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    Letters

    Sexualized media, Internet porn are breeding tomorrow’s abusers

    In the Nov. 1 editorial “Will consequences bring change?” the Globe writes, “Men who use their power to prey on women cut across all industries and ideologies. They prevail as long as women let them.” Excuse me? Sexual harassment has prevailed despite many women doing their best not to let it happen.

    I know the editorial was trying to validate the women who spoke up about being harassed. However, it misses the point that sexual harassment and sexually predatory behavior is everywhere, not just in the workplace, and is supported by the culture, institutions, and structures in which the sexual objectification of girls and women is big money. The general public has been conditioned to accept this as normal. The explosion of sexualized images of girls in music videos, magazines, and advertisements of all sorts regularly bombards girls and boys. These images were once seen only in porn magazines, and they were usually hidden behind the counters. Now these images are everyday fare.

    In addition, Internet pornography, a multibillion-dollar industry, is not only just a click away, but it pops up while young children are playing innocent games on the computer. Studies have shown that children are exposed to Internet pornography at earlier and earlier ages. In fact, the largest consumer of Internet pornography is the 12-17 age group. Our children are getting their sex education through images that normalize the exploitation and mistreatment of girls and women.

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    As a mother of a 6-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, I fear for my children. I am afraid of how these images are affecting their self-image and their future for real caring, mutually respectful relationships. I do my best to educate and offer perspectives, but my voice, like those of many women battling harassment, is being drowned out by the normalization of women’s sexual objectification and exploitation. Unless the culture that supports this normalization is challenged and changed, women will continue to be harassed and exploited, and even “the outing of some elite men in Hollywood and the media” will be just a passing phase.

    The Rev. Cheng Imm Tan

    Boston

    The writer, a Unitarian Universalist minister, is the founder of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence.