Students for Child-Oriented Policy raises awareness about pornography use on campus

Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) recently hosted White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week, an annual initiative aimed at raising awareness about and fighting against pornography use and addiction. This year, the events occurred from February 11–16, coinciding with both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. The club hosted Catholic speaker Jason Evert to deliver the keynote address. 

SCOP Co-President Evan Bursch told the Rover, “WRAP Week is an opportunity to demonstrate to the Notre Dame community the importance of fighting pornography. The [pornography] industry promotes sex trafficking, abuse, and child pornography, and we have a duty to educate people. By working to eliminate the demand, we can help to stop this industry and those trapped in addiction.”

Prayer was a central element in the week’s programming, with students gathering at the Grotto to pray a nightly Rosary for “those struggling with an addiction to pornography.” August Berchelmann described to the Rover how praying the Rosary with SCOP led him to “realize the true scale of the pornography addiction problem.” 

WRAP Week kicked off with a Sunday brunch, featuring a talk by senior Josh Haskell. He shared his testimony about overcoming pornography addiction, speaking to how addiction “invades every other aspect of life” and personally caused him to be “dull and self-seeking.”

Haskell also noted the importance of having conversations about pornography, even for those not currently struggling with an addiction, and getting the necessary help for those who are. He then spoke about the availability of a wide variety of resources for those who struggle with pornography addiction on Notre Dame’s campus, including Magdala Ministries, a group for women, and AsceND, a group Haskell co-founded for men. In all, almost 200 students are currently involved in these programs. 

Haskell told the Rover, “It is interesting that porn is one of the most statistically common struggles in the world, but one of the least discussed. WRAP Week is important because it sparks that conversation. Conversation is a necessary step to raise awareness and get people on the road to freedom.” 

Another signature event of WRAP Week was pornography awareness tabling. Representatives from the club passed out donuts, white ribbon pins, and flyers for porn addiction support groups. Upon approaching the table, passers-by were asked trivia questions about pornography use to raise awareness about the issue. Questions highlighted surprising figures about the consumption, exposure, and content of pornography, pointing to studies that reveal ninety percent of men and sixty percent of women struggle with an addiction. 

The following evening, the university welcomed chastity speaker Jason Evert for an event titled “College Dating 101.” The talk, which drew over 400 people, promised attendees six dating strategies that would protect future marriages from divorce.  

Evert defined chastity as the ability “to love and know if you’re being loved.” He stated his frustration with the way the current culture views sexuality, citing the harm that this modern mentality does to individuals. In this discussion, Evert directly addressed pornography, stating how lust is not simply a man’s problem but a “human problem.” Speaking to the women of the audience, he said, “You were never created to be porn. You were created to be loved.” 

Additionally, Evert touched on the issues of promiscuity and hookup culture, sympathizing with what he called the “third degree burns” that arise from sexual wounds. He continued, “So many young women have given away so much that they don’t feel anything anymore.” 

Evert instead encouraged abstinence, which he called “the best preparation for sexual intimacy inside of marriage” and “an expression of love.” Evert advised establishing clear boundaries when dating, arguing that the absence of such guidelines “won’t bring the person closer to you … It’ll just make it harder to break up.” 

In the last part of his talk, Evert outlined a positive vision for how to live a life of chastity. He advised students to “return to God and ask Him for what we need” and to “surround yourself with the right people.” Additionally, he counseled a four-step strategy to combat sexual temptation at the moment it arises, based on the Sign of the Cross. He also stressed the importance of the Mass in fighting lust, turning a typical critique of frequent Mass attendance on its head, “Daily Mass is for people who have nothing better to do … Because there is nothing better to do than the sacrifice of Mass.” Evert concluded his talk by encouraging the students not to lose hope in the quest to live a chaste life. 

WRAP Week concluded with a bonfire party on Holy Cross Hill on Friday evening, February 16. Despite dropping temperatures and falling snow, attendees enjoyed listening to music and spending time in one another’s company. 

Freshman Emily Ledford told the Rover, “I think the bonfire was definitely a fun way to end WRAP Week, and seeing how many people came just showed how we are all in this fight together to end pornography and to promote a solid Catholic culture on campus!” 

This WRAP Week marked SCOP’s ninth annual observance of the initiative since the club was founded in 2014.

Elizabeth Mitchell is a freshman currently studying marketing. She is also a firm believer in promoting a healthy Catholic dating culture at Notre Dame. Any young men interested in helping her personally contribute to this trend can reach her at  

Photo Credit: Kylie Gallegos

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