March 19, 2012
The Baltimore sky was still dark when Dawn Hawkins boarded her flight on the morning of Feb. 17. As executive director of Morality in Media — one of the preeminent leaders in the fight against illegal pornography — Hawkins was traveling to Texas to speak at a conference about the links between pornography and sex trafficking.
Shortly after the plane lifted off, Hawkins noticed a man seated in front of her was viewing images on his iPad of young, possibly underage Asian females whipping each other. Appalled, Hawkins requested that a flight attendant intervene to stop the male passenger from looking at pornography — and potentially even child pornography — within the close confines of the plane’s cabin.
But the flight attendant did nothing, so Hawkins changed tactics and tried to personally persuade the man to put away his porn. Eventually, though, a middle-aged woman stood up and bluntly addressed Hawkins: “Be quiet. No one cares.”
As Morality in Media marks its 50th birthday this year, Hawkins’ airplane incident provides a microcosm for the opposition anti-porn crusaders regularly face. For while galvanized activist groups often go to great lengths to make sure their voice of warning is heard, a lot of people on the other side of the issue couldn’t care less who consumes adult pornography.
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