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WRAP week aims to create awareness about issues related to pornography

| Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The third annual White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) week started Monday in an effort to promote conversation and awareness of the dangers of pornography, as well as the severity of the issue on Notre Dame’s campus and in the United States at large. The organization that initiated the event, Students for Child Oriented Policy (SCOP), promotes WRAP Week as an invitation to students to learn about the nature of pornography and explore helpful resources.

SCOP is a non-sectarian and non-partisan group on campus that advocates for public policy that aligns with the best interests of children in nurturing their development and success. Since the club’s founding in 2013, it has been focused on five pillars: marriage, adoption, education, drug abuse and pornography.

“We want to show some of the stats that are hidden by the industry about how prevalent porn use is,” senior Jim Martinson, SCOP’s president, said. “People who are struggling and hear witness testimonies can know they’re not alone. Something you get out of this week is you become more knowledgeable about the harms of porn and how it’s one of the more mainstream issues facing society.”

WRAP week is a national campaign started by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which has the goal of “exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography,” according to its website.

Each day of Notre Dame’s WRAP week features a different event or talk to create a strong Notre Dame support system. Yesterday, SCOP members passed out bagels and white ribbons to students as a physical demonstration of solidarity. Additionally, SCOP held a prayer service at the Grotto with the Knights of Columbus.

As a co-sponsor of WRAP week, Knights of Columbus, along with other University organizations such as Right to Life, Irish Rover and Militia of the Immaculata, have helped provide financial assistance for the week and promote the events on campus.

On Tuesday, WRAP week will feature a lecture by Notre Dame professor Kirk Doran titled “Children, Marriage, and Happiness” at 7:30 p.m. in B034 Geddes Hall.

“We want to show the positive side of an alternative lifestyle of using porn,” sophomore Ellie Gardey, SCOP vice president, said. “You can be happy and live a life of virtue that’s not corrupted by porn.”

The main keynote speakers for the week, Dr. William Struthers — a sociology professor at Wheaton College — and Dawn Hawkins from NCOSE, will lead a discussion called “Sex and the Brain: The Impact of Sexually Explicit Media” tomorrow at 7 p.m. in 102 DeBartolo Hall.

“We’re going to focus more on the science behind the pornography issue,” Martinson said.

On Thursday, there will be a dinner and discussion with Fr. Terry Ehrman, C.S.C about Ehrman’s book “Man of God.” The book is the fictional story of a man who overcomes his porn addiction

“The book is a series of fictional emails between Father Terry and a man who is struggling with pornography,” Gardey said. “It goes through the story of how Fr. Terry helps him to overcome his addiction. It shows that when he was able to overcome his addiction, he could start a family and be there for his child and wife.”

WRAP week will conclude Friday with “Fighting Irish Fighting Pornography.” From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of SCOP will be outside North and South Dining Hall to gather signatures for the banner and petition for a Wi-Fi filter at Notre Dame. Since the petition began a few years ago, it has collected over 1,000 signatures.

“It’s been a two year battle to get this filter on campus,” Martinson said. “There’s also going to be letters calling for a filter on Notre Dame’s Wi-Fi network and 150 students total have already signed the letters. People have responded to the letters positively. I definitely think it’s going to happen. We’ve been in communication with [chief of staff] Ann Firth and Fr. Jenkins and they’ve been receptive. We’ll also be doing a Senate proposal to filter the Wi-Fi network under the direction of Fr. Jenkins to get students involved.”

Each year, SCOP continues to grow its membership and member involvement in the hopes of instituting a more widespread impact on campus, Martinson said.

“Ultimately, we would love to take WRAP week to the point on nonexistence where there would be no issue anymore,” Martinson said. “In the near future we would love to have bigger speakers on campus. We want to have more in-depth discussions about pornography usage so that people realize that this is a serious issue and it’s just a matter of time for that.”

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