Written By Catholic News Admin Sunday October 9, 2016
National conversation on pornography next weekend
Bishop Robert Llanos, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of St John’s-Basseterre will, on Saturday, deliver the feature address at the start of the two-day symposium Consider This! A National Conversation on Pornography.
Parents, educators, medical/legal professionals, religious groups, government agencies and the public will join the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC), in collaboration with Jubilee Catholic Community, for this once- in-a-lifetime awareness-raising campaign about the harmful effects of pornography on young people’s sexual health and relationships.
The event, a continuation of a multi-phase project to ensure ongoing awareness and action against pornography, will feature a panel of local and international certified experts in various fields, providing well-researched presentations on the serious dangers of pornography exposure.
Planning for the symposium, which takes place at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, on October 15 and 16, began two years ago when Bishop Llanos, former Auxiliary Bishop, headed the AFLC. According to Charmion Lee Wing Gomes, Consider This! representative, the event will gather the “best minds” and “top researchers in the world” to give presentations on key issues in their respective fields.
International research has shown that with the advent of Internet pornography, children are exposed as early as the age of 8 and addicted by the age of 11. In 2012 the Journal of Sex Research put first exposure at an average age of 12 for boys, however, more recent studies coming out of the US in 2015 claim that 90 per cent of children between the ages of 8 and 16 have already viewed pornography, either willingly or unwillingly.
Earlier this year, Lee Wing Gomes commenting on the local situation, pointed to the “unfettered access” that children had to pornography through the government-issued laptops. She told Catholic News school-aged children have also been able “to purchase
pornographic DVDs from vendors with music carts and have even taken to producing amateur pornography – in the classroom or elsewhere – and posting it online”. She said in several cases of the sexual abuse of children – whether by adults or other children – pornography “to some degree” was an influence.
Lee Wing Gomes said children were facing a significant threat to healthy sexual development and development of healthy relationships and were “at risk of growing up with warped and unrealistic ideas of the opposite sex”.
Papers to be presented on Day One of the symposium include: Pornography – The Public Health Crisis of the Digital Age, by Dr Mary Anne Layden, Director of Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania;Pornography and its Effects on the Developing Brain, by Sharon Cooper, MD FAAP, adjunct professor of paediatrics University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Medicine; Pornography: Its Psychological Effects on Children and the Family, by Dr Dianne Douglas, Douglas & Associates Ltd, assistant clinical professor, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry; and Pornography – Protecting our Children, by Dr Saran Looby, representing The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
On Day Two, Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins PhD, Senior Programme Officer, Quality Assurance Unit, UWI, will present a paper titled, Twenty-First Century Popular Culture and Social Media – Challenges to Caribbean Sexual Ethics.
Following a Question and Answer segment, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in panel discussions and workshops.