Marriage and Family


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Marriage and Family

University Program in Las Vegas Aims to Strengthen Family

USA-2019-04-13-College Group Hosts Pro-Family Event in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, United States—While there is a loud clamor for all kinds of sexual freedoms on college campuses, one college group, Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), organized a program with a polar opposite issue, that of sexual integrity.

The event, “Building the Intact Family in a Sexualized Culture,” was held on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus on April 13, 2019. The room was filled to the 140-seat capacity for most of the program, mainly with students but also with members of the college administration, religious leaders, media, and civil society leaders from the Las Vegas area and neighboring states.

Local CARP leader Jinil Fleischman opened the day by describing the purpose and activities of CARP, an organization that is affiliated with UPF. He explained that the co-founders, the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, hoped to turn the “Sin City” of Las Vegas to “Shine City” and thus encouraged this type of conference.

The first speaker, Lynn Walsh, the director of the UPF Office of the Family, gave a talk on “Sexualization: A Crisis in Intimacy.” The fundamental and universal desire for happiness and lasting love is poisoned as sexualization turns what should be the most fulfilling, emotional, and spiritual giving between husband and wife into a meaningless recreational or “sport” sex, devoid of love and commitment, she said.

Sexual objectification of women by the media and pornography destroys girls’ sense of innate value and suffocates their unique feminine sensitivities for human connection and procreation, Mrs. Walsh said.

Studies of young women show a correlation of depression with early sexual debut and impersonal sexual activity, such as “hooking up.” Mrs. Walsh showed a research graph of the dramatic decline in women’s happiness in the world. Despite attaining much sexual freedom, more education than men, and more job opportunities, women are more unhappy than they ever have been and are unhappier than men, she said. These and other studies indicating a global rise in loneliness are related to our decreased ability to connect with others in depth as well as a crisis in intimacy, she said.

According to Mrs. Walsh, men also have been negatively impacted by the sexualizing culture. The media and especially pornography encourage men’s objectification of women, and aggression and violence against women, according to the studies she presented.

At the same time, she added, the media portray men as “dumb idiots” and unnecessary as fathers. This depiction may explain the perpetual adolescence of many young men today who, lacking a sense of manhood and purpose, are spending more time on video games and pornography than interacting and developing socially.  These habits and unrealistic “pornified” expectations about relationships, she pointed out, make it harder for men to know how to relate to the opposite sex in a healthy way that can lead to a meaningful romantic relationship.

Showing numerous graphs, Mrs. Walsh stated there is a vast amount of research indicating broad benefits of marriage, especially for children and women but also for men. She explained that marital commitment makes a significant difference in personal investment, emotional security, sexual fidelity, and stability, all of which must be present for genuine intimacy to grow, for both men and women.

“Our sexualizing culture is destroying intimacy and turning awesome sex into ‘roadkill’ sex,” Mrs. Walsh said. Practicing sexual integrity, she noted, is in fact the best way for a young person to develop self-discipline and appreciation for the opposite gender, find a good and faithful spouse, create a thriving family, and experience the best love and best sex ever.

Dr. Tim Rarick, a professor of marriage, family and child development at Brigham Young University, Idaho, spoke about “The Link between Fatherlessness and a Sexualized Culture.” He presented research that detailed the negative consequences for girls of fatherlessness, from mental instability, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, poor school performance, adolescent pregnancy, physical and sexual abuse to difficulties in establishing stable adult relationships.

He made clear that not all girls without good fathers suffer in these ways, but the increased risk is undeniable. He stressed that the only way to stop sex trafficking, the epidemic of pornography, and the sexualizing culture is by loving and responsible mothers and fathers raising strong, healthy, well-loved children.

Dr. Rarick gave an example of how the culture has deprecated the father’s role when he referred to pop singer Katy Perry’s statement, “I don’t need a dude!” for raising children. Referring to his recent research on fatherless girls, Dr. Rarick showed several quotes from poorly fathered girls who clearly suffered from a poor sense of self, emotional neediness, and hopelessness.  Many of the quotes conveyed a sad and desperate longing in little girls’ hearts to feel loved or even noticed by their father.

He gave more examples of the media’s denigration of fathers, which discourages men from stepping up to their responsibility “to become a man” through intentional and engaged fatherhood. Dr. Rarick explained that men must develop unselfishness and self-control in order to put their children first, not just in providing economically but also by giving their children much quality time.

He empathized with working fathers’ struggle with making the daily choices to be engaged with their children. He showed a video of a father arriving home from work, obviously tired and wanting to go inside his house to get some time to himself. But then, eyeing his daughters jumping rope, he stopped himself and jumped into the game with his girls. Clearly, not only were his daughters thrilled with their dad’s validation but he himself was delighted to be present with his girls and happy that he had chosen to be a fun and loving father.

Dr. Rarick recalled his relationships with his daughters, noting that they made him a much better human being and man. He closed his talk by mentioning efforts to ensure his girls know their beauty as internal and innate. He then described his daughter’s comment during a special father-daughter dance, conveying how cherished she felt as she whispered in his ear, “Oh, Dad, I want this never to end!” Dr. Rarick was particularly adept at presenting a wealth of research on fatherhood and then bringing it to the heart as he choked up while telling how much his children mean to him.

Dr. Sandra Lowen, a clinical therapist, lecturer, and writer in the area of sex, marriage, and family, presented a talk on “Diluted Intimacy: The Need for Good Touch.” She covered Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development to explain what humans need in each stage of life to develop their full capacities, including the ability to have healthy intimacy. Dr. Lowen explained what a child needs from his/her parents at each stage and the detriments to development when parents are unable to provide appropriately.

Having responsive parents is critical for optimal emotional, intellectual, and social development, she explained. From her examples, it is clear that not attaining full development in one stage prevents the complete development and maturation that should occur in the next stage.  She showed how when parents fail to parent adequately, the consequences ripple out to weaken society on all levels.  Dr. Lowen made clear that none of us received perfect parenting and that we all need to heal and work on self-development with our heart, character, habits, and values before entering into a romantic relationship.

CARP was very fortunate to have Lisa L. Thompson, the vice president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), speak. NCOSE regularly addresses harmful policies, effectively demands social media machines to cease facilitation of sex trafficking and child porn, and forces chain stores to remove sexualizing messages. NCOSE successfully confronted and caused the U.S. government’s shutdown of the world’s largest website conduit for sex trafficking, BackPage.

Mrs. Thompson’s talk was titled “Advancing to Solutions by Exposing Connections.” She explained in detail the hidden workings and interconnections of traffickers, “pimps,” brothel owners, and porn film producers. Porn videos often are used to “educate” prostituted and trafficked women about the fantasies they are supposed to fulfill. She reminded us that the majority of women in porn videos are not doing so volitionally but instead are tricked, coerced, drugged, and forced to perform acts against their choosing.

She emphasized that the politicians pushing for the legalization of “sex work” in order to “empower women” do not understand that “the buyer pays money to have full control over the woman, who must do whatever is necessary to satisfy him. In other words, these women are utterly disempowered,” she said.

“Talking about human trafficking without talking about prostitution is like talking about slavery without talking about the cotton fields. You don’t do it,” Mrs. Thompson said.

She made a striking comment that attending a conference like this one helps her deal with the emotional darkness she experiences at times while directly confronting the sources of such inhumanity and relating closely to these women and girls who are so horribly impacted.

Another plenary speaker was Melissa Holland, the founder and executive director of Awaken, an organization that not only helps women heal from sex trafficking, pornography, and prostitution but also works to fight legal prostitution in Nevada. Her talk, “What Is Happening in Nevada?,” was an excellent follow-up to Mrs. Thompson’s.

Some people justify calling prostitution “sex work” and say that legalizing it empowers women’s plight as a “career” and prevents them from the trauma of being arrested. But she clarified that their trauma is clearly the sexual abuse received and not spending time in jail.

Ms. Holland also said that another argument was that prostitution “is the oldest occupation in history… so, why change an institution that has been around for all time?” (This writer notes that that argument does not seem to work for other traditional institutions.)  As Ms. Holland has worked very closely counseling rescued prostituted and trafficked women, she affirmed, “No woman would ever choose prostitution.”

She explained that predominantly these women have received repeated abusive treatment throughout their life, often since an early age. Only a woman who has lost her sense of value, having experienced no other reality in life, would succumb to such a dehumanizing role, she said. Mrs. Thompson said that sex trafficking and prostitution are the same: The women have no power, no choice, no voice, and no defense against violence and abuse. A prostitute is not regarded as a person and does not feel like a person.

During lunch, Deborah Earl from Power 2 Parent gave a stirring presentation on the aggressive effort to mandate the sexualizing Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) into elementary and secondary schools. Her organization has been fighting recent legislation that promotes CSE, removes parental control of their children’s sex education, and weakens local control.

Directly from the curriculum, Mrs. Earl showed examples of the graphic content encouraging explicit risky sexual behavior and openness to sexual experimentation. She also showed how the curriculum is designed to make children assume they have “sexual rights” and that all kinds of risky sexual behavior are normal.

Mrs. Earl explained that Nevada used to require parents to sign a permission slip in order for their children to receive sex education but a new bill has been proposed which will enroll children automatically in the CSE class. The burden then would fall on parents to request that their child be removed from the class. She said that this would greatly increase children’s exposure to sexualized material without their parents’ awareness or consent.

Her organization, Power 2 Parent, works to encourage and preserve parents’  fundamental rights and responsibilities to educate and protect their children, because parents are the ones who know and love their children as no other.

The conference held two segments of very informative breakout sessions from the speakers and other experts. The morning breakout sessions included “Navigating the Pornified Culture” by Andrew Love from High Noon and Lisa Thompson; “Teaching Our Children the Difference between Intimacy, Sex, and Pornography” by Dr. Tim Rarick; “The Case for Healing” by Dr. Sandra Lowen; and “Cohabitation: Helps or Hinders Happiness? And What to Do?” by Lynn Walsh.

The afternoon breakout sessions included “What’s Happening in Nevada?” by Melissa Holland and Lisa Thompson; “Advocating for Marriage and Family in Hostile Environments (Like College Campuses)” by Dr. Tim Rarick and Lynn Walsh; “Choices and Consequences” by Denise Ashurst from Pride and Purity; and “What Does Recovery from Porn Addiction Look Like?” by Andrew Love from High Noon.

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