May 16, 2018

Recent Opposition to the Truth about Pornography and Prostitution on College Campuses

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is no stranger to opposition.

In recent years, the trolls have taken to our web pages, attempting to hack our websites, bullying our staff with threats and disgusting language, and even reaching out to us directly in-person; we have been threatened with lawsuits on numerous occasions. While we take great precaution to keep our team safe, these tactics have not deterred us in our efforts to expose the deeply entrenched web of sexual exploitation.

There’s an old saying that rings true: you are closest to your victory when you face the greatest opposition.

In the past few months our team has spoken at prominent universities around the United States, including, Georgetown, Princeton, Harvard, and Brown. While we speak regularly on college campuses, we seem to have hit a nerve especially lately.

Both at Georgetown University and Brown University students attempted to organize against us demanding that our events be canceled.

But we refuse to be silent. We’re bringing the truth about pornography, prostitution, and more to college campuses.

Most recently, Lisa Thompson, our Vice President of Policy and Research, spoke at Brown University.

Prior to the event, a student sent an email trying to get the University to cancel the event and to intimidate Lisa out of speaking.

Part of his email read:

“Public health research has overwhelmingly shown that the views of NCOSE are false. Additionally, many of their projects (including the project “Porn Harms Research”) promote and advocate for articles that are ‘peer-reviewed’ when in fact such articles have been widely panned and debunked by scholars. I urge you to reconsider inviting Lisa Thompson to your event, as she is an individual who regularly promotes pseudoscience that is harmful to the contemporary discourse on these issues. As such, she has no place on Brown’s campus.”

Interestingly, the student did not cite or link to any sources that academically discredited the research around the harms of pornography—probably because there aren’t reliable sources broadly discrediting the numerous peer-reviewed studies in our presentations, handouts, and at endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth.

While some people want to silence others rather than listen to their arguments and authentically examine the research, we are always willing to engage with individuals and audiences that are skeptical.

Lisa was not willing to be silenced. She went to Brown University, and thankfully had an enjoyable and engaging experience speaking to the students. She reported that she saw several student’s eyes light up with understanding as she shared the facts!

This incidence comes on the tail of NCOSE getting similar opposition for speaking at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Last October Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE, spoke at an event at Georgetown University. Prior to the event, some student groups joined together to oppose her coming and even threatened the hosting student groups with bad publicity, protests, and attempts to defund their organizations. One of the co-hosting groups did back out of hosting the event, but another group still decided to host Dawn, regardless of the repercussions. While the opposing students showed up to the event looking for a fight, we met them with rational, research-informed arguments about the public health impacts of pornography and the inherent harms with the commercial sex industry. Many of the students stayed past the end of the presentation to further discussion these issues. Unfortunately, the opposing student group went on to call for the university to defund the hosting group and the hosting group is now in a battle with Georgetown leadership about their right to speak about issues like this.

We are inspired by the courage of the next generation and their understanding of the importance of the topic of sexual exploitation

It is especially important that we continue to educate college-aged people on the issues of sexual exploitation as rates of sexual assault, rape, and pornography use are at an all-time high on college campuses. These students need all the tools and resources to combat our sexual charged and objective society.

Do you want us to keep speaking on college campuses? Let us know by donating to support this educational effort.

During the 2018 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit Dr. Mary Anne Layden, a NCOSE board member, said something very profound.

She said, “Don’t worry so much about the opposition. It’s a good thing. People are fighting us because we are right, and we are winning.”

Natalie Ford

Natalie Ford

Intern

Natalie Ford, a senior at Brigham Young University completing a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion, is NCOSE’s Political and Strategies intern. Over the past few years, Natalie has been involved with several projects supporting different vulnerable population including a trip to Lesvos, Greece to work in a refugee camp. She will graduate in April 2018 and is excited to put her education and experiences to work and is especially interested in women’s health issues.

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