Sexual Integrity Forum
Canberra 8-9th August 2005
Paper presented by the Catholic Women's League of Australia Inc. on the topic:
2. Fostering sexual integrity, gender equality, gender reconciliation, healthy relationships and an end to sexual slavery and human trafficking
"It is a characteristic common to all sexual perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criteria by which we judge whether sexual activity is perverse - if it departs from reproduction in its aim and pursues the attainment of gratification independently". Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis, Allen and Unwin 1952
The Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 defines marriage as the "union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life".
Marriage gives opportunity for a splendour of sex impossible outside it. When all the shared life and the shared love of a man and a woman are poured into the union of bodies, there is sexual union in its fullness i.e. sexual integrity. The physical and psychological mechanism in a man and in a woman is so complex, so delicately ordered for the generating of new life, that it would be monstrous to deny that this is what sex is meant for, just as lungs are for breathing and the digestive organs for nourishment. The fact that people can use sex for sterile purposes does not alter the certainty that child bearing is sex's own purpose, and a deep and enduring love its reward.
Sex departed the haven of marriage with the acceptance of contraception and entered upon choppy seas. "Recreational" sex became the fashion following the 2nd World War, and the 21st Century has seen sex become "mandatory" either alone or with others. The once important goal of marriage and family has been sidelined.
"Safe Sex" appears to be the major goal of the school sex curriculum, a harm minimisation strategy that can have little to do with integrity. Abstinence is not presented as an option and those who stand aside from sexual activity are mocked, ridiculed and treated as abnormal. Most often school curricula take no position on pornography and make no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The risk of multiple partnering includes emotional and psychological damage as well as the possibility of incurring a sexually transmitted infection such as Chlamydia that increased at a rate of 20% per year for the period 1994-2004 (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing). Chlamydia has far reaching consequences such as permanent sterility. We are angry at seeing our young people gifting their bodies, becoming inoculated against fidelity, psychologically damaged and left incapable of forming a lasting relationship, a condition that contributes to the high divorce rate. In 2003 there were 53,000 divorces in Australia 26,637 or 50.1% of these involved children. There were a total of 49,850 children involved. ABS 2003.
The media make casual sex the norm. Boy meets girl and they copulate. The current Big Brother is a perfect example though the same holds true of almost any television programme. Add to this the sexual arousel of people of all ages who view erotic images and pornography available from newsagents, video outlets, the internet, late night T.V., or by mail order .
"The debate on pornography in Australia needs well informed citizens and this includes awareness of some of the more disturbing material that is freely available to children on the internet". The Australian Institute Discussion paper No.52, February 2003.
"Looking at pornography is widespread among teenagers and is regarded as normal behaviour, especially for boys. Among the great variety of pornography on the Internet children see sites depicting rape, sexual torture, bestiality, corprophilia, incest and much more" Australian Institute Report 'Youth and Pornography in Australia' 3rd march 2003. ". "Forbes estimates the global porn market at $56 billion and Forrester forecasts the market growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent". Guardian Newspapers Limited 12th September 1999.
While fighting the legalizing of brothels young prostitutes escaping from the industry told us of the pornography in brothels and its link to the increasingly depraved demands of customers: "we refused to service young men because their requirements are so depraved".
The legalisation of brothels has led to a belief among some men that they have an entitlement to paid sex. Clients of prostitution were once over the age of 40, but research now shows that there is an increasing number of younger men between 16-24 involved and that men are seeking out prostitutes for reasons of domination rather than for sexual gratification.
The legalisation of brothels in some Australian states has led to a huge increase in the demand for the "services" of prostitutes leading to the trafficking of women and children into Australia. "Trafficking is a grave violation of human rights, which occurs in the context of global inequality, poverty and desperation". Immigrant Women Speak Out - Issue 13. Summer 2004
Prostitution and trafficking cannot be profitable without customers. The demand for paid sex is in line with consumerism. "Clients" share society's insatiable appetite for novelty. Trafficked women trapped and powerless in "legal" brothels provide men with the opportunity to perpetrate unacceptable acts. "Trafficking in human beings has become one of the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational crimes. It is estimated that the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution is a $10 billion dollar industry". (Combating Child Trafficking - Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 9 2005 published by UNICEF and the Inter- Parliamentary Union p.7). Efforts to reduce trafficking into Australia will be unsuccessful unless Australia first recognises its role as a "demand" country.
"The most humiliating poverty for any woman is to be a victim of trafficking, of being sold and bought to be used as merchandise". Sister Eugenia Bonetti, an expert in the problem of trafficking at "pastoral Care for the Liberation of Street Women Conference in Rome, 20-21 June 2005.
Sex begins powerful and can become a vast tyranny. As with any addiction the prowling reslessness of the sex ridden constantly require an increased "dose" of sex to give the same effect.
Sex has become "big business" and sexual Integrity, monogomy and committed relationship is in decline. As G.K. Chesterton said "All healthy men, ancient and modern, eastern and western, hold that there is in sex a fury that we cannot afford to inflame, and that a certain mystery must attach to the subject if it is to remain delicate and sane". Catholic Women's League Australia pray that the Sexual Integrity Forum may be a step towards the restoration of sanity.
Prepared on behalf of the 8,000 members of the Catholic Women's League by:
Betty Roberts, OAM, 11 Sharps Road, Lenah Valley, Tasmania 7008. Ph 03 6228 0582.