Research on resisting porn
The Chair of the Taskforce for Resisting Pornography, the Rev Marshall Ballantine-Jones (pictured above), is undertaking a major research project on all aspects of pornography, with particular focus in reducing its impact among teenagers.
Established under the auspices of the Professional Standards Unit in 2013, the taskforce includes educators, counsellors and experts such as sexologist Dr Patricia Weerakoon, counsellor Nicky Lock, psychologist Greg Powell, the Dean of Students at Moore College, Dr Keith Condie and PSU director Lachlan Bryant. Mr Ballantine-Jones, who also works as the Director of Publishing at Youthworks, was appointed chair of the taskforce last year.
“We already have substantial data on our church workers, new graduates, congregations and schools – and we are focused on providing education, resources, and support for our church members” Mr Ballantine-Jones said. “For this to happen we must thoroughly explore the research, and provide solutions which are evidence-based, practical, and enduring. My research, through the Westmead Children’s Hospital, under Dr Kim Oates, aims to help provide this.”
The taskforce’s first research project was in 2014, when it commissioned a survey of ministers, chaplains and licensed lay church workers across the Diocese on attitudes to pornography use. The results formed a major part of the Faithfulness in Service Seminars, drawing on the expertise of Dr William Struthers, a Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College in the United States. Dr Struthers urged a major overhaul of how Christians approach the problem, rather than trying to simply ignore pornography, or rely on attempts to limit exposure.
A study from the University of Sydney has indicated that 70 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women access or have accessed internet pornography. In the US, on survey said 93 of male and 62 of female college students had seen pornography online by the age of 18.
“Wave after wave of worldwide studies say the same thing – the problem is colossal. We are at Ground-Zero and younger generations in particular are being saturated in pornography and porn-culture to an extent that is unparalleled in history. So in addition to the adults currently debilitated by this scourge, our future leaders, parents, and church members will battle lifelong scars. The problem is urgent, and we all must own the solution.”
Archbishop Glenn Davies says the work of the taskforce and the research being undertaken is vital. “It requires our concerted efforts to block this evil, invasive activity. The Bible encourages us to protect the vulnerable in our society. Unfortunately over the last 20 years the invasion of pornography on the Internet has attacked not only the vulnerable but those who thought they were secure.” the Archbishop said. “That Christians and Christian ministers can fall prey to these temptations should raise an alarm and give us serious reasons to reflect on how we can best protect everyone from this pervasive spread of evil in our world.”