The mother of an Oklahoma City NBA star said today's society is so over-sexualized that very young children are contemplating sexual matters.
“They should be dreaming about being an artist or a dancer. They should be dreaming of being the president or a doctor. Instead they're thinking of sexual things. It really hurts my heart,” said Wanda Pratt, mother of Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant.
Pratt spoke Tuesday to about 150 people who attended the “Shine the Light” event Tuesday at Wheeler Park, 1120 S Western. The event was part of “She's Somebody's Daughter,” an anti-pornography campaign launched Oct. 1 in Oklahoma City.
She said adults have become desensitized to the over-sexualization she described as pervasive in today's culture and she encouraged attendees to take a stand against advertisements and things that offend them and exploit others.
‘From my heart'
Pratt took a laptop to the podium where she made her presentation, but about five minutes in, she closed it, saying she wanted to “speak from my heart.”
Pratt said she was sexually molested as a child and the experience eroded her self-worth.
“I didn't realize how devastating it was to me until I became a woman. I felt it was my fault,” she said. “I didn't become promiscuous but I didn't value myself.”
Pratt encouraged men to protect their families and honor and respect women. She urged the women to value themselves based on their heart, their love for God and other positive attributes instead of “the size of your breasts or how you look.”
“That's what you owe to yourself,” she said.
A light in the dark
Meanwhile, at dusk, Pratt and other participants used flashlights distributed by event organizers or their own lights to symbolically “shine a light” for someone they care about as they stand against pornography, sex trafficking, violence and exploitation of women.
Aerial photos of the participants shining their lights near the Oklahoma River were taken via a helicopter, which circled overhead several times.
Todd Pauley, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said Lankford had planned to speak at the event but was in Washington due to the government shutdown. Pauley thanked the campaign's organizers and Pratt for raising public awareness, saying the issues addressed by the anti-pornography campaign may seem new to some, “but these issues, the challenges and results, are not new.”
About the campaign
The initiative's founders said the goal of the “She's Somebody's Daughter” campaign is to start a public dialogue about pornography and the negative effects it has on individuals, families and the community at large.
Tammy Stauffer, the campaign's project manager from Elizabethtown, Penn., said Oklahoma City was chosen for the launch because of the amount of human trafficking that occurs here. She said human trafficking is an issue in the city because of its interstate connections. Also, Stauffer said Oklahoma City ranks highly in searches for Internet pornography.
In addition to Tuesday's event at the park, the campaign also included the placement of a campaign billboard near Interstate 44 and Reno Avenue, and a concert event at a local church.
One of the campaign's founders, Steve Siler, of Nashville, Tenn., said the initiative's name is nonjudgmental. It is a way to make the public more aware that people depicted in pornographic images are real, with lives and families of their own.
He said more billboards promoting the campaign will be placed in other parts of the city within the next three months.
Nathan Hedge, 36, pastor of May Avenue Wesleyan Church, 58, said he and his family attended the event and encouraged others to attend to bring awareness to what he said is a connection between pornography and human trafficking.
“We can't talk about healing the problem of prostitution without also addressing pornography,” he said.