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When I Was an 11-Year-Old Girl, Porn Hijacked My Childhood | #PornHurtMe


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The following story was submitted to Exodus Cry by a girl named Erin:

*In our culture today, it’s expected almost as a rite of passage for a male to view pornography. As a woman, this is not the case. Women are looked at as the minority in this situation. I am choosing to speak up for those who feel like they can’t.

My name is Erin. For 8 years of my life I battled with an addiction to pornography. This is something I never thought I’d come to admit. It all began for me at 11 years old. I grew up going to a public school, and the conversations that happened around me on a daily basis were so unbelievably vile.

One day I got curious about some of the things these kids would talk about. So, I did what every kid does when they want information on something in the early 2000’s: I started googling things. It was as simple as a Google search for fishnet tops.

Images that I found started leading me down a hole and soon enough, it wasn’t just fishnet tops I was seeing, but way more graphic imagery that I couldn’t even fully understand at the time. It was something I’d look at maybe once a day when I was alone after school. However, that began to escalate before I could even really realize it.

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What began as looking at porn once a day, turned into me looking at porn two, three, four times a day. By the time I was maybe 14 or 15, I knew I was addicted. The porn I looked at became far more aggressive.

I got into this horrible habit of “repenting and repeating” because I figured “God will forgive me, I’ll be alright.” Instead of spending weekends hanging out with friends, I would spend my weekends scrolling through whatever medium I found necessary to look at porn. Google, YouTube, Tumblr—you name it, I had access to it. It consumed my entire life.

Struggling with this addiction for as long as I did led me directly into an abusive relationship because porn conditioned me to tolerate abuse.

Struggling with this addiction for as long as I did led me directly into an abusive relationship because porn conditioned me to tolerate abuse. That toxic relationship led me to start having suicidal thoughts, which inevitably led to me attempting to take my life at 16.

Porn messed with my mind so much I didn’t even really think about how much it really affects the way you view love and relationships until it was way too late. I had to fight for a long time to get out of the mindset that said, “this is the way women are supposed to be treated, like objects.” I used porn as a coping mechanism and started using porn as a way to escape everything I was feeling.

RELATED: My Porn Addiction at Age 6 Drove Me To Attempt Suicide

If I wasn’t actively self-harming, I was watching porn, and this cycle continued for 3 more years past that point, until one day something happened. I was 19 years old when things started to change.

One night, just as I was about to continue my cycle of “repenting and repeating,” I had a mental breakdown. I started crying and literally just couldn’t stop. I started to hyperventilate; I didn’t know what was going on. I had a profound experience in which I realized how damaging porn was in my life and in my relationship with God. I knew things had to change.

It has been two full years since then and I haven’t even been so much as tempted to look at pornography. It was such a battle, especially being a woman and not knowing how to talk about it.

There are not nearly enough resources out there for women who struggle with addictions to porn, because it is typically only viewed as a “men’s issue.” I am here to tell you today that it isn’t just a men’s issue, but it is so much more than that. Porn is an “everybody issue.” If there was freedom available for me, there is absolutely freedom available for you.

*Note: This story has been lightly adapted for the Exodus Cry blog.

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Get help. If you or someone you know is struggling with a porn addiction or has been hurt by childhood exposure, get resources here.

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How has porn hurt you? Share your story on social media and tag us (@exoduscry) and use the hashtag #PornHurtMe to share how you’ve been affected by childhood exposure. Or, send it to us here and we may post it anonymously.

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