In November, leaders from four African nations spoke out during the first multi-national online event to address the harms of pornography in Africa. This event was facilitated by the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Africa, and led by the speakers:
- Alvin Winford, African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse (Liberia)
- Chinyere Eyoh, SOAR Initiative (Nigeria)
- Antoinette Basson, PHD, psycho-social researcher (South Africa)
- Godfrey Kutesa, Boy’s Mentorship Program (Uganda)
- Hosted by: Haley McNamara, International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, a division of the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The online mini-conference “Addressing the Harms of Pornography in African Nations” was held out of concern for the harms of pornography exposure in African communities. Alvin Winford shared about the neurological harms of pornography use, and how it can lead to escalation and compulsive use. Chinyere Eyoh spoke about the links between pornography and sexual violence, noting that pornography encourages objectifying women, normalizes rape and incest themes, and is even linked to child-on-child harmful sexual behavior. Next, Dr. Antoinette Basson shared original research in South Africa which showed regular pornography use among young people and its harms. And finally, Godfrey Kutesa shared about the importance of testimony and creating safe places for those who struggle with pornography.
Approximately 107 people joined the event live, with 245 people in total reviewing the recording of the event. Participants were primarily NGO leaders, community leaders, and even some government employees.
Participants made several comments during the event about the need for more education and advocacy on the harms of pornography in Africa:
- I have found in my counseling work that adults are very ignorant around the dangers of online porn and the risk to children. Most are in denial that porn is an issue – probably because they equate it to the magazine images they were exposed to… Some parents think they have it all under control and the ‘never my children’ belief exists..
- This is something really important. We are challenged. some monitoring mechanisms would help.
- Unfortunately, many people including parents and churches shy away from this naked truth. We just have to keep talking, using every available platform, our communities need to keep hearing the message.
- Parent-Child communication is really key.
- This is a very important topic of discussion. Many children and young people are trapped in this cage and a lot are still living in denial of the damaging effect it has on them. beyond creating awareness, we as Mentors need to be equipped on how to help people struggling with pornography come out of it.