Citizens for Decency, an organization fighting against pornography and human trafficking, held a conference aimed to educate students, parents, teachers and different members of the community about the harmful effects of pornography and how communities can speak out against the problem.
The conference’s five speakers taught about a variety of issues regarding pornography, including the effects pornography has on users, the effects it has on communities and how pornography is linked to human trafficking.
In the morning session of the conference, members of the community were counseled to know how to support spouses and other family members who struggle with pornography addiction.
Joshua Peters, a sophomore studying communication, said he enjoyed the conference because he has seen how pornography has affected his life personally, saying that guilt and shame play a large role in addiction.
“In the first session, it talked about the spouses and how it wasn’t their fault, and they weren’t to blame for their spouse’s addictive tendencies,” Peters said.
Speaking at Unite to Fight was Clay Olsen, co-founder of Fight The New Drug, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating others about the harmful effects of pornography.
Olsen spoke to the audience about how guilt and shame correlate with addiction; he said shame causes the addiction to worsen. Olsen also provided three ways the audience could fight against pornography.
“Research is proving that pornography is harmful, recovery is real and there is help for those who are struggling– know that your voice matters,” Olsen said.
Craig Cobia, founder of Citizens for Decency, spoke about the need for legislation specifically in school systems and what their organization has done to fight for it.
In the past few years, Citizens for Decency has approved legislation that has filtered explicit content from public wi-fi systems, such as public libraries and schools. Cobia said that along with Idaho, many other states passed legislation classifying pornography as a public health crisis.
Cobia said that even though this may be a battle won, that the war is still raging. Cobia invited the audience to keep fighting for legislation and education about pornography.
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Quorum of the Seventy counseled to the audience on how they could support someone struggling with pornography addiction and how they could receive help themselves.
“The majority of students here have struggled or been exposed to pornography and haven’t been married yet,” Peters said. “If you don’t at least understand what this can possibly do to a family, then I invite you to come even if you aren’t struggling. Help those that falter and pick those up that need it.”
Citizens for Decency archived the conference on their Facebook page for those who weren’t able to attend the conference.