Contributed by CARP Las Vegas, Photos courtesy of CARP Las Vegas
The Beginnings of Campus Talk
A diverse group of students, faculty, administrators, faith-based organizations, and advocates gathered for CARP Las Vegas’ 4th Campus Talk on Saturday, April 13. Participants networked and discussed a wide range of issues prevalent in our society but especially in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada: the pornified culture, sex trafficking, the consequences of fatherlessness due to the lack of intimate relationships in families, and complex issues surrounding the commercialization of sex.
Since 2017, CARP Las Vegas has hosted three Campus Talks at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and three at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). (You can read about each of the Campus Talks here: Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018) The Campus Talk initiative started as a 2-hour event with the intention to educate and encourage the campus community to take a stand for marriage, family, and a culture of sexual integrity.
The 4th Campus Talk with the theme “Building Intact Families in a Sexualized Culture” was a big step forward, as an all-day conference, featuring nationally renowned speakers, two general sessions, and multiple breakout sessions covering a multitude of topics, including pornography, human trafficking, marriage, parenting and the current state of Nevada.
Around 130 participants packed the UNLV Student Union Ballroom to start the day. The attendees included several faculty members, seven current student government officers representing UNLV and CSN, seven campus faith groups, and 12 local non-profit organization representatives.You can check out their full media album with videos and photos here.
Morning Session: Why Family? Why So Urgent?
CARP UNLV President Chungbom Katayama and CARP USA Program Coordinator Jinil Fleischman served as emcees for the event and opened the conference by explaining the vision of CARP and the beginnings of Campus Talk. Conference moderator Lynn Walsh, Director of the Office of Family at the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), explained the purpose of the morning general session. In her short talk titled, “Intact Families in a Sexualized Culture: A Crisis in Intimacy,” she shed light on the serious threat that today's sexualized culture poses on the development of families.
The first presentation, “Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters: Linking Fatherlessness and a Sexualized Culture,” was given by Dr. Timothy Rarick of Brigham Young University-Idaho. Dr. Rarick spoke passionately and tearfully on his many years of research on the irreplaceable physical, psychological, and emotional role fathers play in the development of their daughters.
He expressed how the sexualized culture perpetuates fatherlessness and the harmful effects it has on girls despite the heroic parenting of single mothers. Dr. Rarick unveiled how this vicious cycle can be broken. He concluded with the point that both fathers and mothers play a crucial part in the lives of their children.
The second speaker, Dr. Sandra Lowen, LCSW, talked about the glaring difference between genuine and diluted intimacy. Dr. Lowen explained human emotional development and how experiences of emotional intimacy in each stage of development are required for human beings to grow. The morning presentations highlighted the defining role parents and families play in the development of children and the issues that stem when there is a breakdown in those roles.
Vice President of Power2Parent, Deborah Earl, gave a special presentation about their efforts to ensure parents’ voices are represented to the state and school district in decisions about children’s sex education. She passionately shared about the legislations that were jeopardizing parental involvement in critical issue of sex education in public schools, which many participants found enlightening.
“We need to continue to work together, we need academics to speak truth…we need to be more united in our causes.” - Participant
Afternoon Session: Vision for Action
The afternoon general session started with Lisa Thompson, Vice President of Research and Policy of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). Last February, NCOSE added the State of Nevada to their 2019 Dirty Dozen list. The rate of the illegal sex trade offenses in Nevada is 63% higher than that of the next highest offending states, New York and Florida, contradicting the claim that legalizing prostitution would reduce these illegal activities.
Lisa Thompson gave an eye-opening presentation exposing the intrinsic connections between all aspects of sexual exploitation. From sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and the objectification of others, she made it clear the links between these. She exposed the undeniable relationship between the demand for pornography and the increase of sex workers, both adults and children, who have been exploited by their suppliers. Through education and greater awareness of the harsh reality, NCOSE aims to be a movement to defend human dignity and create a world free of sexual exploitation.
Next, Melissa Holland, co-founder of the non-profit Awaken, shared her calling to restore the lives of women who exit the commercial sex industry, believing that they are the hope that can transform the society. Through her first-hand experiences working with affected children and women, she shared how many victims of sex trafficking learn to feel helpless in their situations because of the consistent experiences they had of even the law enforcement not helping them.
Moreover, Melissa touched on how the legalization of prostitution continues to legitimize the desensitization of the painful lives that many of these victims endure by reducing them to simply making them look like another “employees” at their jobs. She added that putting money into the equation only rebrands “rape” into “consent.” At the end of her presentation, she proclaimed the urgency of each person voicing against the legalization of prostitution, in order to protect all these victims.
A Student Perspective
To present the student perspective, CARP student representatives talked about the role of college students in making a change. UNLV student Kailey Teo presented CARP’s core values and that the solution to these issues lies in the hands of young people taking a stand in fighting to build strong, loving marriages and families. In order to do so, Kailey shared the need for young people to understand that each of them are worth more than what society tells them and that the choices they make about love and sex impact the world more than what society tells them.
UNLV alumnus Marcus Fuller testified about the emptiness he felt after following the societal norms of sex and love that society told him to do to experience love and happiness. Because of his experience, he committed to live a life of sexual integrity for his future spouse, family, and the world they will be living in.
Kailey and Marcus both received standing ovations for modelling their commitment to marriage and family.
“I like the fact that they were talking about building up a strong unity in family and how purity is something that has not been lost in the world today. It really encourages me to see so many young people are on fire and have a zeal to do what God want us to do.” - a local pastor
By the end of the day, there was a clear sense of urgency and building determination. Christine Froehlich, a developer for the CARP education curriculum, captured this in her concluding remark. As she summarized the contents from all the speakers, Mrs. Froehlich called everyone to seize the moment and be a part of creating a much needed third “Great Awakening” in this country. Participants joined together in hands and ended the conference with personal determinations of how to move forward and take action.
After the event, a dinner reception was held for all the speakers, leaders from other CARP chapters, and local community leaders. This 4th Campus Talk was a direct challenge to the degrading commercialization of sex and was especially relevant considering the history of Nevada and Las Vegas in perpetuating an exploitative sexual culture. The experience was incredibly powerful, even more so as a student-led initiative that will continue to grow momentum and build real, lasting change in our society.
“What a wonderful conference! I met so many amazing people who are committed to rescuing youth and helping them reach their potential.” - a dinner reception participant