PIDDIG sex scandal, Burgos scandal, Pangil scandal, (rumored) Dingras scandal, 5-sisters scandal, Hayden Kho scandal, and all those campus scandals.
If you cannot beat them, join them? That we do nothing to kill the monster we call pornography; that we have accepted perversion as part of everyday life; that we have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of the least of women and children, our women and children, that to me is the gravest of all scandals.
How does one solve a problem like pornography? This issue has always been the subject of fierce debate. What delineates art from pornography? Does censorship infringe on our freedoms of expression and of the press? Is digital exhibitionism an inevitable consequence of modernity?
In this short discourse, I will not pretend to have all the answers. Allow me, however, to offer a few insights.
Pornography demeans our dignity by cutting up human beings into parts—lips, breasts, genitals, hips—and turning them into passive objects. They casually treat the human body, temple of the Spirit, as cheap commodity in a market fueled by instant gratification of sexual wants.
No one wins in pornography. This deceitful trade, a double-crosser, harms both vendor and buyer, exhibitionist and voyeur. It gives the vendor a distorted view of herself, and robs her of her self-esteem. By taking in garbage, the voyeur, his mind polluted, becomes garbage himself. We are what we eat, and our character results from what we feast on.
With porno’s lure of easy money and quick fame, many willful victims use poverty as an excuse, although nothing, nothing significantly change in these flesh peddlers’ conditions. Yet for others like Katrina Halili (who now projects herself as a victim of “pambababoy” although those who have seen the video swear that Halili showed nothing but climactic pleasure in her acrobatics with Hayden Kho), scandals are a regrettable by-product of the blindness that is love. That there are more to human beings than skin and flesh is forgotten. That the most private of one’s human activity can be tomorrow’s fare in cyber-Gomorrah is discounted, and at great risk. “It happened to them, but not to me,” seems to be the persistent mentality. Kho’s simplistic mindset tells a lot. The hunk-of-a-doctor believed that his videos will not spread because Vicky Belo, his former lover, doesn’t know how to operate the computer where his sex scandals were stored.
And so many continue to fall into this trap, and what used to be an underground economy is now a monster gone mad. Internet pornography alone is now a fifty-seven billion dollar industry. That is equivalent to over three times our national budget. With that amount, we can send sixty million students to college, build ten million houses, or feed a hundred and fifty million malnourished children for an entire year, but alas, fifty-seven billion dollars down the drain, and all for naught.
We are not even counting here the more sublime but equally damaging forms of pornography in sexually-charged advertisements under the guise of modern-day art.
We can complain ad infinitum that it’s all the media’s fault, but who buys magazines, rents videos, surfs websites, sends emails, and forwards MMS? If we quit watching, they will quit showing.
Young artists can stop pornography by bringing out friendly craftsmanship and mature artistry in them. We can begin by taking small steps like avoiding obscene materials in our gadgets and computers. Should the police arrest everyone who have porn in their cellphones, how many (or how few!) of us will remain free? This is on the assumption, of course, that police officers don’t go to jail first.
It is alarming that young people contribute heavily to the porn market. Research shows that Internet users in the 12 to 17 age group are the heaviest consumers of adult material in the world wide web.
Why is this happening? A culture of silence in our homes is the culprit. Remember that young people are in constant search of answers to the many questions they ask, including those of sexuality. Because this culture prohibits discussion of sexual issues within the family, young people are led to search for answers elsewhere. This taboo results not only in pornography and sex scandals, but even in prostitution, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.
It is therefore our moral obligation to quash this restrictive culture by inculcating in our children the values of openness, responsibility, and respect for our sacred sexuality.
We must urge politicians, them who love to kiss babies in public, to fortify our efforts by crafting and enforcing vital legislation, before our women and children are swallowed in full by the cruel quicksand of sexual exploitation.
The battle against pornography might be long and difficult, but it need not and cannot be lonely. Profound social change is brought about not by individuals, but by movements.
All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing, said Edmund Burke. Let me go further and say that silence means consent.
But why the silence, my dear friends? Why the consent?
Let’s stop watching. Together, let’s do something.
And may our noble fight continue until every Filipino and every human being can say tall and proud: I am a person of worth, my dignity is non-negotiable, and I have clothed the porn star in me.