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Cordelia Anderson shares message: Fight 'pornified culture'

Cordelia Anderson is leading a fight to stop the normalization of violence and pornography in society. Al Edenloff/Echo Press

More than 200 community members gathered at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center Wednesday to listen to Cordelia Anderson, a nationally known speaker and consultant.

Anderson speaks all over the country about the prevention of child sexual exploitation and sexual violence, as well as strategies to strengthen individuals, families, business and communities.

Anderson's focus was on normalization of violence and pornography through advertisements, video games, toys, clothing and more.

She talked about a video game, Grand Theft Auto, which allows players to practice violence by shooting and killing people, as well as practicing violence against women through the portrayal of using and killing prostitutes.

"We have to put a stop to this," she stressed. "We need fundamental and social change."

She said the world has gone from an environment of Dr. Seuss to an environment of porn and pornographic images being acceptable.

As Halloween approaches, she advised the audience to take a look at the costumes, many of them are sexual or violent. "We are consumers of porn," she said. "We have 5th grade girls, as well as grown women, who practice pole dancing. There are pole dancing classes being taught for women as a form of exercise."

Anderson, who feels pole dancing is wrong and should be considered demeaning to women, noted that even in Forbes magazine, an article glamourized exotic dancing.

"When it comes to social change, we can't expect people to easily change their behavior with all the negative things out there," she said.

She compared it to obesity, saying that how can people change when they have options such as fast food restaurants. There is too much out there for people to choose, said Anderson.

Normalization, or what is socially accepted, she said, is hard to change. Social norms feed into what society feels is expected and that is a hard thing to change. The way men have been taught to view women - how they look at them, how they treat them - needs to change, Anderson said. The way children are being taught about violence and sexuality through games, TV, ads, toys and more needs to change, she stressed.

"Children need supportive people in their lives and there needs to be equity between genders," Anderson said. "We need to quit feeding into a culture of cruelty."

Anderson's message is that people - society - need to start speaking up about violence, about pornography, about sexual exploitation. They need to tell others when they feel something is wrong. If someone objects to something, he/she should speak up, and not be quiet any longer.

"How difficult is it to speak up and out about this?" she asked the audience. "If you don't like it, if you object to it, say something."

She concluded by saying that prevention is possible. People can do things to change the odds, to change society, to change what is socially accepted.

It has worked in the past. She said the tide has been turned against drunk driving, smoking and other societal problems. And recycling, she added. People now are starting to care what happens to their garbage, she said.

"We all need to work together, men, women and children," Anderson said. "We need to have a movement. We need to build prevention champions."