Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I looked for love in your eyes - the ultimate price of pornography

The internet has transformed many aspects of our lives. For the most part, these changes have been for the better. But some things we could have done without. Like internet pornography. In the old days it was difficult to get your hands on pornography. I remember during my hostel days there were a few magazines that would do the rounds and a few 'go to' people who were known to have a stash. But today, hardcore pornography is streaming into our homes and into our lives. There must be very few men who can say with a clear conscience that they have never seen a pornographic image on the internet. In fact, even those who do not voluntarily search for pornography are enticed into it through spam mails and the evil train of links that can lead into devious mazes of misplaced passion out of which it is difficult to find a way.

There are many disturbing statistics that are regularly quoted, but in this post (assuming there will possibly be more on this topic!) I will limit myself to just two. First, the average age of first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years (Internet Filter Review). Second, 9 out of 10 children aged 8-16 years have accessed pornography on the internet, usually while doing their homework (LSE 2002). This is the greatest danger of the internet. And I hope and pray that all of us with children have spent worthwhile money on one of the many safeguards available.

Now I can already hear the voices crying that there is nothing wrong with adults having some 'harmless fun.' I may have agreed with this foolish idea some years ago. But I now know that pornography is never harmless. Not only does it objectify and cheapen the beautiful gift of sex within marriage, but it also damages the intimacy and relationship between a couple. The whole idea of celibacy till marriage is lost, if pornography is the 'release' mechanism. And within marriage, there can be no other word for it than adultery. When it comes to pornography, I am always reminded of the old jungle doctor's fable of a tiger cub adopted by a family when the mother is killed. All is well till one day, the now grown-up tiger tastes blood for the first time. The father pays the penalty for his dangerous pet with his life. The moral - little tigers (sins) become big tigers. And big tigers kill. The safest option is to stay as far away as possible.

The reason this topic came up was a poem posted by Tim Challies that was sent to him by one of his readers. In moving and heartbreaking free verse, she tells of the great damage wrought by pornography on her family. This poem was written for all those who struggle with pornography. It is graphic only because it has to be. And it hits home all the harder because it is true.

Here is the poem - I looked for love in your eyes

I saved my best for you.
Other girls may have given themselves away,
But I believed in the dream.
A husband, a wife, united as one forever.

Nervous, first time, needing assurance of your love,
I looked for it in your eyes
Mere inches from mine.
But what I saw made my soul run and hide.

Gone was the tenderness I’d come to know
I saw a stranger, cold and hard
Distant, evil, revolting.
I looked for love in your eyes
And my soul wept.

Who am I that you cannot make love to me?
Why do I feel as if I’m not even here?
I don’t matter.
I’m a prop in a filthy play.
Not an object of tender devotion.

Where are you?

Years pass
But the hardness in your eyes does not.
You think I’m cold
But how can I warm to eyes that are making hate to someone else
Instead of making love to me?

I know where you are.
I’ve seen the pictures.
I know now what it takes to turn you on.
Women…people like me
Tortured, humiliated, hated, used
Discarded.
Images burned into your brain.
How could you think they would not show in your eyes?

Did you ever imagine,
The first time you picked up a dirty picture
That you were dooming all intimacy between us
Shipwrecking your marriage
Breaking the heart of a wife you wouldn’t meet for many years?

If it stopped here, I could bear it.
But you brought the evil into our home
And our little boys found it.
Six and eight years old.
I heard them laughing, I found them ogling.

Hands bound, mouth gagged.
Fisheye photo, contorting reality
Distorting the woman into exaggerated breasts.
The haunted eyes, windows of a tormented soul
Warped by the lens into the background,
Because souls don’t matter, only bodies do
To men who consume them.

Little boys
My little boys
Laughing and ogling the sexual torture
Of a woman, a woman like me.
Someone like me.

An image burned into their brains.

Will their wives’ souls have to run and hide like mine does?
When does it end?

I can tell you this. It has not ended in your soul.
It has eaten you up. It is cancer.
Do you think you can feed on a diet of hatred
And come out of your locked room to love?

You say the words, but love has no meaning in your mouth
When hatred rules in your heart.
Your cruelty has eaten up every vestige of the man
I thought I was marrying.
Did you ever dream it would so consume you
That your wife and children would live in fear of your rage?

That is what you have become
Feeding your soul on poison.

I’ve never used porn.
But it has devastated my marriage, my family, my world.

Was it worth it?

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