I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention this now after 14 years, but I'm willing to take a little risk if it will bring a little more attention to this issue, because I feel very strongly about the message here.
I have a personal connection to the Elizabeth Smart story and have always followed it with particular interest because I was the foreman on a federal grand jury assigned to this case in Salt Lake City at the time. There were two grand juries convened at that time and we met on alternating Wednesdays, and I think the other grand jury may have been the primary one on the case, but we were involved because they couldn't always wait two weeks if action was needed.
I don't have any unique information (so don't ask), and I ended my term early when we moved to North Carolina, but I did pray a lot for this girl, before and after she was found, and as the father of three girls am still emotionally affected when I hear about her. I am glad that science and research and empirical evidence are coming around to confirm what our hearts and conscience and common sense have been telling us about pornography all along.
Society is appalled at stories like Elizabeth Smart's, but judging from the continued growth of the pornography industry in the 14 years or so ensuing years, we are apparently not appalled enough to stand against this contributing source of the problem.
There is a fight against sex trafficking, but not nearly as valiant a fight against the industry that finances it and benefits the most from it.
We talk about gun control as a means of reducing violent crimes, but what about pornography control as a means of reducing violent sex crimes?
We talk about being vigilant about protecting our children from potential predators, but are we willing to take steps to reduce the development of these predators in the first place?
Women have made so much progress in improving their rights and roles in society as compared to men's traditional rights and roles, and yet for some reason it is still acceptable (in fact, increasingly so) for women to suborn themselves to (primarily) men by selling provocative images of themselves--and for (primarily) men to buy them--even when doing so can put other women and children (like Elizabeth Smart) at risk.
There was a time when the tobacco industry denied the harmful effects of the products it was selling, even as the science and data piled up against it--until one day the overwhelming weight of the truth brought the entire industry to its knees and forced it to pay billions of dollars to its victims and put warning labels on its products. This backlash against the tobacco industry included acknowledging the danger of second-hand smoke--in other words, that using their products could put innocent third parties at risk.
I hope that as the science and data continue to pile up about the pornography industry, it will meet a similar fate--and that innocent third parties like Elizabeth Smart and other sex-crime victims (and potentially our own children) will get the most protection society can provide them. Denying the truth doesn't change the truth. So let's stop denying it.