by Maria Marballi
We love labels, don’t we? We use them for just about everything. One couldn’t possibly conquer a grocery list without the guidance of aisle indicators or product tags. They create definite separations between finite categories that indeed need to be separated. Cookies are in the snack aisle; shampoo in health and beauty. Done. Here’s my money. Labels make things simple, clear-cut and require minimal high-caliber judgment on the part of the buyer.
Labels are so prevalent and flat-out necessary that we routinely use them to classify ethics. Sharing is good; stealing is bad. Sincerity is good; lying is bad. Porn is good; sex trafficking is bad. I know what you’re thinking: what an unmistakably, unsubtle way to bring up sex. But here I go.
What if I told you that labels, the very things that allow life to make sense, are also the reason life doesn’t make sense? What if I told you that some of these labels could potentially be the most life-threatening ideal that many of us have learned to embrace? While there is absolute truth, Christ-centered truth, man-made labels involving sex often have shades of grey that craftily sneak below the moral radar. It is easy to believe that porn, prostitution, child abuse and sex trafficking have little to do with one another; however, they may have everything to do with each other, and it’s costing lives as I write.
Pornography is a 96 billion dollar per year industry. Human trafficking: 32 billion dollars per year. These numbers are not mutually exclusive; they are intricately woven into one another to create a web of sexual immorality and profit that is our culture today. To succinctly summarize the far more complex issue on how these trades are related: trafficked women are often trained by porn and used in the production of porn. Due to the fact that women are forced and coerced to perform sexual acts before the camera, therefore being trafficked, the demand for human slaves heavily stems from a desire to view increasing amounts of pornography. While there are women that “willingly” enter into the industry drawn by the gilded depiction of glamour, many of them become victims of abuse, not knowing what they got themselves into- and even then there are not nearly enough volunteers. They need to be manipulated, tricked and stolen. They need drugs to finish up the day. As an appetite for pornography increases, so will the amount of human slaves, because we are constantly imploring, “more.”
75 to 95 percent of prostitutes were sexually abused as children. I read an article the other day about a 4-year-old girl who was raped by her 14-year-old male babysitter, which stemmed from his “excessive” porn-viewing addiction. Not to say that the 4-year-old victim is fated to end up selling her body, however, many prostitutes share dangerously similar childhood memories, potentially 95 percent of them. That sum is too massive to pass off as chance, or to shrug a shoulder in indifference. Thus, in most cases, when we as a society pass off sexual immorality as commonplace, we are indirectly contributing to the pain and brokenness that exists within a prostituted woman’s heart. We want you, abused and exploited, to fulfill our sexual desires once again. This is essentially what we claim when we partake in sexual culture. And, by being passive, we are partaking. We are contributing. God has not called us to be weak at heart, but rather, courageous. It seems that pop culture has redefined courageous in a way that accepts pornography as its own, however, Christ has established otherwise, and how thankful I am.
We will go to great lengths to satisfy that part of ourselves which is unsatisfied, and the porn and trafficking industries are making billions of dollars to provide it. And they are providing it through the use of those who began their lives abused and battered for another’s gain. Little did they know it wouldn’t be their last time.
Click here to read “Sex and Shades of Grey – Part II”
Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and is currently serving as a pureJUSTICE intern.