in response

I struggle.

I am not the only woman who does. Maybe you do, maybe you know someone that does.

I was convinced that I was the only one. I thought I stood alone and that sucked. I was so ashamed of myself and I felt like I was hiding all of the time. The struggle is real, I get it. A boy introduced it to me when I was fourteen. It’s like sinking sand with no escape.

That feeling of being alone changed my junior year in college when a counseling group was started  for woman struggling with pornography. I walked into that room and it hit me that I wasn’t alone.

Pornography is meant to make you feel isolated and alone. It did for me, but beginning to talk about it has changed my life. For the first time I feel free and unashamed of who I am. Now, I don’t stop talking about it. It’s a comfortable topic that comes up easily (my friends are used to it by now).

I want to continue talking about it. So I began with this project which I’m calling: in response. I had each of these girls write down the messages they are hearing around them about women or people in general that struggle with pornography, but then I had them write down separately how they would respond to that message.

These are real girls, real responses from girls, just like me, who are beginning to speak out against pornography addiction.

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“…I want you to realize that porn addiction is exactly that, an addiction. It is not something that you can just stop. Healing means: time, counseling and accountability.” I am trying to stop, but I need your support. Don’t make me feel bad because believe me, I already do it to myself.”
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“…I’ve struggled since my early teens and was overcome with guilt and shame. I refused to do anything about it, thinking I was the only one. I’m human and now I am slowly learning what it means to be a sexual being.”
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“…I want to be seen for my passions, my interests and my dreams. NOT my struggle. Who am I? I laugh and smile a lot. My favorite food is ice-cream. Serving people is one of my greatest passions. I am imperfect, but hey, that’s okay. THAT is my identity.”
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“…I want people to be willing to ask questions. Stop making it taboo. Asking questions is not noisy; it shows me that you care. It tells me what I am going through matters. Ask me: ‘What is it like to struggle as a woman?’ or ‘What has this taught you?'”
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“…I suppose people would tell me that’s no reason to view porn. But that is not my point. I think I’m so ruined by being raised in a society that made me fear my sexuality. Now at 21, I am thinking deeply about what it means to be a sexual being.”
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“…I don’t want a response for myself, but I would just want it to give truth, perspective and hope to someone who needs it.”

 

Talking has helped me find my voice in the silence. Maybe it can help you find yours too. Remember, you are not alone. You are not fighting alone. Us girls, we stick together.

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