Expose The Harm is a space for you to tell your story, safely and anonymously, of how pornography has harmed you. By collecting these stories we can show the scale of the problem and the urgent need to fight it. Thank you for being part of that fight.

Adam

Until my partner held up a mirror to what I was doing, I have to admit that porn had ruined my definition of how I related to women and to myself. It put me in the position of being an outsider. I didn’t cultivate meaningful or loving relationships because I was too invested in my use of porn – which I now appreciate was an addiction. Even when in previous relationships, I wasn’t invested in them fully as I had a sexualised view of the world. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone as the cycle of self loathing has damaged my own view of myself and I have lived a life in shame. I haven’t been present in my relationships either and this is the most harmful aspect. I am now porn free though and am grateful. Porn is just abusive for everyone involved.

Julia

When I was at Uni a male friend came over to study. He said he wanted to show me something on his laptop. It was porn – degrading to women type of porn – and I didn’t know what to do. I’d never seen it before and I froze. He said it was funny & I agreed out of… politeness?… or a wish not to look like a prude? I never mentioned it again with him but I was spooked – why would he have shown me something so violent and degrading without any prior discussion?

David

[Please note; this story may be triggering. Please read with caution. Includes mentions of explicit imagery]

I developed a serious stocking fetish when young (from age 12) and used pornography to feed it. Ridiculous as it sounds I got angry with women for preferring to wear tights to the extent that I decided I would rather have porn with fantasy women in stockings than actual women. In this way I became what would nowadays be called an incel. I also got into secret cross dressing though I didn’t persist with that for long. My sex life was basically ruined and I didn’t lose my virginity until age 30 (by some miracle). Even after that my porn habit continued on and off and caused serious damage to my sex life (in the usual way, ie being caught using porn by my partner) I also got interested in the BDSM side of porn, especially women in stockings getting caned (or caning men). Nowadays though not entirely over it I have a different view – I’m pro feminist and appreciate the female view of the world. I’m actually glad women don’t have to wear that stuff any more but dress to please themselves rather than the porn-influenced male gaze. I also have a better understanding of the abusive nature of the porn industry in general, due to reading feminist writers.

S

My partner is a recovering porn addict. For the first 4 years of our relationship I did not know. One day he came to me crying and confiding to me that he felt that he had a porn addiction. What followed and what has been my life the past 2.5 years has been unimaginable. My partner had suppressed all of his childhood trauma. Before, he would claim that he had the perfect childhood. Come to find out, he was using his addiction as a coping mechanism to cover the deep pain he had felt. Also attached to his addiction is an intense fixation to his fetish that developed because of related trauma that happened to him as a child. He’s realized that the fetish is not a desire, it’s a way for him to “control” the terrible things that have happened to him. Along the way to finding out all of this in the process, our relationship has been nearly destroyed. I have experienced symptoms of PTSD for over a year, hair loss, full body breakouts, insomnia, anxiety, depression, body pain, digestive illness, panic attacks, and more since discovering my partners addiction and navigating recovery. I did not leave my apartment for 8 months due to the overwhelming anxiety of being around other people due to my partners severe objectification of others. Finding out all of the truth to the many lies I had experienced during our relationship was difficult. His addiction to pornography staring when he was 11 groomed him not look at people as humans but as objects, body parts, and disposable. He was not present with me in our relationship even though from the outside it seemed that way. There was always something that felt off. Our sexual chemistry was always high, but most of the time he would panic internally (without me knowing) and think that he had to perform a certain way like people in porn videos do. He would watch porn before and after our sexual interactions. He would not be able to sustain during sexual experiences because it was too intimate. Porn was voyeuristic and a way for him to be disconnected. Porn had stolen so much from my partner and his childhood had stolen so much from him that he was numbed to feelings. Being present in his body. Porn stole both of our self worth. After learning about all the details of his addiction it has been difficult to not see people and the world through the lens that porn has on society. I know that porn is harmful because of the soul crushing journey my partner went on was he was 11 and the journey I went on with him 2.5 years ago. With him being 17 months sober I am with the person I thought I committed myself to. Intimacy, connection, feelings, empathy, joy have been able to have space in our lives because porn is no longer a part of the picture.

Jennifer

My first husband had been involved with pornography from teenage years. His addiction grew and as time went on he got to the point of molesting our daughter. I took the kids and started a new life for us. Later I remarried a great man, who also had struggled with pornography addiction. We had an amazing life, or so I thought. He secretly had been still looking or using pornography and got arrested in 2019. His use of pornography had morphed into including illegal pornography. It was devastating. He is home now, after two years, and getting help. He has gone through treatment, goes to group and has counseling.
Pornography has been a struggle for our sons and I wish the world could see it for how devastating it really is. We all hate it. It is full of lies and distortions of what real intimate relationships should be. It teaches our youth that rape and assault are normal sexual acts. It degrades women. It disrupts all that is good about our human experiences on this earth and it needs to be stopped. Please help. Listen to Gail Dines. Watch Brain Heart World. Read Wired for Intimacy or Fight for Love. Pray that we will find a way to help our youth, our families, the wives, the children involved in all of this.

Alice

I was exposed to it when I was six years old. I don’t even remember how, I just remember getting some and watching it. That one video set off a chain reaction that affects me even now, I’m stuck in a cycle of watching it or reading it.

“Hentai” especially effects me. I don’t know why but it does. It is now to the point that I can’t even watch “real” porn anymore, because it just isn’t as appealing.
I see cartoons now as sexual, which I wish I didn’t. It’s hard to want to watch something with friends when all you can think about is when I’ll get to watch porn again.

I’m 15 now. From the age of 6, I’ve been struggling with this to little to no help.
My mom caught me when I was 8, but never got me into counseling, just screamed at me and took away the internet for 6 months.

This mishandling of my addiction only caused it to be worse. It was taboo, so I wanted it. I just got more sneaky about it.

L

When I was 14 my father was arrested for watching child pornography. Social services told me that based on his online activity, which included teen incest fantasies, I was at risk. He defended himself by saying that he’d just been watching “normal” porn at first and got in with a “bad crowd,” talking about it as if it was something that had happened to him passively, and not something he was actively responsible for. He didn’t apologise or seem to think I deserved any explanation; all he was interested in was painting himself as a victim in the whole situation and making sure everyone believed him. I was told there were 5,000 images but he never faced any legal consequences except the arrest. At first I occasionally kept in touch with him, thinking maybe he’d just made a mistake, but as I got older I realised the harms of pornography and that even if he hadn’t known for a fact that the girls were underage, he’d still behaved repulsively, and at 16 I eventually cut off all contact with him. Unfortunately, he had been my least abusive parent, so overall my life got worse. I hadn’t even known that child pornography existed before his arrest, and I resent that I had to learn such horrible details at a young age. Social services had also told me that the girls in the images “looked like me,” and now whenever I meet a women who looks like me I am reminded of his collection and can’t help but wonder if she was abused and part of it. I wonder if those girls are alive today and where they are and what their side of the story is. I resent that he never apologised or made any indication that he would actually stop. I hate knowing that he’s still out there, and that apart from my cutting him off, he faced no consequences.

Chris

I was exposed to pornography in my early teens, and it quickly became a habit for me to escape from the difficulties of teenage and then young adult life (with emotionally distanced/challenging parents). I didn’t know any differently and couldn’t understand how other people could get through life without such an escape.

I was in a relationship from the age of 16 and kept my porn use hidden due to my intense shame and compartmentalisation of it. It was a barrier in our relationship for many years obstructing intimacy – and inevitably with high negative impacts on my partner.

Eventually my porn use escalated as it inevitably does, to include webcams, dating sites, paid sex, and same-sex encounters (opposite to my sexuality). It became an unbearable and uncontrollable hidden life that I couldn’t escape from.

I have worked with therapists and 12 step programmes since 2014, and in 2018 was able to reach long-term sobriety which has lasted until now. With a full disclosure to my partner along the way and subsequent rebuilding, I was able to start building up intimacy and honesty into life and escape from shame.

Now, four years later, I have been de-centred in life and felt the familiar urges of my addiction return, as if nothing had happened in the last four years. I found this site while looking for recovery resources to get back on track rather than take a step I would deeply regret down to me very core.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share my story. Porn and sex is an insidious addiction that will separate you from a full life and intimacy and hold you back in shame. There is a way out which requires a lot of effort, soul searching, humility, and probably even some desperation. But if you can take those steps then you will open up a life you only dreamed of before.

S

I was first exposed to pornography around age twelve or thirteen by a girl I had a crush on. She laughed at me for never having seen any, and showed me a woman being tricked into sex and visibly uncomfortable and in pain. Many boys in my class at the time also watched porn, and would show it to us and laugh at our reactions, especially if we were uncomfortable. It left me terrified of sex for years and led to behaviours of sexual self-harm during my early adulthood. I let men do things to me I didn’t want because it seemed normal and expected. It also crept into my first relationship with a woman and made our sex life very stilted and uncomfortable, she liked porn and I was still in a bad mindset towards sex, and neither of us had an idea how to connect to our own and each other’s body.
I am doing and feeling better now. For anyone else who has been harmed by exposure to porn, I want you to know that healing is possible, even if it’s difficult, and that you aren’t alone.

Robert

I first discovered porn when I was 11 years old and I have missed out on life from an addiction to it. Porn was an escape for me when I was first watching it, but masturbating recreationally turned into an addiction later on in life. All throughout high school, my testosterone was severely drained and this took a huge toll on my behavior: I wasn’t what women want, I’m still not. I have such a lack of testosterone, and it killed my confidence being rejected by women who didn’t think I was masculine enough. And let’s face it, what kind of girl wants a giggly, weak, unassertive, passive, and emasculate guy as a partner?

I only learned as an adult that so many women in my HS thought I was handsome… but they also thought I was gay because to them I wasn’t manly, and I don’t blame them because looking back on that time, I wasn’t. I was so drained of testosterone from my porn addiction and compulsive masturbation 5 times the night prior and I never had a relationship; I just had porn on my computer waiting for me at the end of the day. It continued on into college, I wasn’t able to get a woman and started growing really depressed and discouraged from trying to find a relationship. There was even a girl I met around that time I was crazy about who I genuinely felt like I would have done anything to be with, but the porn addiction was too strong and she eventually lost interest in me. I was bland. I wasn’t spicy or romantic or flirtatious or bold like how women want men to be. I was drained, emasculated, and with a problem that clung to me.

I grew very depressed and entered into a very dark stage: I was very antisocial and even tried to persuade myself that I was asexual because I was in denial about my incompetence. I also became very misogynistic and grew very angry at women thinking they were all objects with no feelings and only wanting money and will do anything for money at the expense of their own dignity. I stayed away from women for years fearing they wanted my money and before long I woke up one day in my late 20s realizing I wasted so much time avoiding women because of this disgusting perception that porn and the sex-industry had planted in my head.

I met a girl recently, and I’m trying so hard to be everything that she deserves and desires. However, this addiction is causing her to slip through my fingers.

My only regret was that I couldn’t make the changes in my life when I was still younger when I still had more energy. I regret so badly not taking chances with ladies when I had them in the palm of my hands because I was angry at them, or I was so depleted of confidence/desire.

Anna

I am a Brazilian lady, groomed by a so called “Christian man” a wolf on sheeps clothing. cutting long story short, after a 6 month real face to face dating in the UK, he porposed and as in love got married straight away. He then confesses he was a porn addicted which I found true by accidentally opende his ipode to listen to musec while cleaning up and there was PornHug and young people naked displayed. i was alone in the UK, married a unatic who soon choked me on the 11th Jan2015. I denouced itto the police which dismissed it as lack of proof.

[The below submission has been edited to preserve anonymity, relevance or clarity.]

Anonymous

I became addicted to viewing porn. The term addiction may seem like a way of letting myself off the hook for my own failings. It may seem like an exaggeration- but I couldn’t stop. I tried to. I found it impossible. The trigger of seeing any pornagraphic image would send me off into obsessive, secretive, out of control viewing again. It was often not about sexual relief it was just a numbing and futile experience. In the end (before I got help through SAA) I was averaging over 6 hours of viewing a day. It was utterly destroying my life. Nothing satisfied and it all became more and extreme and unpleasant. I kept trying to stop but I couldn’t. It was an obsession and values I thought I had were changed by it. The dopamine hit of engaging with porn was so deeply conditioned into my life that it became very difficult to experience joy elsewhere.
I have experienced a huge and welcome change since I stopped looking at any porn. Very soon after I stepped away from it all I began to feel better and also to recognise the terrible harm the industry does to those (often) trapped within it. Women in particular are far too often brutalised not just on camera but across their experience of being in the industry. Many of us look the other way and pretend it’s not causing the dreadful harm it so clearly is.
I am so grateful to have stopped.

C.A.

My husband became addicted to online pornography which became so profound an obsession that it led to job loss, and losing everything else . A family man with a wife and children who became a different person entirely. I hope one day it is researched and shown to be as addictive as heroin or gambling . I’m divorced after the porn addiction led to acting out in real time losing all interest in his family. Devastating.

KC

I used to have a lot of casual sex and one night stands. I cant anymore though. As mainstream porn gets more violent men get more violent. I cant go to bed with a man without him strangling me. (without even asking) One guy even stuck both his thumbs in my rear so he could pull it apart and gaze inside. (again without asking!) Is that sex? I dont know how to tell people it didnt used to be like this. 10-15 years ago sex was fun. Im honestly scared for future women and girls.

Corrine

I was in my mid 20s when I was dating someone I thought was the perfect guy. About a year in he got terribly addicted to pornography. I thought of myself as a very liberated Cool Girl back then so I didnt see the problem for a long time. (I was using porn too and I didnt have a problem) Our sex life totally dried up. After spending all his free time masturbating he couldnt perform in bed. I was so in love I convinced myself I didnt mind. But the inability to perform made him mean. He started to tell me the problem was I was so boring in bed so I begged him to tell me what to do. (He told me to figure it out.) He resented me for coming home because it meant he would have to stop watching porn and talk to me. That made him meaner. When a stranger called me a whore he agreed with them. It escalated at some point to constant emotional abuse and manipulation. Eventually he left me because in his own words he just wanted to have sex with other people. Porn ruined our relationship.

Chas

It all started when I went with a colleague to work away from home for a short time. He took me to a ‘Private Shop’ where he bought something and encouraged me to do the same. I declined but later returned alone and bought a mild porno book. Later I picked up an abandoned ‘Health and Efficiency’ magazine, which led me to buy top-shelf magazines from newsagents and then to send away for harder materials. With the advent of the internet, I started searching for things. I never really liked them but felt compelled to search for harder and harder sites, even though I knew it was wrong and risked destroying my marriage and family life. I went to great lengths to cover my tracks. I never told my family – they would be too badly hurt for me to allow that to happen. Finally I asked God for help (I had always been a baptised Christian believer) and found forgiveness and the strength to stop, hopefully for good. I now sometimes sing to myself the song I learned in childhood: ‘It is no secret, What God can do.’ Thank you for the opportunity to tell someone.

Alfie

[Please note; this story may be triggering. Please read with caution. TWs include: mentioning of rape]

The trauma that pornography has inflicted upon my life is too plentiful to go into in one short message – but one thing I recalled recently (a flashback completely out of nowhere) was happening upon a video of two women being raped on a mainstream porn site. I can’t describe my feelings at the time – it’s almost as if they’re locked away.

I have so much anger in me (on the surface of things, over stupid, superficial stuff) and have found myself wondering how much of it has come from this one experience that I still feel numb about to this day.

Whilst I suspect that a video like this probably wouldn’t crop up on a mainstream site nowadays, I feel angry when I consider that any 13-year-old (or much younger) can still access any kind of pornography at the click of a button.

Katie

When I was in my 30s and seven months pregnant with our first baby I stumbled upon a porn site while looking for something else on my husband’s computer. The site was called Seventeen implying very young women/girls. My husband was my soul mate but had never mentioned this to me. I was devastated, partly due to the secrecy, partly because he was essentially using vulnerable girls. I told him and he said he was sorry and would tell me if he wanted to return to it but I could not get over it. I tried not to raise it with him again, but it stayed like a wedge in our relationship. Recently, 20 plus years later our second son brought his 17 year old girlfriend to meet us and it brought the porn use back to the front of my mind. I asked if he had used it since and he had. Told me which web site and I looked at it (YouPorn). It was women categorised as milf, teen, lesbian, ebony, big tits, like products in a shop. Women being humiliated all over this mainstream site. This whole massive issue has almost destroyed the lovely true partnership we began with. He is still my husband and loves me, I like being with him too, I like most of him but have lost much of my respect and trust for him. It is so sad for both of us. We are changed by this issue. I have had years of depression and anxiety which I am sure has not been helped by feeling I don’t entirely know this man who used to be my best friend but became someone I wasn’t sure I could trust and who seemed happy to access resources that may be abusing young women.

Jane

I was 13 years old when I was first exposed to porn online. Led by curiosity, it wasn’t long before I found myself consuming increasingly graphic porn that was violent and degrading towards women. Porn taught me that I existed solely for male pleasure. My innocent childhood fantasies about what it meant to be in a loving relationship evaporated and were replaced by toxic beliefs that my value lay in my sexual availability. Not only that, but porn had normalised male domination and control to such an extent that not only was I completely blind to its dangers, but I was actually drawn to it. BDSM porn had taught me that coercion, control and domination/submission were not dangerous, but exciting. The vulnerability this created in me, the loss of childhood years that should have been filled with joy and deep connection with my family, and the negative impacts on my self worth and sense of safety in the world is something it has taken me years to recognise and when I did, it hit me like a ton of bricks. All the nights that I had spent crippled by anxiety, self-loathing and depression, all the times where I had crossed my own moral boundaries and the relationships where I been unable to see unhealthy patterns and behaviours were the fault of porn.

In addition to creating vulnerability and impacting the way I behaved, porn made my thought life almost unbearable. Intrusive, objectifiying thoughts about others and hateful, unkind thoughts about myself plagued me, no matter how hard I tried to will them away.

With porn creating a dopamine-filled escape for me, I withdrew from my family, avoided dealing with complex emotions, and ultimately lost the opportunity to develop emotional resilience as I should have in those crucial, developmental years. I believe that porn traumatised me and damaged my brain, and my battle with depression and anxiety continues over a decade later.

At the time, I knew that something was deeply wrong, but I was blind to the role porn had to play in my declining mental health and wellbeing. The inability to understand why I wasn’t ok only added to my despair, and my strongest memories of that time are of consecutive nights spent crying myself to sleep, and hoping that somehow I wouldn’t wake up.

I’ve been free from porn for a decade of my life now, but there are layers of damage that I am still uncovering. I’m terrified at the digital landscape that faces young people today, and the ever escalating levels of violence in porn. I hope my story can play some small part in compelling those with influence to change the story for the children across the world who desperately need protection from the threat porn poses to their lives.

M

When I starting looking at pornography on the internet in the late 1990s I quickly became hooked, at the time I was a young teenager. I was completely unprepared for what I was looking at – it felt thrilling, curious, exciting but it was also shocking and actually with hindsight it was actually quite traumatic. It was a problem that grew out of control over a 20 year period and I would watch pornography and masturbate to it 1, 2, 3 or more times a day. It was out of control. It became a secret I had to keep hidden from everyone – my family, my friends and later on my wife. At a young age I was exposed to indecent images of children on the internet through chat rooms. I didn’t ask for these images but it tapped into a natural curiosity at that age. I didn’t know what my problem was – I just assumed that this is what everyone did – everyone must have a secret like this? But my self-esteem suffered, my sense of self worth suffered. I was so ashamed of myself but didn’t know how to get out of this trap. I got to the point where I gave up trying to fight the addiction and just went with it. Obviously, things got worse – my use got more extreme and risky.

Nearly 20 years after getting addicted to pornography I was arrested for viewing indecent images of children. I lost my career, family members, my standing in the local community, large amounts of savings. It is now very difficult for me to find meaningful employment. I have some very restrictive conditions enforced by the courts and police.

Once I was arrested I asked – for the first time in my life – why? Why was I doing this? It was only then that I began to explore the reasons and I found out that I had an addiction. This started a journey where I received therapy, counselling, psycho-education and peer support. I’ve been in recovery from pornography addiction ever since and I want to share this story because so many will ‘sleep walk’ into huge life crises because they didn’t know they had an addiction and didn’t know where to turn / where to get help.

I consider myself to be a normal / ordinary person. I am married (my married survived thank goodness), with a young family. I was in a professional job prior to my arrest.

All people – especially young people – need to know the dangers of internet pornography / cyber sex. Not only is it highly addictive, but it warps perceptions of sex and intimacy. I’m sharing my story because I don’t want anyone to end up in the position I have, but sadly I don’t see that enough is being done by governments or educationalists to prevent what I believe is a secret epidemic in our society. We must speak up.

K

My husband was exposed to a lot of deviant (and illegal) porn as a child and through his tween and teen years. He became a porn addict really young but quit when he realized how harmful and wrong it all was in his older teens.
He was deeply traumatized by it. It allowed him to be groomed by adults into a plethora of harmful, sexually sadistic actions. He came to devalue and objectify himself, thinking he was only good to be used by other people. He tried to kill himself more than once.
Years later, he still has upsetting flashbacks and reactions, and normal activities he cannot do or finds deeply distressing, like petting a dog, for example, or some tv shows. Being around children upsets him because he worries they’re being groomed the way he was.
When our child was born, my husband suffered a psychotic break. His past loomed large in his delusions; he thought there was a group of pedophiles stalking us, and he had to protect us from them, or our child would be taken.
His past with pornography has been a significant stressor in both our lives. We’re finally to a place where most of our days feel “normal”, but we’ve come a long way. There was a time we couldn’t even go to the grocery store without issue. Because he was an unsupervised child, he was easy pickings for predators, and porn just made the whole process easier.

Victoria

I am a victim of nonconsensual pornography. I now have PTSD and depression. I was suicidal. It ruined my life. Pornhub is the cause of my ongoing exploitation and will not remove the content. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook and all of the other platforms have also played a role in my exploitation and refuse to remove the naked images, fake profiles, etc. associated with my abuse and bullying by my abuser and other predators.

N

My 11 year old son became very withdrawn and quiet last year for several weeks. I asked many times if he was doing ok, imagining that friendship issues or school worries could be to blame. Eventually one evening as I said goodnight he started crying and explained that he had been incredibly scared and upset by something that he had seen online. He loves researching laptops and gaming kit and had been hunting for info about the new “X” box when an upsetting sexually graphic image popped up on his screen. We talked it through and I was at pains to reassure him that he was ok and that the content was fictional. No one was really being hurt and that this was not what a loving relationship looked like in real life. He thought that “he” had done something wrong and seemed genuinely very scared. The content of that image had impacted on him massively, so much so that he wouldn’t describe it to me fully. A few months earlier I read the chapter on boys and porn in Glennon Doyle’s book “untamed”, and was impressed by her powerful argument for not leaving our boys alone to navigate this content because we are embarrassed or uneasy about discussing it pro actively. Emboldened by the case she made I spoke to my son at that time about the existence of porn before he came across the content himself. I do think that having that advance conversation helped him to admit what had happened sooner and own up to how scared he was. We had already established a framework for being open about it and he knew that it was not taboo.
My internet filters are locked down tightly so I was still very confused, about how this content appeared, but he went on to explain that it happened at his dads house where he stays every other weekend. Despite repeated requests on my part, his dad had left his internet content filters wide open. Only this incident persuaded him that he needed to lock them down to protect our son and his younger sister. A year on I now check in with my son regularly. Just yesterday the two of us were driving along when the radio mentioned misogyny in porn and I let the report play. When it ended I asked if he or any of his friendship group had been exposed to porn since our last chat. I am aware that on phones with 4g internet access he could be shown anything at any time so I want his channel of dialogue with me to be just as freely available as that.

Anthony

A year ago my daughter informed me she wanted to live with me as her mother was neglecting her. She is eleven years old and was ten at the time. She also informed me she had access to porn at home and was watching it and the mother new. Our daughter asked she put parental controls on her laptop but the mother ignored this. I was asked by our daughter to act on her behalf. She also informed me she had been drawing rape related images and seemed to know what rape was. Unfortunately my experience has failed our daughter, empowered an abuser and damaged mine and my daughters relationship. First I contacted the school and I was told the only time they get involved is if the child comes and tells them directly. (This is ridiculous what child would tell something so personal to a stranger) the school should have listened to me and acted in my opinion. I contacted social services who said this is a family court matter and not something they get involved in. When I explained that yet another government body was failing our child I was spoken to like I was the problem. I contacted the police who told me it was not a police matter. In the end I contacted the courts and applied for custody on request of our daughter. However, the court process insisted on my given the mother six months notice in writing of all aspects of the allegation so by the time it got to a first court hearing she had coerced our daughter into saying it’s all made up. I am awaiting a second court appearance after a section 7 being completed by Cafcass. The Cafcass officer phoned me the other day. Before I even spoke she had attitude. I was greeted with uncomfortable silence and treated like the enemy. Cafcass have 950 one star review online, men and women stating they’re arrogant, under-skilled, lie and are incompetent. They have even been asked by the parliamentary ombudsman to pay compensation for these very reasons yet our courts describe them as experts! My daughter came to me in trust. She is now angry at me and backtracking on what she told me even though my adult son confirms it all true. The system has now betrayed our daughter and taught her that when you speak out about abuse you get ignored. And it’s taught me that the system is set up to show disbelief in our children and to protect the mother over the child! Willingly allowing a child access to porn and not putting preventative measures in place in my untrained opinion is sexual abuse. More needs to be done to reform the departments that are supposed to be here to defend our children against abuse and porn and this mindset that mothers can do no wrong needs challenging as does the blatant and unchallenged bias Cafcass often show. The mother has current blocked access to our child.

Jack

I first came across pornography aged 11-12. My friend told me about this film that was only 15 rated, but had naked ladies . This made me curious. I then went home and tried to find it myself. What I stumbled across was an online world of pornography that I was in awe of, it was like some special under-world that I had come across. Some of the things that I saw made me excited, yet others shocked and disgusted me and made me feel almost sick. Yet as I explored this world more and more, I found that the things that first made me gasp in shock and disbelief slowly started to become attractive and sexually stimulating. Eventually, this same content became the only thing that would ‘do the job’ for me.

By the time I was 16 it was a part of my life almost daily. I hid this part of my life from others, and whilst I would joke with friends at school and church about the issue, I would never disclose how much porn I watched, and the way in which I felt I almost ‘needed’ it to function and to cope with my feelings and as a comfort. Eventually by around age 18 I realised it might be a problem when I realised, I had to use it to comfort myself and without it I would become angry and frustrated. This soothing use made me feel worse with the shame that it created that I couldn’t get a girlfriend and had to use this stuff just to function. This I learnt, was the fault of pornography. This led to depression as my self-esteem was brought so low that I felt that I had no worth as a human.

So I decided to actively try and stop. But I found that I could not. Having started watching pornography at such a young age, it felt as though it had become ingrained as a learnt behaviour that I couldn’t seem to shake. Pornography had become a coping mechanism that I needed to function when I felt low but would just make those feelings worse. Worst of all, I realised that my attitude of women had changed. I felt that it was my right to touch women and initiate ‘touching’ even non-consensually. This made me reach a real low where I discovered that this wasn’t what girls wanted, but it was the only way I knew how to ‘talk’ to girls.

Since my first exposure to pornography, it took me over 10 years to rid myself of porn use. It’s effect on me, my mental health and attitude to women has ruined my life as a teenager and young adult and still deeply affects these aspects of my life to this day.

Sarah

When I was growing up (16-18yrs), it was found out that the boys in our area had created a private Facebook group, literally with hundreds of boys in it, sharing intimate images of their girlfriends or girls in the area, all without their knowledge or consent. Many of these girls were underage. It was like they were swapping collectible cards or something and used as a bonding experience between them, at our expense. It was like they didn’t even view us as human. I got quite depressed after hearing about this and it made me very afraid of men. It was disgusting that this was happening and that so many boys were involved – it was so normal to them and exposes just how embedded this culture is. I think growing up with pornography had completely de-sensitized them and re-wired them to see women as objects to be exploited. Alot of the girls who were exposed never fully recovered. They either moved away or became much quieter/smaller versions of themselves.