The 5th annual End Exploitation Global Summit was held in Washington DC from June 12-15, 2019. The gathering attracted over 625 experts from all over the world to speak on the issue of sexual exploitation and its inter-relationship to sex trafficking, pornography, prostitution, child sexual abuse, violence against women, sexual assault & violence, sexualization of children, sexual addiction & compulsivity, violence against women, child pornography, and male and female objectification. Although I spoke briefly at the conference, I flew there with film-maker Neal Thibedeau with a clear focus: to film remarks about healthy versus harmful dance from experts in the field. While there, we captured comments from expert leaders and researchers about their observations and personal experiences articulating the difference between educational or sexualized children’s dance.

One expert that we filmed was Cordelia Anderson who directs Sensibilities, Inc. She was awarded the Summit 2019 Spotlight Award to recognize her life’s work illuminating the vital importance of preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Sensibilities Prevention Services is Cordelia Anderson’s Minnesota based training and consultation business. Since 1976, Anderson’s career has been dedicated to promotion of sexual health and to prevention sexual harm including: child sexual abuse/exploitation, sexual violence, harassment and harmful sexual behaviors and perpetration. 

Cordelia has had over 42 years of prevention program development, training, and consulting with attention to early intervention:

  • Active Participation with organizations such as: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (Board), Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (Prevention Committee), Stop It Now! (Advisory Council), Big Brothers Big Sisters – Consultant
  • Over 2,700 presentations nationwide & internationally
  • Awards including:  Life time achievement: National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation and Spotlight/Life time achievement National Center on Sexual Exploitation (2019)National Sexual Resource Center, Visionary Award (2013)
  • Authored prevention materials including plays, chapters, videos, curricula, blogs and booklets
  • Appeared on local and national media including Oprah Winfrey.

Another expert that we interviewed was Dr. Don Hilton.

He is a neurosurgeon practicing in San Antonio, Texas. His research and publishing interests have included traumatic brain injury, minimally invasive surgery, and neural mechanisms of addiction. He says, “Children’s developing brains are incredibly vulnerable to the effects of viewing pornography. The brain ‘can be hijacked’ from its true purpose of using reason, will and love to temper and balance natural pleasure-seeking desires.  All addictions – like to pornography, food, drugs or other substances – structurally change the brain in a very damaging way. This makes children, whose brains will not be fully developed until they are in their mid-20s, incredibly susceptible. Attitudes and behaviors seen in pornography become ‘the new normal,’ and boys and girls are exposed to ‘eroticised rage’ and ‘toxic sexual scripts,’ which can easily lead them to believe they must expect and imitate the same things in real life. One’s own personal feelings and instincts are stunted and the ability to feel emotion and empathy are ground away. Laws should protect kids, not the porn industry, and parents must be good examples of making healthy choices.”

Healthy choices based in research are what Dance Awareness is all about. Next month I’ll share more about the interviews at this conference and more about information that will help you to make healthy choices in dance for your children. I can hardly wait.

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