Negative Realities

Negative Realities Redirected

By Carol Wiley, Director
A Way Out Victim Assistance Program
(A Ministry of Citizens for Community Values of Memphis)

Citizens for Community Values was formed in 1992, by a group of concerned citizens with a vision to empower other concerned citizens and community leaders to significantly reduce sexual exploitation and violence in Greater Memphis and the surrounding areas by: (1) Increasing public awareness of the availability and harm of exploitive and abusive pornography, particularly in the lives of children. (2) Supporting the enactment and enforcement, within the Constitution, of limitations on pornography. (3) Offering assistance to people harmed by pornography and sex oriented businesses.

Since day one it has been an uphill battle with many victories and some discouraging setbacks, but the vision remains the same and by God’s grace the resolve to continue the battle is stronger than in the beginning. The bottom line is we are trying to impact a culture where for the most part, moral absolutes have been abdicated and an individualistic gray zone for morals and decision making has been embraced.

Several statistics concerning the moral temperature of today’s culture from The Barna Research Group of California’s, The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings are quite sobering.

  • Compared to two years ago, just half as many Americans believe that absolute moral truth exists, dropping from 38% in January 2000 to only 22% in November 2001.
  • Based on people’s reactions to a series of moral issues, Americans are comfortable legalizing activities – such as abortion, homosexuality and pornography – that they feel are immoral.
  • Religious teaching or values minimally affect people’s moral choices. The major influences on such decisions are the expected personal outcomes of their choices, minimizing conflict over their choices, and the values their parents taught them.
  • By the end of the decade, 50 million Americans will seek to have their spiritual experience solely through the Internet, rather than at a church; and upwards of 100 million Americans will rely upon the Internet to deliver some aspects of their religious experience.
  • At least three out of ten “born again” adults say that co-habitation, gay sex, sexual fantasies, breaking the speed limit or watching sexually explicit movies are morally acceptable behaviors.

    Mr. Barna states, “One of the greatest values of research is that it can identify myths that we hold on to — myths that often prevent us from seizing opportunities or that prevent us from responding appropriately to the world around us.” He also says, “ A lot of anger that was expressed to us in reaction to these findings reflects the difficulty we sometimes have in changing our predispositions and coming to grips with a world that is rapidly changing and does not conform to the rules we believed were firmly entrenched. Knowing the reality, rather than the myth, can help us address reality and, if need be, redirect it.

    What a powerful challenge to all citizens, especially those who believe the Bible and who believe the principles found within its pages to be true. We must be willing to look at the world we live in realistically, to do what we can keep the moral standards of our communities high and to help those who are in the world’s darkness to come to “The Light of the world”.

    Reality in Memphis is that it is the home of numerous topless clubs, adult book and video stores, escort services, adult novelty stores and prostitution. If a visitor to our city goes to memphis.citysearch.com on the Internet, he or she will find a topless club, Platinum Plus listed as one of the top ten bar and grills in Memphis. One more click and this visitor gets graphic reviews of the activities going on in the club. Another reality in Memphis is that there is a real grassroots effort going on to clean up our city and to help the victims of sexual exploitation and crime to get the help they need to escape the degradation they are suffering. The negative realities in Memphis and the surrounding areas can and are being redirected one battle at a time by citizens, who are joining together to encourage the efforts being made by our police department and elected officials. Also, lives of many young women who are being abused and exploited by sex-oriented businesses are being changed when they come into the A Way Out Victim Assistance Program sponsored by CCV.

    For more information, or if you are interested in helping redirect the negative realities in Memphis and the surrounding areas, or if you would like to help change a young woman’s negative reality into a reality that is positive and based on the love of Christ, call Carol Wiley at 685-1493 or email her at carol@ccvmemphis.org.
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  • Disspelling the Myths

    Citizens for Community Values Advocates Dispelling the Myths About Pornography

    By Carol Wiley
    Director of Victim Assistance

    On December 31, 2000, Marc Perrusqula of The Commercial Appeal wrote an article exposing the activities that go on in the topless clubs in Memphis, suggesting that stronger law enforcement is a must if we are to deal with the problems that exist. He reported that representatives from The Commercial Appeal had personally witnessed scores of apparent violations of city ordinances forbidding full nudity and physical contact between dancers and customer at Platinum Plus and three other local topless clubs. His research had uncovered some 100 police response service calls to Platinum Plus and some of the fines that had been levied against this establishment by The Memphis Alcohol Commission.

    Councilman Brent Taylor stated that he is attempting to demonstrate that Platinum Plus is a public nuisance and does not need to be permitted to expand. He also expressed feeling strongly that authorities need to take strong action to counter activities at this club.

    One reason there is not more public outcry for action is that the porn industry is a twelve billion dollar a year business that uses a series of myths to desensitize the public into accepting the immoral and the bizarre as the norm. Let’s look at eight common myths used to defend pornography and truth that dispels them.

    1. Pornography is a Broad Term Which Cannot be Defined.” The legal definition of pornography includes four clear categories: (1) Adult obscenity (“hard-core” pornography) (2) Child pornography (3) material harmful to minors (4) Indecency. Each of these categories has a specific legal definition established by the U. S. Supreme Court and each can be prosecuted.
    2. Obscenity is a Matter of Opinion—It Cannot Be Defined” The U. S. Supreme Court ruling states that Obscenity is 1) Graphic material that is obsessed with sex and/or sexual violence; 2) Material that is obviously offensive; and 3) Material that is lacking in serious value. The vast majority of obscenity cases brought to court result in a guilty plea and verdict.
    3. Obscenity and Pornography are protected by The First Amendment” In 1957, the U. S. Supreme Court decided that obscenity was “outside the protection intended for speech and press at the time during with the First Amendment was written.” The First Amendment does not protect slander, false advertising, perjury, obscenity, or child pornography.
    4. Pornography Doesn’t Hurt Anyone” Research shows that use of pornography is anything but harmless. Law enforcers estimate that the typical child molester will abuse more than 360 victims over the course of his lifetime. He is able to abuse 30-60 before he is even caught for the first time. (Dr. Gene Abel, Emory University). In his studies of convicted child molesters, Dr. William Marshall discovered that 77% of those who molested boys and 87% of those who molested girls said they were regular users of hardcore pornography. He also reports that 86% of adult sex offenders and convicted rapists said they were regular users of pornography, with 57% admitting direct imitation of pornographic scenes they enjoyed in the commission of their rapes.
    5. Pornography Is A Harmless Outlet for Dangerous Impulses” In his extensive studies of pornography users, Dr. Victor Cline, a Clinical Psychologist has observed the following pattern in the development of pornography users. A pornography user (1) becomes addicted, (2) uses more and more, (3) becomes indifferent to other people, and (4) finally acts out what he has seen, leading to rape and other violent crimes.
    6. Pornography is Exciting Because It’s Illegal. If It Is Legalized People Will Become Bored With It.” Almost forty years of experience in cities, ours included, with de facto legalization—not enforcing the laws and look at the results. The expose in The Commercial Appeal gave us a first hand look at the results of this type thinking.
    7. You Can’t Legislate Morality” Every piece of legislation passed is based on some moral conviction. Our country was founded on moral principles. Citizens for Community Values isn’t trying to dictate the morality of the people who make and sell pornography, but we are concerned with the impact of pornography on users and the violence committed against families and children by the people who consume it.
    8. Pornography is a Choice: If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Buy It” This sounds good, but when addiction takes hold the addict feels they have no choice and live life controlled by the addiction.

      These myths are encouraged by pornographers to rock citizens to sleep to the extensive personal and cultural damage that exists because of their greed. Ironically it is politically correct to fight to protect the environment but, politically incorrect to fight for decency in our culture. Citizens need to become “Cultural Environmentalists”, who are concerned with setting a standard of decency that provokes people in our culture to meditate on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy, and of good report (Philippians 4:8), not be drawn into the base addictions offered by the pornographers.

      If you feel God pulling at your heartstrings challenging you to join CCV in the battle for decency in our culture or to help those who are victims of pornography and sex-oriented businesses, please call me, Carol Wiley at 685-1493 or email me at carol@ccvmemphis.org.
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    Victims Are Helped

    Victims of the Adult Entertainment Industry are Helped by Citizens for Community Values’ Victim Assistance Program

    By Carol Wiley, Director
    Citizens for Community Values

    Citizens for Community Values’ Victim Assistance Program has helped 47 victims leave the sex-oriented business and gain control of their lives by providing financial assistance s, weekly counseling with a professional, physical and dental healthcare, food and clothing for the victims and their families, and special activities including a weekly Bible Study. Each victim coming into the program is assigned to a mature, Godly woman to be her mentor. The role each mentor plays is as diverse as the needs of the woman she mentors. Most importantly the mentor is a role model of God’s love and normalcy for one who has only experienced chaos.

    Normal for most victims is a very dysfunctional family and abuse. Forty-three of the women helped by CCV were sexually abused before age 10. All have experienced mental, emotional, and verbal abuse, and many have experienced physical abuse. This does not take away their responsibility for their choices, but it does greatly affect their ability to make wise choices.

    One universal characteristic in the victims is decisions are made with a survival mentality with no consideration of the damage to themselves or of future consequences. This leads them into a downward spiral that can lead to death if someone doesn’t intervene and help them understand the love of Christ and the difference between living and surviving. A good example is one victim’s story.

    “I am a 37-year old woman. At the age of ten days, I was left with a great aunt and uncle. My mother was emotionally unstable, in and out of treatment centers and group homes. Her children spent time with her, with relatives, and in foster care. I never knew my father and was told that I was the product of rape by my mom’s foster father. From age seven, I was in several foster homes. At 13, I began a long cycle of drinking and drugging, hanging with gangs and frequent incarceration.

    “At age 16, the state of California (CA) declared me legally responsible for my self and I soon became engaged in prostitution. At 18, I moved in with an ex-Marine who was selling drugs. My son was born in 1981. I was still prostituting and someone told me there was an easier, safer way to make money—topless dancing. I left my son’s father to “advance my career” with a pimp. I was totally committed to adult entertainment—prostitution and topless dancing. When that fell apart, I relocated to North Carolina with my son and his father. We lived in extreme poverty and I fell in with a group who followed mailmen and stole government checks. I went back to CA without my son, returned to adult entertainment and began heavy heroin use.

    “In 1986, my child’s father was killed. I returned to NC and the Feds caught up with me. I was sent to prison, was paroled, lost parole and received a longer sentence due to repeated drug use. In 1989, I moved to Memphis to be near my great aunt. She was one of the few positive people in my life and we had remained close through the years. I thought it was a chance for me to get away from the bad stuff and make a new start.

    “My attempts at self-rehabilitation failed again. I lived with an alcoholic man, taking five years of physical and emotional abuse. I moved in with another in-and-out of jail man who used drugs. My sleeping dragon of drug addiction woke. I went back to the topless clubs, and prostitution and all that goes with it.

    “I had money—to travel, to buy anything I wanted, to take care of people—and still I wanted more. I thought heroin would give me what I wanted. I had money, drugs, and all the material things money could buy, but I had no son, no family, no love, and no real happiness. I had no purpose in life except addictions. I was soul sick….”

    To shorten a long story, this is where CCV’s Victim Assistance Program stepped in. This woman, who now knows Christ, has broken the downward spiral and is on the road to life. What a blessing to participate with God as He sets captives free. If you would like to help in this ministry contact me by email, carol@ccvmemphis.org or call me at 685-1493.
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    War on Pornography

    The War on Pornography Will Be Won, One Battle at a Time

    By Carol Wiley, Director
    A Way Out Victim Assistance Program
    Sponsored by Citizens for Community Values of Memphis

    Sir Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!” In Galatians 6:9, Paul’s exhortation is, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” These two exhortations are a motivating force for all who are actively involved in the battle to protect children and families from the harms of pornography and the sex-oriented businesses. When the overall battle seems too fierce to win, these words remind us to focus on one battle at a time and to remember that no matter how rich and powerful the porn industry may be each strategic victory is important to winning the war and God is more powerful and resourceful than the porn advocates ever will be. This motivates us to keep fighting and to keep helping young women to walk away from a life of degradation and shame into a life of dignity and success.

    Each time a young woman leaves the topless club scene a strategic battle is won. To date we have helped fifty-nine young women to leave the sex-oriented business and at the present time we have fifteen women actively participating in A Way Out’s Victim Assistance Program.

    Each time the laws that govern sex-oriented businesses are enforced a strategic battle is won. On Sunday, August 26, 2001 a small article appeared in the Commercial Appeal. It reported that an undercover operation was targeting adult-oriented businesses that stay open past midnight. Vice officers arrested the cashier at the Paris Theater on Summer. According to state law, it is illegal to operate an “adult oriented establishment” past midnight . In a follow-up article on August 29th, Major D. A. Betts, assistant commander of the Memphis Police Department said “It is not an undercover operation. We are simply checking to make sure these businesses are following the law and we are enforcing it.” This too is a strategic victory because most laws on the books are broken consistently in the clubs and porn shops. Hopefully this is the first of many such victories.

    As citizens we need to not only voice our disdain when wrong goes unnoticed by those in power, but we also should voice our praise when elected officials and law enforcement steps up to the plate and takes the porn industry to task by making sure they obey the law or pay the consequences. It would be a good thing to write our Police Chief and our District Attorney and let them know as citizens we are behind them and encourage them to keep up the good work.

    The war for our children’s minds and our family’s security is still raging as the porn peddlers seek to entrap parents and children. They aren’t satisfied to entrap the fathers and mothers, but they are constantly targeting our children via the Internet, teen magazines, Abercrombie and Fitch catalogs, etc. Statistics show that the largest audience for pornography is young boys between the age of seven and twelve. Our elected officials and law enforcement can’t win this war alone. WON’T YOU JOIN US IN THE BATTLE TO HELP VICITMS AND TO FIGHT FOR DECENCY AND HIGH MORAL STANDARDS IN OUR CITY?

    To volunteer call 685-1493 or email carol@ccvmemphis.org.
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    One Mentor Shares Her Story

    One Mentor Serving in Citizens for Community Values Victim Assistance Program Shares Her Story

    By Carol Wiley,
    Director of Victim Assistance

    The lifeblood of Citizens for Community Values Victim Assistance Program is the women who volunteer to mentor the victims leaving the sex-oriented businesses. These women wear different hats, depending on the need, such as role model, surrogate mom, babysitter, surrogate grandmother, disciple maker, friend, and/or advisor. The amount of time they devote to the woman they are mentoring varies. This is worked out between the victim and her mentor as they prioritize the victims needs, and take into account the mentor’s family priorities and individual commitments. Mentors are encouraged to keep their priorities in order because this is a life lesson in and of itself for the victims. The mentors and the victim assistance director back each other up to make sure the victim’s needs and emergencies are met.

    Here is the heart of one of our mentor’s expressed in her own words.

    “From the sidelines, I watched a good friend of mine mentor several young dancers, wanting to leave the night club industry. I had never thought much about the “gentlemen’s clubs” in town, but through my friend I saw the real faces, of the people who suffered, behind these disgraceful and humiliating businesses. I learned their personal stories. Virtually all of their histories were very sad, either because of the effect of growing up in dysfunctional families, or due to the poor choices made very early in their lives. Furthermore, to hear the extent of what goes on in the strip clubs that I routinely drive by repulsed me. I would bet the general public has no idea what kind of sex and violence surrounds these Memphis establishments. I felt my friend was doing meaningful hands-on work, the work that others might feel they hadn’t the right gifts to do.

    “After many months, I decided to try, like my friend, to reach out to another human being, a woman not that unlike myself, with similar hopes and dreams for her life. I found that while it is easy to serve someone I know and love, ministering to a stranger, that I might even be a little afraid of, did not seem particularly natural or comfortable. Yet God has shown me, as I trusted He would show me how to love and serve someone in a seemingly hopeless situation, even though I may not receive the thanks that I so often have come to expect when I accept a big responsibility.

    “The lives of these young women are not neat or clean or predictable. They aren’t hanging around waiting for us to “fix” them. But the women that I’ve know personally, who made the decision to get out of the sex industry in Memphis, the ones that I have loved, encouraged and supported, have been like tiny flower buds. They have been closed so tightly for so long. Their petals have been hidden from the sun. If I can show them the light and warmth that I know in Jesus Christ, these little buds can come out of the darkness, into the light, and be cared for, and bloom. They will grow and so will I. (John 1:9—The true light that give light to every man was coming into the world)”

    Join us in the wonderful ministry of pointing victims in darkness to freedom in the light. Call me, Carol Wiley at (901) 685-1493 or email me carol@ccvmemphis.org.

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