This is the second in the “Why I Fight” series from a leaders or professionals who work tirelessly to protect kids from getting pulled into pornography, help those who are already trapped to escape and heal, or support family members. Forest is one of those passionate people who has turned his own difficult experience into motivation to help others.
by Forest Benedict, MA, LMFT, SATP-C
My Fight Against Pornography Is Personal
When I was young, pornography took hold of my heart, and I was trapped for many years. I finally learned how to live free from it, and I desired to help others do the same. Now much of my life is focused on helping those addicted to pornography find healing and to rally parents to protect kids.
I Fight to Change the World
To me, pornography is a justice issue. As adolescent access to pornography increases, so too does our society’s negligence of young people. Every chance I get, I speak out to help educate others about the injustice of pornography and how it hurts and weakens our society. (This post about 50 Shades of Grey went viral last year.)
I Fight to Protect Kids
As a father of young children myself, I have the obligation and opportunity to prepare them for the moment they will see pornography. I do this in three ways:
- It is my duty to act within my power to protect my children from having easy access to pornography. I have set up protective programs (Covenant Eyes) on our cell phones, iPad, and laptop so that the chances of my little ones accessing pornography decreases.
- It is my job to model respect for women, treating them as people of worth, not objects. Whether watching TV or out in public, I strive to teach my children not to indulge their eyes but to look away from sexually exploitative imagery.
- I must teach my children that porn will harm their brains and relationships. By engaging my children in age-appropriate conversations about pornography (we’re big fans of Good Pictures Bad Pictures), I am preparing them for the misleading experience that initially feels pleasurable but eventually leads to pain.
I am fighting pornography by preparing my children for the battle ahead. This is the unique honor I have as their father. I encourage all fathers to join me to protect kids from the ravages of pornography.
A Recent 5-Star Amazon Review of Good Pictures Bad Pictures from Holly Kelly:
Best Book on the Subject that I’ve Found!
“This is such a good approach to teach your children about the dangers of pornography. But even more importantly, it teaches them what to DO when confronted with it. I would recommend it to anyone with children. It’s even good to read to smaller children.”
Forest Benedict is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a certified Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider (SATP-C). He works at Roubicek & Thacker, where he is the Clinical Director of LifeSTAR and YouthSTAR treatment programs, treating sexually addicted individuals and their partners in the Central Valley of California. Forest also serves as the Program Manager/Teacher in the SATP certification program at Mid-America Nazarene University. He writes numerous articles on the LifeSTAR blog and also on his personal, faith-based blog. He has taught Counseling Sexual Addictions at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and speaks publicly about protecting children from pornography. Forest lives with his beautiful wife and two boys in Fresno. He can be reached at [email protected] or (559) 323-8484.