Students for Child-Oriented Policy hosts its annual signature event
Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) hosted its annual “White Ribbon Against Pornography Week” (WRAP Week) February 19–24.
Kylie Gallegos, Co-President of SCOP explained that WRAP Week—which serves as a counterpoint to “Sex Weeks” hosted by other major universities—is designed “to raise awareness about pornography addiction, its effects on the person, society, and relationships.” She continued, “We have been holding different events to raise awareness and to educate our members about the different harms of pornography—so that they can either deal with that better themselves or talk to their friends about it.”
The events of the week included tabling at Duncan Student Center; writing chalk messages on the sidewalks in front of both student centers; a lecture by the founder and executive director of Magdala Ministries, Rachel Killackey; and a club watch of the film Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae.
The tabling ran from 11am–2pm on Monday, February 19. One participant, sophomore Will Grannis, explained, “I stood by one of the Duncan Student Center entrances and handed out bagels to people, to whom I would also give a small leaflet from SCOP explaining the harm pornography causes and ways to break free from addiction.”
Gallegos added, “We did bagels so that people would come by and have to stop and put cream cheese on so we could talk to them about what we were doing and what events we have coming up. A lot of people came up and talked to us.”
“We had all good responses, and people didn’t really sound surprised about what we were doing,” she noted.
Grannis echoed this sentiment, stating, “No one who came to get a bagel was disappointed or combative when we explained that we were campaigning against pornography, nor were we harassed by any bystanders, which gave me hope.”
The second event of the week, chalking, was designed to draw wider campus attention to various issues with pornography. Club members wrote messages on the sidewalk such as “porn kills love” and “porn fuels sex trafficking.”
Will White, who serves as club secretary for SCOP, explained, “We wrote chalk messages reminding people about the dangers and the harms of pornography. I think it is important to get the message out there. It’s not something that people generally want to think about, but it’s something that needs to be thought about.” [Editor’s note: Will also serves as Webmaster for the Rover].
Junior José Rodriguez helped with the chalking. He told the Rover that “while we were writing, we had a few people stop to read what we were writing. Some of them were like ‘keep up the good work,’ others just gave us strange looks.”
Gallegos also told the Rover that the chalk displays had inspired a poll to be sent in the O’Neill Family Hall student GroupMe “asking what people thought about pornography, and it was overwhelmingly anti.”
After the tabling and chalking on Monday and Tuesday, the week continued with lectures on Thursday and Friday and the Friday movie watch, as there were no events on Ash Wednesday.
Rachel Killackey of Magdala Ministries spoke on both days; she gave an open lecture on Thursday titled “Human Dignity and the Problem of Pornography” and a lecture for women on Friday about “Healing Female Sexuality in a Pornographic World.”
In reference to the Thursday lecture, John Paul Butrus, the other Co-President of SCOP, told the Rover, “We had a great speaker come to tell us about her experience and also some more information about the harms and widespread nature of pornography addiction in society.”
The Thursday lecture focused on five hallmarks of addiction—tolerance, withdrawal, self-deception, loss of willpower, and distortion of attention—and how pornography manifests them in individuals and the culture at large.
Killackey particularly emphasized the loss of willpower that accompanies addiction. “This one hurts,” she began, “but addicts of any kind, no matter how much they want to stop, cannot by an act of their own will.” This is particularly troubling, she noted, because “our will is one of the most distinct things that separates the living from the machine. We’re not robots, [and] we are not puppets. We are men and women.”
She then explained methods of accountability that individuals can use to aid their inhibited free will to break the cycle of addiction.
One way in which Killackey explained how personal addiction can be manifested in the culture was when discussing the third hallmark of addiction: self-deception.
“A porn-addicted culture is one that has to become relativist; it has no choice,” she argued, “[St.] Thomas Aquinas talks about how lust is so selfish that it will push you not just to have tolerance of your behavior or justification, but eventually lust demands worship. We see a culture that is bowing down at the altar of lust, right, because we have no choice. Either we get rid of our addiction, or we bow down.”
Gallegos noted the success of the week, but also emphasized that confronting the issues surrounding pornography extend beyond WRAP Week:
“SCOP has been advocating for a porn filter [on university WiFi] for years and has always been shut down by the university. One year, they had a really big push where they were on ABC News, and many national news sites covered the Notre Dame anti-porn campaign.”
The push was not fruitless, Gallegos said, because in response, “Holy Cross [College] put a filter on their WiFi, but Notre Dame decided not to because of ‘academic freedom,’ I believe. But Father Jenkins said he would be open to reconsidering if it was an initiative through student government.”
Two student senators, Ayden Ellis and John Soza have recently authored a bill titled “A Resolution to Ban Pornography on Campus WiFi Services,” acting upon Fr. Jenkins’ response. It will be brought to the floor in the coming weeks.
Joseph DeReuil is a junior from St. Paul, MN studying philosophy and classics. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Credit: Kylie Gallegos
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