SEX IN OUR SCHOOLS: IT’S TIME TO ACT
Access to porn is increasing sexual activity and violence among youth
by Yvette Bone
supporting articles reprinted with permission from FighttheNewDrug.org
In this issue, we are breaking protocol. Normally we print light-hearted news and features that introduce you to people, places and organizations in our Southwest Florida community. But this month, I want to address the disturbing event that took place at South Fort Myers High School in May.
When I first heard of the story, I knew there was more to it. Any girl that would put herself in that situation has known sexual violence to some degree. I was so disturbed by the community’s public shaming of this girl. I asked my kids (ages 12, 13 and 16) to tell me what the buzz was at school. My two youngest, who were in middle school and are boys, said kids were saying, “She wanted it.” My daughter, who is 16, was outraged but couldn’t quite articulate why. Then the news came out about the girl being a victim of sex trafficking. The public shaming stopped for the most part, but it turned to pity for the girl and focused on educating people about sex trafficking, how to be smart with social media, and safety issues at school.
While all of that is vitally important, the most disturbing aspect of this story to me personally are the 25 boys who were party to this. In my opinion, that is where we – the public and school district leaders – need to focus the most attention. How could that many boys participate or observe? What led them to believe the incident was in any way acceptable? Why did not a single one intervene? As a victim of sex trafficking, the girl did only what she knew to do. Those boys are victims too – of families and a society that have neglected to address the subtle forms of sexual violence around them. We as a community, and especially our school district, need to pause and consider for a good long while what our responsibility is to help rehabilitate those boys, and how we should educate the thousands of other middle and high school students in our district. Our district needs to address the DEMAND for sex trafficking, its origins, and the issues that are driving male students to behave with such disregard for a female. They need to ask, “Where does it start and how can we intervene?”
While researching the story in May, I came across a website called www.FightTheNewDrug.org. Fight the New Drug is a secular organization that has studied the scientific affects of pornography on the brain, and its pervasive influence on our society. They wrote two blog posts about this story and I think they are very valuable for our community to read and we are including them here. I have reached out to the superintendent’s office to inquire about them enlisting Fight the New Drug or a similar organization to help educate our students district-wide. I think this kind of curriculum should be added to current sex education as the new norm.
I implore you to read these two articles, and even research the data Fight the New Drug offers on its website. I hope this issue keeps you up at night as it has me. And I hope that you are concerned for our community and youth enough to reach out to the superintendent’s office to ask for this kind of education in our schools. If you are a philanthropist, I ask you to consider funding this kind of movement. And I appeal especially to the men of our community – you are needed on the front lines of this story. Let’s speak out, link arms, and take a stand for the good of our children.
You can reach Lee County School District Superintendent Dr. Gregory K. Adkins at GregAD@leeschools.net or by calling his office at 239-337-8301.
15-YEAR-OLD GIRL SNAPCHATTED HAVING SEX WITH 25 BOYS IN FLORIDA SCHOOL BATHROOM
May 24, 2016
Yesterday, KTLA reported a story as shocking as it is disturbing. A group of teenagers who had sex in a high school bathroom in Fort Myers, Florida, then posted a video of the act on social media. A 15-year-old girl had sex with as many as two dozen boys after school Tuesday afternoon at South Fort Myers High School, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office incident report. Deputies said 25 males were spotted via a hallway camera entering the restroom while the female was inside, the News-Press reported.
“A bunch of football players went into a [stall] with a girl and had sex with her, and a bunch of the football players were suspended,” student Alex Bailey told NBC-2. “So we might not have a football team this year.”
Students said the entire thing was filmed and then posted on Snapchat.
“There’s girls that saw the video once and it hurt, it is just so disturbing to them,” student Casey Winn said.
If this stomach-turning story is not a direct result of the porn culture that’s been created in our society, then we don’t know what is. Teens today are being raised on a steady diet of pornography, teaching them that random sex and group sex is completely normal and desirable.
Can you imagine what would happen if your school’s health class was taught by a cigarette salesman? Chances are, you wouldn’t hear much about lung cancer or how much shorter the typical smoker’s life span is. He might even try to tell you that smoking could boost your sprint time. Sounds ridiculous, right? Here’s the problem: that’s the kind of education millions of teens are getting about sex every day.
While porn is often called “adult material,” many of its viewers are well under the legal age. Whether they want to or not, the majority of teens are getting some of their sex ed from porn. And just like cigarette commercials show healthy people puffing away instead of the cancer-causing reality, porn is offering a completely warped idea of what partners, sex, and relationships are really like. In porn, sex with strangers is made to look normal – and more often than not, it’s more than one stranger at a time. In a study of popular porn videos, the number of sexual partners in a scene ranged from one to 19, and averaged at three. And the kinds of sexual acts pornographers get on film are often degrading, dangerous, or violent.
“A competitive market means that pornographers are trying to outdo each other to come up with the most extreme images,” wrote John Wood, a therapist who works with youth addicted to pornography, in an article talking about porn’s effects. “This contest to push the boundaries means that straight intercourse is considered too boring. Images of brutal anal sex and women being humiliated and degraded by two or more men at any one time are the new norms.”
As a result, studies show that people who view porn are far more likely to think things like group sex or dangerous sex acts are more common than their non porn-watching peers.
And in many cases, attitudes make their way into behavior. Researchers have repeatedly found that people who have seen a significant amount of porn are more likely to start having sex sooner and with more partners, and to engage in riskier kinds of sex, putting them at greater risk of getting sexually transmitted infections.
Sociologist Michael Kimmel has found that men’s sexual fantasies have become heavily influenced by porn, which gets awfully tricky when their partners don’t want to act out the degrading or dangerous acts porn shows. As a result, men who look at pornography have been shown to be more likely to go to prostitutes, often looking for a chance to live out what they’ve seen in porn. In one survey of former prostitutes, 80% said that customers had shown them images of porn to illustrate what they wanted to do.
What pornography doesn’t show is what healthy sex is like, since most pornographers cut out things like kissing, cuddling, other positive kinds of affection, and partners being responsive to each other’s needs and preferences.
They also cut out the consequences of the kinds of sex shown. In porn, no one contracts sexually transmitted infections; there are no unwanted pregnancies, no cervical cancer, no intestinal parasites, and no skin tearing or bruises. And no matter how rough a person treats their partner, in porn, nearly everything looks like it feels good. In fact, in the study of popular porn videos, in nine scenes out of 10, a women was being hit, beaten, yelled at, or otherwise harmed, and the result was almost always the same – the victim either seemed not to mind or looked happy about it.
Not only does porn offer up a fictional version of sex education, but also that education is being delivered in a way perfectly tailored to how our brains learn. Images are an especially powerful teacher, since they can pack in a whole lot of information that the viewer can understand very quickly. And while words are often interpreted as opinions, our brains are more likely to interpret images as facts; after all, it’s a lot harder to argue with something you’re seeing happen in front of you.
Our brains also learn better when they’re sexually aroused. When you add in the focused concentration of searching through pornographic images to find exactly what the user is looking for, and reinforcing what’s being taught with the reward of sexual climax, it creates the perfect conditions for wiring what porn teaches into the brain (See Porn Changes the Brain).
As a result, consistent porn users wire their sexuality to looking at virtual images of unrealistic surgically altered bodies. Instead of learning to build relationships with real people, it often feels more natural and arousing to them to be alone in front of a computer.
“It’s sad,” said Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychology professor who studies porn’s effect on men. “Boys who are initiated in sex through these images become indoctrinated in a way that can potentially stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
BREAKING NEWS: FLORIDA GIRL IN BATHROOM SEX SCANDAL REVEALED AS FORMER SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM
May 26, 2016
Since earlier this week, thousands of people have commented and shared our article about the 15-year-old girl who was Snapchatted having sex with 25 boys in Florida high school bathroom. Many people commented judgments about the young girl or blamed her parents for such behavior, ignoring the inexcusable behavior of the teen boys.
New facts have come to light that evoke feelings of sympathy for the girl, rather than criticism. The girl’s mother recently reached out to NBC-2 to help tell her story and set the record straight. She does not want to be on camera, so she asked a woman who has worked with her daughter to be the family spokesperson.
The biggest takeaway from this shocking and now heartbreaking incident is this young girl’s tragic history.
“I had heard about a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it and thought there’re some red flags,” said Megan Estrem. “What’s upsetting about this is this behavior is not uncommon for human trafficking victims,” said family spokesperson Megan Estrem. Estrem is the founder of Be the Light (www.bethelightoutreach.com), an advocacy group for victims of sex slavery. She sees cases like this all the time.
“Sex trafficking is a very traumatizing experience,” said Estrem. “She was only 13 when she was trafficked,” said Estrem. The girl was placed into multiple treatment programs; the most recent was eight months long. But because she’s a runaway, only a handful of programs would accept her. None of them addressed the devastating ramifications of sexual abuse. “She did get some help, but it wasn’t specific for what she needed,” said Estrem.
She was a student at South Fort Myers High only two weeks when the incident happened. “She was not equipped to make a stable, rational decision in that situation,” said Estrem. The girl’s mother said her daughter went to the boys bathroom to talk to a boy she had a crush on. She said the boy wanted sex, and her daughter complied. Then word got out.
“She did not [have sex] with 25 boys in the bathroom. There was only a handful that she did [have sex] with. In this case, it was more of a spectator sport,” said Estrem. It lasted an hour and ended because the students involved had somewhere else to be. It’s deeply disturbing that even a single male participated in this, without consideration of her, or the effects of their actions.
“She has been in an environment where she has been told to behave a certain way, and there were severe consequences if she didn’t,” said Estrem. “They are usually stuck in slavery until someone busts it up,” added Nicole Waid, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney based in Fort Myers. “You’re talking these young girls having sex 30 to 40 times a day with different customers,” said Waid.
Some traffickers abduct their victims, others are lured using the Internet, but what all the victims have in common is some vulnerability. “Fourteen to 16, the age because they feel isolated from school, isolated from parents, that the world’s against them,” said Waid. “It’s truly one of the most horrific crimes, you are selling young girls, and young boys for sex.”
The pimps are targeting runaways, outliers and those with low self-esteem.
“They’ve done it before, they know exactly what they are saying, the words to say, they know what this kid needs to feel like, ‘Oh I’m on your side,’ and then to lure them into some situation,” said Waid. And once in, it’s very hard to get out.
“They are highly complex rings. They are traveling and trafficking these girls from Southwest Florida to Atlanta to up to New York City to Boston and back,” said Waid. “It was such an issue that we started a human trafficking task force to educate law enforcement and the community and prosecutors.”
Sex trafficking is not an illegal immigrant problem. It’s a domestic one.
“What I don’t think people really understand it happens everywhere, it could be your neighbor or a girl in your English class,” said Waid.
The girl’s mom has pulled her out of school. She is trying to protect her from the rumors, comments and video swirling around the Internet right now.
As for the video that has been taken, a few people have posted the graphic video on social media. Comments have been made about wanting to see the video, while some are offering it to people who subscribe to their channel.
We at Fight the New Drug are heartbroken to hear these new facts concerning this story that we reported on. We felt lots of sympathy for the girl originally, but now that the story has taken an even darker and more tragic turn, we want to be sure others know the background story as well.
Sex trafficking is a huge global issue, one only fueled only by pornography. Unfortunately, there are many in our society that are blind to the inseparable link between porn and sex trafficking. And so many others are blind to what porn is teaching young men (and women) about sex. These boys’ willingness to take advantage of a traumatized sex trafficking victim by engaging in group sex is another sad example of today’s porn culture. How is any of this healthy or okay? While many were quick to judge the girl, we should all be just as concerned with the behavior of the boys who thought it was okay to do what they did.
The porn industry is a sketchy industry to begin with, but when it takes a really dangerous turn is when porn involving sex trafficking victims is made and distributed, much like the video of this poor teenage girl now circulating the Internet. Countless girls like this Florida teen have been coerced, abused, drugged, and threatened into the sex trade. It’s not a hard stretch to make to assume that this wasn’t the first time this girl was coerced into sex and had multiple people standing around to watch and even record. By speaking out and being educated on this worldwide issue, we can hopefully prevent this from continuing to happen.
What YOU Can Do
Speak out about the harmful effects of porn culture in our society. SHARE these articles and spread the word on the scientific harms of pornography.
Instagram & Twitter: @fightthenewdrug
Facebook: Fight the New Drug
- There are 68 million daily online searches for porn
- 11 is the average age of first exposure to pornographic images
- 88% of pornographic films contain violence toward women
- 98% of sex slaves are women
- 86% of trafficked women in the U.S. report being physically abused by their captors
To view more statistics and read personal stories go to: http://fightthenewdrug.org/porn-sex-slavery-infographic
International Justice Mission www.ijm.org
Not For Sale: www.notforsalecampaign.org
If you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-(888)-373-7888.