I was visiting my friend the other day and lamenting to her about how my heart was breaking for women these days, especially their struggles with sexual purity and pornography. She shared with me that she had watched The View and had seen one of their “Real People” interviews about a pornography star who is also a Duke University freshman—she is 18 years old and has done 25–30 porn films in the last year to pay for her $60,000 college tuition. Here’s the interview with “Belle Knox”:
This video filled me with such sorrow and literally broke my heart. Belle said a few things, though, that should be addressed, because they are sad truths about pornography:
- “I, like most other people, have been watching porn since I was 12 years old.” The folks on The View were bewildered by this, but I was not. In fact, Belle was about two years OLDER than I was when I first experienced pornography. Today’s generation was exposed to pornography as early as age 8! Most every person you know has seen pornography in some form. Of 700 Christian women surveyed, most were exposed to porn between the ages of 10 and 12. It’s a harrowing statistic about our children today.
- “Your parents support this?” “Yes, absolutely.” I truly could not fathom this statement. I want so desperately to believe that no parents in the world would support their children becoming porn stars simply to pay for college, but I know that’s not the truth. I know that we live in a fallen world where pornography is the norm—where people who aren’t watching it are more common than those who are. And I know that sometimes, people believe that making easy money is more important than working hard, and that attending a prestigious university is more important than cultivating true self-worth. But I have to ask: what will Belle benefit if she gains the whole world (a Duke degree, a porn career) but loses her soul? (Mark 8:36) And who in her life cares about that for her if not her parents?
- “…there is a stigma about females watching pornography, so I was not open about it.” Among the ashes and death, there is still truth. And the truth is, she’s right: there is a stigma for women. Christian women especially tend to feel intense shame about their secret struggle with sexual purity and pornography. Christian women, however, tend to internalize the unbearable guilt and shame, becoming depressed while searching for accountability. On the contrary, Belle acts out to feel “empowered” about her body and her sexuality. Empowerment, however, does mean that we can do anything with our bodies; as Paul noted, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).
It’s a shame that they cut the video off before finishing Sherri Shepherd’s statement of how her heart was breaking for Belle. Like Sherri, I feel such sorrow for Belle. This story haunts me because, you see, I could have easily made the same choices that Belle Knox did. But I didn’t—because I had a mother and a Christian community who prayed for me. And because of those desperate prayers, I instead chose a Savior who gives me hope, love, and a bold identity in Him. The only difference between me and Belle Knox is Jesus Christ. And I am praying desperately that she comes to know Him as I do—as the Author of my hope, security, freedom, and true empowerment.