In the yet unreleased opening of ‘Harmful or Healthy Dance: What do the Experts say?’ Kristen Jenson shares her heart with a profound question: ‘Why are we doing this to children?‘She is the founder of Protect Young Minds™ and best-selling author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids as well as Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds. Kristen serves on the Prevention Task Force of the National Coalition on Sexual Exploitation. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and her master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen grew up in both Wyoming and Massachusetts, is the mother of three awesome children, and currently lives with her husband in beautiful Washington State. She is just one of the national experts that DA:NCE interviewed at the June 2019 National Conference on Sexual Exploitation in Washington DC.
As we exploit children in harmful dance and groom them to relate to a pornified culture, inappropriate sexual seduction begins to feel normal. It’s our job to protect the age-appropriate innocence of children. If we don’t speak up and identify the problem by naming it and then educating others with research-based sources (that back up what we say), who will? Let’s continue to reflect and ask more questions about this cultural shift to influence children in harmful ways:
1. On October 17, 2019, the world was shocked by the take down of a large-scale, global child pornography ring that was operating out of South Korea. This horrendous and sickening library contained more than 250,000 images of exploited children including videos of adults abusing children as young as 2 years old that were downloaded a million times by users worldwide. Why are we allowing these images/videos?
2. On September 29, 2019 New York Times released a lengthy investigation into the criminal underworld of child sexual abuse images: ”The Internet is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse.” The report states: In 1998, there were over 3000 reports of child sexual abuse imagery. Over a decade later, yearly reports soared past 100,000. In 2014, that number surpassed 1 million. In 2018, there were 18.4 million, more than one-third of the total ever reported. Do we understand that the silence of adults says we agree?
3. Some early viewers of Todd Phillips’s Movie “Joker” were surprised to learn that one of the songs in the movie was written by a known pedophile and child molester who is currently serving a 16-year sentence. Of all the people on the planet, why do we feature the talents of a known predator and child molester in a popular song?
4. In ‘Hustlers’, Jennifer Lopez glamorizes the life of a pole dancer. On the facebook page of NCOSE they say, “…..anyone who thinks this film holds a message of women’s empowerment, reminds us that being a stripper is anything but empowering.” It would be an understatement to say that I am disappointed in Jennifer Lopez. Why has this talented woman chosen to influence our culture and its children(who imitate a media icon like her) through a movie that glorifies the mistreatment of women(and encourages children to participate in)?
Now I’d like to high-light someone who has raised the right question/s. Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual abuse during the USA gymnastics scandal. And she was the last of more than 150 women and girls to confront him in court during Nassar’s sentencing hearing for criminal sexual conduct. She asked, ‘…how much is a little girl worth? How much priority should be placed on communicating that the fullest weight of the law will be used to protect another innocent child from the soul shattering devastation that sexual assault brings? I submit to you that these children are worth everything. Worth every protection the law can offer. Worth the maximum sentence.”
Like many others in the culture who love children, I leave you with the same question I started with: ‘Why are we doing this to children?’