When Dad Falls: A Family's Ordeal with Pornography
- Thursday, September 09, 2004
What do narcotics and pornography have in common? According to Richard Young, assistant professor at Brigham Young University College of Nursing, "pornography consumption can be as mood altering and as addictive as narcotics."
For many, such a claim seems unrealistic. For others, like Sarah Smith (not her real name) and her family, this devastating effect of pornography is much too real.
While the effects weigh heavy on Sarah's family, she admits, "I don't know if we have dealt with the reality of this. We have all been trying to process the illness for years now. As far as the divorce, it is still so fresh. We are simply trying to get through it." Sarah speaks of her family's present situation resulting from her father's addiction to pornography.
Christian Homes Not Immune
Family Safe Media reports that pornography is a $57 billion business worldwide and a $12 billion business nationwide. Thanks to an industry with revenue larger than combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC and larger than combined revenues of all professional baseball, basketball, and football franchises, what was once a "Beaver Cleaver" family is no more.
"We had lots of high standards and values that we were taught and expected to live up to. We always ate dinner together around the table every night no matter what was going on. This is the family time that I grew to love and hope for my own someday," Sarah said of her Christian upbringing.
Unfortunately, Christian homes are not immune to the pornography plague. According to Family Safe Media, as of 2003, 47 percent of Christians admit pornography, in the form of adult Internet porn sites, is a significant problem in their homes. In comparison, 47.78 percent of families, in general, identify pornography as a problem in their homes, as evident from a 2003 poll taken by Focus on the Family and reported by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families (NCPCF).
Knowing who can be affected by pornography is almost as shocking as the effects. Surprisingly, the porn addict does not have to be the stereotypical degenerate found in the aisles of a back-alley liquor store.
"I wasn't some guy hanging out in bars, or a bum. I wasn't a pervert in the sense that people look at somebody and say, 'I know there's something wrong with him,'" said the late Ted Bundy, infamous serial killer. He made these remarks in an interview with Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, just hours before his execution.
"I was a normal person. I had good friends. I led a normal life, except for this one, small but very potent and destructive segment I kept very secret and close to myself," Bundy said.
For Sarah's father, the same potent and destructive segment was well kept from his children, at least for a while.
As Sarah grew up, her father was a deacon, businessman, sports coach, and "the fun one of our parents." He served on community and church leadership committees. She always looked to him for coaching tips, fun stories, laughs and adventure. "He seemed to balance my relationship with Mom so well," she said.
Unfortunately, the balance began to teeter soon after the computer and Internet entered the Smith home. "I discovered sights that had been visited that had words in them such as photos, bikinis, and many objectionable phrases," Sarah explained.
As a deterrent to the inappropriate Internet searches, the family switched to a filtered Christian Internet service. Unfortunately, the Christian filter did not filter everything.
In addition to Mr. Smith's accessing porn from the Internet at home and work, the family soon realized the Internet was not his only means of fulfilling his desires.
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