Sexual Exploitation- Practical Ways To Fight Misappropriation of Influence: Today, we have special guest, Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. In this episode, we are discussing how we can play a huge part in protecting against sexual exploitation. Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date: 06/13/2018
Guest: Haley Halverson
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
David Barton is with us. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Bardens with us. He’s a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.
Be sure and visit our websites today. You can learn more about the radio program at WallBuildersLive.com. You can also share episodes of the program from that website, you can listen to previous programs over the last few weeks by clicking on that archives section.
And then over at WallBuilders.com, our main website, you can download articles, you can get educated about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the Declaration. You can learn about the principles that made the country great and then learn how to be a great citizen in preserving those principles. So, check out WallBuilders.com today.
David, Tim, that intersection of faith and the culture, those hot topics in the culture and the things that are happening out there are what we want to talk about today. It’s a topic that, unfortunately, some people aren’t even willing to address, but it’s going to end in some good news today along with some action steps.
It really goes back to something the Bible teaches as a principle is a lot of times the things that we consider to be small are really pretty big things. We’re told that a little leaven leavens the whole loaf. In other words, a little bit that you contaminate with grows into a huge contamination. And I was thinking even in James 3 where it says, “The horse is a really big animal, but you put a really small bit into their mouth and you can make that huge animal obey you and turn the whole animal, go where you want.” So, here I am at 140 pounds, I can make a twelve hundred pound horse do what I want if I put a little bit in his mouth.
Little Things Can Have Huge Consequences
Well, my boat’s even bigger than your horse.
And my little bitty rudder–
I think there is more in James even than that horse, right. Yeah.
Well, the rudder on the ship–
Obviously, James is referencing the tongue which is a little thing, but it has so much power. But he references that you can control a horse with a bit, you can control a massive ship with a little bitty rudder–
That’s where he goes by saying, “Hey, a forest is set on fire by a little spark.” And he said, “That’s what the tongue is. It’s like the rudder on a ship is small it’s like a spark that sets a whole forest aflame. It’s a little thing, but it has huge consequences.
Well, I was reminded in the same way of something that Jesus said back over in Matthew. And in Matthew Jesus talks about this and in Matthew 6 He says, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” Think how small the eye is compared to everything in the body. He said, “But it’s the lamp of the body.” He said, “If your eye is healthy your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes bad your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.” So, Jesus is saying, “Hey, the eye is just a little bitty part of your body, but it really controls everything that goes on in you – kind of like the tongue.
The Dirty Dozen List
And so I got to thinking about that and what we’re going to look at today is the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has what they call the dirty dozen list. The people that make the dirty dozen list are organizations or corporations that do things like promote pornography or sexual exploitation. Or– it’s just– it could be hotel chains, it could be gaming industries, it could be whatever it is.
And I was thinking about the eye because so much of the sexual exploitation goes through the eyes. That’s where it all starts. So, I was reminded of a Job 31 and how righteous Job was. And Job said, “I’ve made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”, that’s Job 31:1. Then, over in Psalm 103 David said the same thing, “I will set nothing vile and vulgar before my eyes.” And I was thinking the eye is such a little thing, but they’ve made this covenant with their eyes on what they’re going to see because if something gets into your eyes it has an effect on your whole life.
And I was reminded of Ecclesiastes 1:8 where it says, “The eye is not satisfied with seeing.” In other words, that’s why I tell folks, “Hey, if you go window shopping you will buy something eventually because the eye is not satisfied with seeing, you’ll see and think, “I really want that *.”.
So, the same with sexual exploitation. If you can’t keep control of your eyes then it’s going to lead to more. And that’s really what’s significant today and what we’re going to look at is a gaming company called Steam Gaming. It’s one of the largest gaming organizations in America, really in the world for that matter. And they really have done a lot with their gaming, but they put their foot down recently.
They were on the dirty dozen list as one of those that promotes sexual exploitation because of all the graphic sexual nature of what’s in some of their games. So, they said, “Hey, we don’t be on that list anymore. We’re going to put our foot down. We’re going to contact our vendors and say, ‘If you’re making games for us to use and put out there on our platforms you need to get rid of the explicit sexual content.’”
So, that’s a really big piece of news. But it does go back to this thing that if you can control what goes into your eyes it really does make a difference in your behavior, and in the morality of the nation, and everything else. So, this is not a small thing that’s happening. From a biblical standpoint it really is something big.
It has a huge impact on the entire culture, it has an impact on the economy, it has an impact on what the next generation does with their lives. It’s a major, major issue. You’re exactly right, David.
This group, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, that does the research, and then publishes that dirty dozen list and contacts the companies encourages them to change their policies and to get rid of some of the junk and prevent– certainly put the firewalls up to prevent the kids from having access to it. They just do a lot of great work and they’ve had great success at it. Haley Halverson is their vice president of advocacy and outreach and she’s going to be our special guest when we return right here on WallBuilders Live.
Leadership Training Program
Hey, friends! We’ve got a great program to share with you today. It’s the WallBuilders Leadership Training Program and it’s an opportunity for 18 to 25 year olds to come spend two weeks diving into the original documents we’re always talking about here on WallBuilders Live.
Tim, you’ve already been doing this a couple of summers and seen the results of young people coming to this program. We’re going to see more of them coming this year.
Yeah, Rick, it’s something that’s been cool to see the transformation with young people coming in. The emphasis, for us, largely is a pursuit of truth. We have a culture that doesn’t know what truth is. We don’t know what biblical truth is, or constitutional truth, or the American heritage that we have. And so we really dive into original documents and say, “Well, what did they actually write? What did they actually do? Not just what did somebody say, what is actually true, and the truth is what’s transformational.
Yeah, guys. This really is a remarkable opportunity. And for those who want to spend time with us and spend time in the original documents, this is a great program. So, if you’re from 18 to 25, or you know someone who’s 18 to 25, send them to sign up for one of our three sessions this summer at WallBuilders.com/leadershiptraining.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. After the final victory at Yorktown the Continental Army awaited the outcome of peace negotiations with Great Britain.
Pastor Israel Evans, a chaplain in the army, proposed to George Washington that they build a structure where church services can be held during the months of waiting. Washington approved the plan and urges officers to ensure that the soldiers attend that service.
Pastor Evans further knew if we were to secure the liberties they had fought for, sound education would be crucial.
He declared, “Every parent and every friend to the freedom of his country ought to be attentive to the improvement of our youth and the principles of freedom and good government. And then the people will stand fast in their liberty for a long time.” Our schools today need to return to teaching the principles of freedom and good government in order for America to survive and prosper. For more information about Pastor Israel Evans and other colonial Patriots go to WallBuilders.com
Welcome back thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live. Haley Halverson is with us. She’s vice president of the advocacy and outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. And Haley, before we get rolling into our topic today, give out the website so folks can get educated on this issue more.
Absolutely, it’s EndSexualExploitation.org.
Keep the Pressure On
EndSexualExploitation.org. Alright, we’ll have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com to make that one easy. But Haley, we had to get you on. We’re so actually excited about results you guys are getting and your dirty dozen list. We’ve had you all on to talk about that before. It gets resolved. And I am, honestly, I’m very surprised that Steam, this gaming hub I guess, has responded positively and basically said, “Hey, we’re going to require a lot of these games that have major images and even explicit rape and other things on them, we’re not going to allow them on our site anymore.” This is a huge victory.
Yeah, it’s a tremendous victory. This video game website, maybe not everyone is familiar with it, there are approximately 35 million users who are using Steam–
–who are children and teenagers for purchasing and playing their video games. So, it’s really like the Wal-Mart of PC gaming. And we’re very excited. We put Steam on our dirty dozen list, which you can learn more about at DirtyDozenList.com and they’ve made a great improvement.
I will say that we still need people to help on this because after Steam started contacting some of their game developers telling them that they needed to remove sexually graphic content in their games, the gaming community responded and really pressured Steam to not hold gamers accountable in that way. And so now Steam has backed off a little bit and their policies are now really unclear. So, it’s a tremendous victory that they’ve started looking to clean this up at all, but we really need people’s help to keep the pressure on Steam so that they can follow through on this great improvement.
What Do You Do?
Well, you read my mind on the next question then and that was, how do you hold them accountable this or how do you monitor whether or not they’re actually implementing it? And then my question after that was going to be, what can people do? So, you knew exactly where I was going with this. So–
So, excellent. They initial response, fantastic, but now they’ve got the push back and the gamers are saying, “you’re censoring us” and that sort of thing. And you guys made it clear, of course, as a private company they have the right and the responsibility to make sure that they’re making this a safe environment for kids when they’re inviting kids to come give them business.
Yes. It’s tremendously important. We see that with video games. When video games include sexually graphic and degrading themes the users aren’t only voyeurs, but they’re actually actively participating in staging the scene. And there are many games on Steam right now that have entire themes as you said in the beginning surrounding coercive sexual behavior. Such as one game where the entire theme of the game is to intoxicate, blackmail, and deceive, women into having sex with you. So, very important for Steam to make this change.
Wow. So, this is, man I don’t–I was even reading an article recently on in the U.K. where they’re treating pornography addiction and these other things at this clinic and actual acting out and in some of these things that you’re talking about. And that’s what they have said they think that we’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg on this because of these types of games and things. Where it is, you’re first person, you’re in there actually doing these things. And then they– if a kid, we’re talking sometimes 10, 11, 12, 13, year olds at the point of their brain being developed–
The Impact is Hard to Imagine
— and doing these kind of things. The impact of that is hard to even imagine.
Absolutely. And really we’re also at a critical time in our history and the history of technology for us to be taking a big stand on this. Because sexually explicit video games are really just now entering a new renaissance period. The ability with graphics and everything are just now gearing up. And so we’re seeing this potential convergence between pornography and video games where they could really become synonymous. They haven’t yet, so now is the time that we need to be having the mainstream video game companies send a strong message that they don’t want that content on their site.
Haley, what is the best way for parents to respond to this? Because they probably have seen Steam, or seen their kids use Steam to play games, and now that they’re hearing this they’re going, “Wait a minute, you mean on this site Steam where they were just playing this game that– I checked out that one game and it was okay–” But now that they’re in Steam they have access to these things that as you guys have said in your press releases, they’re games in there that promote themes of sexual violence, exhibitionism, rape, child like characters in sexual scenes, this is this is bad stuff. How can parents better monitor that, keep that out of their home, and protect their kids?
Yes, the good news is there is a lot that they can do. So, they can go to DirtyDozenList.com. And if you go there you can click on our Steam project page and we have instructions for first of all how to turn on parental controls on the website. They might not be perfect, but if you have a kid that loves gaming that’s at least one way that you can help keep them safe. And then also on that webpage you can take a positive action by emailing Steam executives. We have a form, you just fill out a few things and you can send an email to Steam asking them to hold true and to have the developers remove sexual content from their games.
The Pressure Works When the Marketplace Speaks Up
Haley, some people may say, “Well, it’s all about the money for these people. My email’s not going to do anything, it’s not going to make a difference.” You guys have gotten incredible results with Hilton, with Wal-Mart, with other major corporations, where– like in Hilton’s case, in fact, we had you all on this issue several years ago when this happened. We didn’t expect them to say “yes” to getting rid of the pornography in their movies and whatnot in the rooms. We thought, “That’s it that’s too much money to them. They’re not going to.” And they did. The pressure worked the Marketplace spoke up and corporations will respond to this. That’s been your experience, right?
Yes absolutely. And with the case of Hilton Worldwide who they removed On-Demand pornographic films from their guestrooms. They even contacted us and said that they were receiving a thousand e-mails a week at one point from our supporters. That’s from the horse’s mouth, these e-mails do get noticed, and they do make a difference, and it can have a tremendously powerful impact. With Hilton, we got Hilton to remove pornography and then after them we were able to get InterContinental Hotels Group, and Starwood, and Hyatt Hotels, to remove pornography as well. So, these e-mails absolutely do make an impact and we really encourage people to take part.
And y’all have gotten very specific on this with Steam. I’ve got your page pulled up right now, you’ve got recommended policy and platform improvements that would protect children on this. So, you’re not just asking parents to just make up an e-mail as they go, you’re really guiding. And when I say “parents”, everyone out there listening right now–
— needs to be sending these e-mails in and getting this change because this affects everyone. You’re talking about a generation that if raised with this mindset every bad category of crime, and marriage problems, and everything that we can think of, goes up. That’s the real impact of this. We could get into all the details if we had time and we don’t, but there’s no question – the science is there, the data is there, the research is there. We need to put an end to this. And so you guys have done a great job of really setting out a clear way for people to help.
What Do We Want to See?
So, again, the website to go to is DirtyDozenList.com. And then you’ve got a list of companies that you guys are monitoring right now and have campaigns on. So, if you go down that list then click on Steam. There are several other companies you guys are monitoring as well, we should be working on that one as well. But for today we’ll focus on Steam and what this is doing to the kids. Haley, what would be a good way for us to– I guess define victory here. So, what do we really want to see Steam respond with?
Well, we would love for them to– So, they’ve reached out to some developers asking them to remove the sexual content. We want them to now send that same message to all game developers. Not only a few – we want it to go to the very big and popular video games that all the kids are playing these days. So, that’s what we want.
Alright, alright. Good stuff. Listeners, you’ve got some action items there. We’re going to have links at our website today to make it easy for you to do this. It’s hugely important. Haley, can’t thank you enough. Thank you all for what you do. You’re at the forefront of this and on the front lines and we’re deeply thankful for what you’re doing.
Well, thank you so much. Your help makes the difference.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Haley Halverson for being with us from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
And David, Tim, she gave us some good action steps. I’m just– we were amazed a couple of years ago when Hilton responded to their efforts. This is even, in some ways, bigger because the kids have much more access through the gaming like Steam than in the hotel situations with the pay per view thing. So, this could be a really big victory. But as she said, it’s going to take some pressure from the marketplace to get them to follow through on it.
Yeah, Rick, I thought it was a great point that you brought up even with the Hilton chain and the success there. One of the things that makes it certainly easier to continue to engage in these battles is certainly seeing where we’ve been successful. And when you can look at something that certainly could have felt like a David and Goliath moment, when you’re looking at these massive hotel chains and the money they’re getting and going, “You know what, we’re going to do something.”
And my goodness, when she was mentioning that they’re getting up to a thousand e-mails a week, Hilton was, and letting them know, she’s said, “Right from the horse’s mouth” we’re getting this information. It lets you know first of all that even though we are only one, when we act, especially if we will act in unison, the power there is behind it and what we can do.
And so certainly looking at Steam and as she mentioned they’re already getting some pushback from gamers right now. Well, this is definitely the time. Okay, let’s advocate, let’s send them those e-mails, let’s let them know, “Hey, we’ve got kids, we’ve got grandkids, we’ve got friends, that–” By the way, if you have kids or grandkids that are anywhere between like 6 and 30 they probably at some point will be using something like Steam. So, this is not far fetched to imagine.
Well, even Steam, I was shocked when she said 35 million users. You’re looking at youth and teens. And like she said, they’re the Wal-Mart of the PC gaming. Which that’s a massive, massive, group. So, this does have a huge influence. And she made the point that I had not thought of before. It’s not like you’re doing gaming with playing solitaire or something. This is gaming that actually involves you in the first person.
You’re there, you’re making decisions, and so you’re putting yourself into a gaming situation where you become the active participant as opposed to just move and cards around on your computer, your smart device, whatever. This is a whole different level of involvement which really does involve the brain and the eyes in a different way. When you’re a situation where you’re using your imagination and making active decisions as a participant in things that involve sexual exploitation, that’s a whole different level of experience than just playing solitaire on a smart device.
Yeah, and obviously, this is one of the things we’ve pointed out when it comes to even something like pornography you are objectifying women for sexual gratification. And this is kind of the basis of sex trafficking, right. It’s the ultimate objectifying individuals for for sexual gratification.
But that’s even what’s happening in games now. It’s encouraging this kind of behavior that there are these objects on the screen and they are there for sexual exploitation, etc.. This is not the kind of stuff that we would want any young people, any– I mean, not just our kids, any young people.
Not What We Want to Encourage
That is not the kind of behavior we would ever want to encourage, much less reinforce with them actually getting more points or whatever else in this. Which is why, again, it’s so important that we contact Steam, let them know, “Hey, we don’t want to see this on there at all. Let’s get rid of all this kind of stuff. Your original decision was wonderful, don’t acquiesce, don’t back down to these game industries and producers.” No, hold fast on this line. This is what we want.
And the action item here for our listeners, really everyone, to participate in this is very important because the other side, and certainly these gaming companies that make the games that then Steam hosts on their website, they’re going to be pushing hard on this because it’s all about the money. And so Steam is going to, I bet you, they’re going to end up with board meetings, they’re going to have discussions with their attorneys, they’re to be weighing, “How many people did we hear from that wanted us to get rid of this stuff? How many did we hear from that didn’t want us to and how’s it going to affect the pocketbook?”
All that stuff is going to get weighed and so the voices that are heard right now are very, very, important in helping to stop this.
And, Rick, let me jump into that for a minute because she laid out three things that I think are worth repeating. She said number one, first go to the website. Number two you can turn on parental controls, although they don’t work with every game in every situation, but that’s a start. But the third thing, and we’ve mentioned a couple of times is e-mail the Steam executives. Now, here’s what I’ll throw in – you need to do that even if you don’t have kids or grandkids that are doing gaming.
Prevent Unintended Consequences
Because they just count the e-mails. Tim, you mentioned earlier about what happened with Hilton. And I’ll point out she mentioned four mega chains. She said Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels, Starwood, and Hyatt – those are not small organizations. Those are global organizations and they all got out of this because the e-mails they received. And it doesn’t mean that everybody stays at all for those hotels it just means that, “Hey, we just think this is a bad deal for you.”
So, what they’re doing is they’re counting numbers that come in. So, maybe you don’t do gaming, maybe don’t have kids or grandkids that do gaming – it doesn’t matter. You need to contact it because this is creating a culture that can have unintended consequences on you. And so every single person can do something with this and it really will help make a difference in what happens with raising the next generation, in sexual exploitation in general, in changing the whole climate, and what happens with the vendors who are offering this to Steam to put on their format.
Well, Tim, you hit a very important point – everybody loves to say they’re against sex trafficking and they want to stop sex trafficking. This is the kind of stuff that feeds that industry that leads to that. And we’ve been– our program today has been about the supply side of this issue and trying to stamp down on that supply side.
Just as we’re closing out, let me talk about the demand side to our audience. Because if the polling is right, it’s 75-80 percent of the Christian community is dealing with pornography. And so ConquerSeries.com is a website that we encourage you to go to. Thousands of churches are now participating in this. Five hundred thousand men have been through it, 70 plus countries, I’ve taken my boys through it, we’re watching victory after victory with young men out of a Patriot Academy, and in our community, and our church. It is a very good program and don’t think that this stuff doesn’t affect you and affect your family.
Don’t Be a Part of the Demand Problem
So, don’t be a part of the demand problem out there that creates this supply. Get Conquer Series, go to ConquerSeries.com, they don’t pay us to do this. This is not an advertisement for them that’s been paid for. It’s because we’re seeing the results in the lives of the men in our community as well. So, check that out at ConquerSeries.com and take those action items that Haley encouraged us to do today.
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Sexual Exploitation- Practical Ways To Fight Misappropriation of Influence
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