Guest Post by Brady Shuert
I found myself sitting with several other guys that Tuesday evening. They were all from my church. None of them I knew well, but we shared a lot; our commonalities ran deep. We all wanted a different kind of life, better than what we were experiencing. We sought consistency between our spiritual beliefs and our practical lives.
But what an uncomfortable place to sit. I could listen to their stories, but could I share my own? How could I admit I was a pornographer? I may not have produced it, but I consumed it, often with abandon.
Like so many, I had fallen captive to pornography and other activities of sexual impurity. Neither the church nor its leaders are immune; two pastors have counseled me from their own experience.
My story is a common one, as I found out that Tuesday evening.
During my 25 years of viewing pornography (my first exposure was at a friend’s middle school birthday party) I never contemplated where all those pictures came from or who all those women were. At first it was quite obvious, the pictures came from a magazine and undoubtedly the models signed waivers. But later, magazines became Internet sites, and truly, it’s hard to tell where (or how) the pictures originated.
Around the same time that I started meeting with other men who had similar stories to mine, I had become aware of modern-day slavery. Then one day I had an epiphany of sorts, one which has been confirmed again and again. The pictures that I had consumed with such an insatiable appetite did not have voluntary subjects, but slaves. I know it! These women looked happy, but—and I’m positive about this—many were there against their will.
I could not continue to sit idly by when a market I had perpetuated continued to traumatize so many. That was the true epiphany. I had to act!
It’s been years now since I started meeting with that group of men regularly, and since that first Tuesday night, where I now minister as well. In the last 19 months I have responded to my epiphany by founding a nonprofit to engage the public in ending slavery. It is just getting off the ground.
I can stop my demand, but that is only part of it. We must work together to bring an end to the entire activity. What part will you play? If my story is a version of your own story, find a group to become involved in. This is vital! Stop your own demand for sex slaves. Once you’ve started … learn more about the issues. You’re already doing that. You’re reading this blog after all. You could donate money to the cause; that is sorely needed, but don’t stop there. Volunteer your time. Change your career! Become an advocate for the cause, engaging those around you to stop their demand and join the movement to end slavery!
Brady was raised in a house centered on God. Although church was a constant in his life, so was his struggle with what became a sexual addiction. Brady has helped start several churches and has worked with many nonprofits. Currently he is the founder and president of Epiphany, an organization fighting slavery through public engagement. He is a husband of 15 years and a father of two children.
www.facebook.com/epiphanycorp, twitter: @bshuert