploitation. She wrote about how talking to her 6-year-old son about pornography helped protect him from a pedophile. Her family was enjoying dinner at a friend’s house when the kids were allowed to run down to the basement and grab a toy at the bottom of the stairs. In the few minutes that the 6-year-old boy was looking for a toy, the male renter in the basement lured him over and showed him gay oral sex on his phone, telling him that this was really fun to do. The boy recognized that what he was seeing was pornography, and he immediately ran up and told his mom. (I’m quite sure that dinner was spoiled!)
Can you imagine if he had been caught off guard? Thankfully, this little boy was prepared to defend himself from sexual abuse by knowing how to reject pornography.
I recently interviewed a Child Advocacy Center forensic interviewer. She shared that she often hears about porn as a grooming tool, and believes that if more children were taught to report porn exposure, many of them could be protected from abuse.
As an example, she told me about a 13-year-old girl who was seen for suicidal ideation. During the interviews, the teen revealed that her stepfather had used porn to groom her for sexual abuse from the time she was 10 years old. She had never told her mother what had been going on because of his threats to keep her silent.
I asked the interviewer what might have happened if the victim had been taught to recognize and report porn exposure to her mom. The interviewer said that, in her opinion, the chances of this girl being abused would have been vastly reduced.
3 Ways to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse