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Southern FLUs, youth discuss pornography and its effects

Michael Ali, chairman of the Family Life Unit at OLPH, introduces Dr Peter Gentle. Photo: Elmo Griffith

The Family Life Units and Youth Ministries of the San Fernando, Mon Repos, La Romaine, and Pointe-a-Pierre cluster held a two-hour discussion on pornography and its effects on society on February 2 at the Bishop Mendes Auditorium, Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church, San Fernando.

In attendance were Vicar General and parish priest, Fr Martin Sirju, Rev Roy Raghunanan, the teens of the YOU.SER.VE. Youth Ministry Arm of OLPH and parishioners from the cluster mentioned. Rev Harold Woodroffe, although unable to attend, was also instrumental in the organisation and execution of the night’s discussion.

The event, titled ‘Pornography – Destroying Individuals, Families and Marriages’, was centred on a recording of clinical and community psychologist Dr Dianne Douglas’ presentation on the topic at theConsider This! A National Conversation’ Symposium at the Hilton Trinidad in October 2016. The symposium was hosted by the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission in conjunction with Jubilee Ministries.

The evening began with an opening prayer by Linda Belmontes, followed by a praise and worship session led by Roger Scott. Providing a brief insight into the symposium was Jane Apping, who highlighted the core objective of the project: “to sensitise and educate all individuals of all ages about the harmful effects of the drug pornography”. The four main consequences were the effects on the attention span of the brain, commitment in relationships, aggression towards women, and job security.

Douglas’ presentation highlighted that individuals who become addicted to the drug of pornography, “use it to live and live to use it”. In their “moving away from morality”, they become so habituated to “using” or “watching”, that they become desensitised to the type of pornography they look at and even seek more perverted forms of pornography.

For men especially, there is a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality including sexual aggression, rape and sexual promiscuity which produces the notion of women as commodities and “sex objects”.

“Passion, intimacy and commitment” were the three ingredients proposed by Dr Douglas from her research that are key to the recipe of a successful marriage. Sadly, pornography negatively affects and alters each of the aforementioned. It is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, fuels family conflict and leads to sexual addictions.

Lastly, on the effects of pornography on children, they experience autonomic sexual arousal at the sight of pornographic content. This is often confusing to their process of conceptualisation, thinking that they “like” what they see without the “approval” of their brain. Candidly, it is indeed a frightening experience for children to witness such acts as they are unable to comprehend them.

Dr Douglas concluded in a plea to our society to digress from the “recreational attitude” we possess towards the issue of pornography and adopt a more proactive one that acclaims the ideology of adulthood and what it should encapsulate: national pride, civic duty, hard work, ambition.

The evening closed with an insightful testimonial from Dr Peter Gentle, retired consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who shared his experience at the symposium and knowledge on the many sexually transmitted diseases that are spread during the Carnival season.

He avowed “Pornography is a 73-billion-dollar industry in the US and is more addictive than cocaine”, therefore, let us remember that we all have a responsibility to ourselves, our partners and our children to fight this drug in our society and bring others into awareness and knowledge. Sarah Dwarika