Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Wake-Up Call

A Wake-Up Call

By Carol Wiley
Director of Victim Assistance

How did the sex industry become a twelve billion dollar a year venture? How did this happen in America, where there is a church on almost every corner and a large percentage of the people claim to be Christians? Better still how did it invade our city? These are common questions asked when someone first has their eyes opened to the magnitude of the pornography problem in our country. The sad truth is most people don’t ask these questions until the problem becomes personal and the damage is already done.

In an effort to measure the level of awareness and the attitude of the people in the Shelby County area about issues related to pornography and sexually oriented businesses, CCV hired Ethridge and Associates, L.L.C., a public opinion research and communications consulting firm, to conduct a baseline study using a random sampling of 400 Shelby County residents eighteen years of age or older in 1998 and a follow-up study in 2000. Some of the results were startling, but lend some understanding as to why pornographers are able to sneak into our neighborhoods, into our personal lives, and yes, into our homes via the Internet.

Consider the following results. Fewer people in 2000 than in 1998 said they had seen something they consider pornographic in Memphis or Shelby County. In 1998, 75% of the people said they believe pornography is harmful to the community compared to 72% in 2000. When asked if pornography was harmful to those who use it, the percentage dropped from 67% in 1998 to 56% in 2000. Ironically, in 1998, 61% said they had unintentionally or intentionally been exposed to pornography in Memphis or Shelby County compared to 50% in 2000, yet in the 2000 study more than six in ten said they have seen, read or heard advertising for sexually oriented businesses in the past few months in Shelby County. Another irony is that most agreed that pornography sites on the Internet were harmful and more readily assessable for children and 79% interviewed were aware of filtering software, yet only 12% reported using filters to protect their children.

We, the staff and volunteers of Citizens for Community Values, feel God had put a mandate on our lives to expose the darkness and deception of the pornography industry, and to help anyone whose life has been harmed by any facet of the sex-oriented businesses. Our vision is to empower concerned citizens and community leaders to significantly reduce sexual exploitation and violence in Greater Memphis area by: (1) Increasing public awareness of the availability and harm of exploitative and abusive pornography, particularly in the lives of children. (2) Supporting the enactment and enforcement, within the Constitution, of limitations on pornography. (3) Offering assistance to people harmed by pornography.

This vision would be overwhelming if we did not believe that God was sending out a wake-up call to many concerned citizens that enough is enough—we will not allow our community to be destroyed by the subtle power behind the sex-oriented businesses and pornographers. We believe He will cause many to hear the cries of the victims who are filled with fear and hopelessness. In Isaiah 61:1-3, the wake-up called is clear, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Will you answer and help us clean up our community and heal the brokenhearted?

For more information contact:
Carol Wiley,
Victim Assistance Director
Citizens for Community Values

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