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Battling pornography: Former addict decries porn


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Josh Fields/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Michael Leahy spoke yesterday evening to a crowded Grand Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center about his battle with Internet pornography and how the pornography industry has reached into our everyday lives. Leahy is the founder and executive director of Bravehearts, an organization that strives to help people make choices that can lead to hope instead of despair.
By Laura Ory
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
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A former pornography addict told students last night that pornography is more than just adult Web sites and nude pictures in magazines, it's any material designed with the purpose to cause sexual excitement.

Michael Leahy, the featured speaker in the Porn Nation presentation, told a crowd of about 800 that advertisers are using porn in their ads in every type of media because sex sells.

"You are ground zero of a culture war," Leahy said.

But this is causing a saturation of sexual images into the media, creating relationship problems, eating disorders, sexual addiction and other societal issues, Leahy said.

Ten percent of the adult population will develop a sexual addiction, with 6 to 8 percent of adults currently living with the problem, Leahy said.

Geoffrey Schultz, a marketing junior, said he identified with Leahy because porn addiction was something he had dealt with before.

"It affected the way I viewed women and the way I viewed myself and I didn't like it," Schultz said.

Schultz said he doesn't watch television anymore because he felt that every commercial he saw was exploiting sex, but that responsibility should be placed on both consumers and advertisers.

"It's difficult because there is freedom of speech, but people should be careful with that freedom and how it affects others," Schultz said.

Amanda Condit, a pre-business freshman, said although she doesn't like seeing pornographic material, she acknowledges other's rights to view it.

"People who find it their way of expressing themselves, then it's their right to do that," Condit said.

Coleen Carnaby, a physiology sophomore, said she never considered the images in media to be porn. She feels there should be regulations on how far advertisers can go with their content, but the magazines should also consider policies about sexually related material.

"High school and middle school students can buy fashion magazines and these girls shouldn't define their worth by how they look or how to please a man," Carnaby said.

Daniel de la Huerta, an undeclared freshman, said he feels the use of sexual images has gone too far.

"It's an epidemic problem that needs to be addressed," de la Huerta said, adding how he also dealt with a porn addiction for five years.

"I felt like I was leading a double life," said de la Huerta, who eventually sought help from his pastor.



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