March 18, 2016

1st Waver: Norma Norris & WRAP Week

It was just one woman in Pennsylvania with an idea, and now 25 years later thousands are still participating.

Mrs. Norris tying a white ribbon on a car
Mrs. Norris tying a white ribbon on a car
The White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Campaign began with one woman in Butler, PA in 1987. Norma Norris heard a sermon against pornography delivered by the pastor of her Catholic parish. Msgr. Francis Glenn lamented that local prosecutors and law enforcement had been deluded into thinking that people didn’t care about the hardcore porn being sold in her community. Norma looked at the full pews in the church and said, “That can’t be; we’re here and we care!” Norma then gave herself the challenge to inspire her community and to send out the message: WE CARE! WE COUNT! Norma thought the plan had to be simple, inexpensive, and something to catch the imagination. Soon after, the idea of a simple white ribbon as a symbol of decency came to her, and a movement was born.

Norma then worked with Msgr. Glenn, the Butler County Citizens for Decency, and the Butler Fellowship of Churches to organize the first White Ribbon campaign. Ribbons were distributed; huge white ribbon bows were sent to the Governor and the Attorney General of Pennsylvania; petitions were signed; and a motorcade was organized.

NCSE_stories_600x_norrisThe highlight of the campaign was the bulldozing of a closed porn bookstore. The Butler County Citizens for Decency bought the property especially for the purpose. A judge signed an eviction notice against the store, and on a sunny day in fall, in front of a large crowd of citizens and cameras from local TV stations, the bulldozer smashed the porn shop to smithereens.

That year, Morality in Media became the national sponsor of the WRAP Campaign. WRAP has since taken on a life of its own with many local groups adding their own events, projects and ways to get the word out. Many other national groups organize campaigns during this week as well. We invite all to participate!

Read more about the history of WRAP here. You can also read the history in Espanol.


National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

Further Reading