What can I do to fight pornography?

Folks eager for change may not be ready to start a new organization or run for public office, but creative community engagement can start small and build as time and talents allow.

Create awareness
Start by educating yourself. You can find a library of resources on pornography and sexually oriented businesses on this site.

Once you are informed, you are ready to spread the news to others. Our closest sphere of influence is the people we know. Online and offline networks are great places to start raising awareness and building momentum for your cause. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are great ways to quickly and easily communicate with your friends, and most websites have tools to help you instantly share good articles. Online forums and letters to the editor are great for raising local awareness. You don’t have to be a professional wordsmith to convey the passion and concern you have for families and society.

Another great option is to lead a study group at your church. Reclaim Our Culture, Kentuckiana got its start in Louisville during a Bible study on current issues . Upset by all the sex shops in the area, this small group began to engage the community. Five years later, more than 100 sex businesses had closed their doors.

Personal efforts
You can begin your activism on a small scale. Small doesn’t mean insignificant, however. Taking a stand for what you believe in is likely to draw out others who share your concerns but have never spoken up. Here are a number of projects to get you started:

Clean up local checkout aisles – How many people turn their heads when buying groceries? Worse, many children are exposed to the dangerous and unhealthy sexuality promoted by these lurid tabloid headlines. Many store managers have never heard a single complaint about these magazines and may be unaware that folks are bothered by them. Simply speaking your mind in a respectful and kind manner can begin a dialogue that may lead to their removal or covering. Citizen magazine published a “how-to” guide with great tips for how to make this an issue.

Clean office initiative – Research shows that pornography is a growing problem in the office. One recent survey reported that 28 percent of people have accessed pornography on their office computers. Apart from the danger this poses to the pornography viewer, the office environment could be disrupted by a sexual harassment suit, staff turnover and lost productivity. Speak to your human resources representative and IT manager about workplace safety guidelines and filtered Internet access. Learn more about the harms of pornography to the workplace here.

Clean Hotels – We all know that money talks, but we don’t always how to make our money speak for us. One instance is where we choose to lodge when we travel. Some estimate that more than 50 percent of the nation’s hotel rooms have in-room pay-per-view pornography. Even if we don’t use it ourselves, we often stay at hotels that do profit from pornography. Fortunately, we have a choice to stay at pornography-free hotels. Cleanhotels.com maintains a listing of hotels nationwide that do not feature in-room pornography. You can book directly on the site or use it to find a place to stay. You also can promote this resource to friends, family, churches and employers.

Community engagement
Those looking for long-term projects can address the presence of sex businesses in the community or work to prevent them from locating there.

First, find out if your town has comprehensive sexually oriented businesses regulations and zoning ordinances in place. You can get this information from a municipal planning commission, the city attorney’s office or by speaking with a city council representative.

If you do not have comprehensive regulations in place, your town is vulnerable. As more and more communities pass strict zoning laws, sex shops are moving into areas without protections. Once a business is established, it is much harder to remove than preventing its arrival in the first place.

If you do have laws in place, ask when the ordinance was passed and if it has ever been enforced. Study these regulations and see if the sex shops are complying. You can find out a lot without ever stepping foot inside such a business. Is it closing each night at the appointed hours? Does all its signage comply with the law? You can also speak with the chief of police to see if there have been any police visits to the business. Gather all this information for use when you meet with your elected officials.

Once you have gathered your information, ask for a meeting with city officials and take two or three people with you. The point of this meeting is to present your concerns and begin to build a relationship based on accountability and respect. Work to build an alliance that honors and supports an official who must make difficult decisions and will most likely face opposition.

As bad as passing no law is passing one that will not hold up in the court system. In addition to your elected officials, you may decide to bring in zoning professionals to help you pass a strong, constitutionally-sound law.

You can do it!
Standing up for what you are passionate about may seem difficult, but you can start with small steps and build from there.

Copyright © 2013, Daniel Weiss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.