February 17, 2012

Violent, pseudo-child porn on my Delta flight this morning.

I am quite shaken up at the moment. I’m still shaking and my heart is pounding. I was just on a Delta flight from Baltimore to Detroit, on my way to Texas where I will speak at a conference about the links between pornography and sex trafficking. After getting to my seat, I looked up and noticed the older man directly in front of me was looking at pornography on his iPad. I couldn’t believe what I saw! I was speechless for a moment. Enough time to see him flip through at least 8 images of very young Asian girls, one of them was of a girl whipping another girl.

As soon as I caught my breath, I couldn’t help but say something. I asked, somewhat loudly, “Are you really looking at pornography right now? On an airplane at 6 am? Are you really looking at porn right here?” He was still holding it and said “I didn’t know what I was talking about.” I said, “You are! You’re looking at porn! I can see it on your screen.” By this time, everyone is looking. I said to the male flight attendant close by, “Sir, this man is looking at pornography right now. Will you please do something?” But, he refused and said there was nothing he could do and the man put it away.

A few seconds later, in a quieter voice directed at the man in front of me, I said, “I am on my way right now to speak at a conference about pornography and sex trafficking. You are contributing to the problem. You are victimizing and exploiting thousands of women. I cannot believe you would do that right here on an airplane.”

THEN, an older woman in her 50s stood up, turned around and said to me, “Be quiet. No one cares.”

Words cannot explain how I feel right now. It is bad enough that a man was looking at violent child-themed pornography in public, right in front of me. It is bad that the airline would do nothing about it. But, I cannot believe that a middle-aged woman would be so ingrained with this pornified culture, that she would say “No one cares.”

During the flight, I went through a million emotions. I felt hopeless and as though there’s just nothing we can do to stop this.

But, then, I remembered, that even though I felt alone, I know that millions of Americans are on my side. I am not alone in feeling like this is extremely exploitative of women. I am not alone in feeling like this is wrong. I realized that we just have to fight harder. We have to be louder. We have to make sure people understand that pornography harms. This woman has no idea that pornography is wreaking havoc in the lives of millions, tearing apart countless families, destroying our kids’ chance of having a normal relationship, contributing to the demand for sex trafficking and so much more.

She is WRONG! Millions care. You care.

Thank you for continuing to fight!

Best,
Dawn Hawkins

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