ORLANDO, Fla. — Sexual exploitation of children will never end unless fathers start taking a stand against pornography. But in a culture that promotes the over sexualization of youth, fathers are noticeably absent.
"Where are you dads?" asked Brigham Young University professor Tim Rarick during an emotional address at the second annual Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit last week.
"Dads are the absent super heroes in this battle of sexual exploitation. Where is our superman? he asked.
Rarick, who teaches classes on parenting and child and family advocacy at the private Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints university in Provo, Utah, said he's "trying to promote fatherhood."
Speaking out against the epidemic of fatherlessness across America, Rarick argued that dads are poised to "fight sexual exploitation and pornography in a way that few can."
His remarks stressed the importance of strong father figures in the home, especially for daughters, so they can develop healthy views on intimacy and sexuality.
"Millennials aren't receiving education on how to develop healthy relationships," he declared. "The ultimate change must come from within men. … There has to be a way to prick their hearts," he added.
Rarick outlined important values that need to be taught in the home, emphasizing that the family unit needs a "culture and respect of love in the home" and of "respecting the importance of the body."
He further emphasized that it's essential to promote "modesty in dress" and encouraged appropriate discussions about intimacy.
"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America, one out of three children, now live in biological father-absent homes," Rarick asserted. "In 1960, nine in 10 children resided with two married parents."
He argued that much of the systematic problems resulting from the break-down of the family can be traced to pornography.
In an interview with The Christian Post, John Cippel, a Catholic priest in the St. Petersburg Diocese who's been in professional ministry for 55 years and attended the conference, offered some insight into the battle of addictions and pornography.
"I am here because of the people I serve as well as my own personal growth," Cippel said. "The rise of men, especially, who come to me because their life has become unmanageable and pornography is eating away at them.
"Sometimes the wives, too, come to me because they are in trauma and the unfaithfulness of their husband. I want to help them as much as I can, and I feel myself in many ways sometimes powerless, but here I can find even more resources to help them," he added.
In a discussion about possible first steps for those in bondage to sexual addictions, Cippel said that in most cases the pain has to be so great that they need, or are willing, to get help.
"Unfortunately, we are a very unreflective society, and since all this is so easily accepted as normal, and society is telling us this is normal and its good entertainment, we have all these excuses," he declared.
"Shame comes and fear comes upon them, and so very often they do come to the minister or the priest because they feel this is a safe place," he added. "They can speak in confidence. The people that come to me have some basic beliefs and can speak to me in the confidence of the pastoral relationship. That is where it starts, and hopefully in the sermons I give, I think they feel I can understand them."