to catch a predator
I’ve never seen the show “To Catch a Predator” and I don’t really know if I want to. If you haven’t seen it or heard much about it, here is a quick summary of the show. First, adults go online pretending to be teenage girls (and sometimes teenage guys), often 13 years old. They enter chat rooms and innocently begin conversations with men online. The “13 year olds” get to know the men online over time and eventually invite them over for a visit. Sometimes these men go to great great lengths to get to the homes of what they think are teenage girls. When they arrive an 18 or 19 year old woman lets them in, pretending to be a 13 year old girl. They then make some excuse to leave the room for a moment and the host of “To Catch a Predator” comes out… they’re busted. The host questions the predator for while and then when they walk out of the home, the predator is arrested. (sorry… long summary)
When I first heard about the show I was angry. I thought it was ok to set up these predators and arrest them, but I did not agree with putting the whole thing on TV. These men have problems and as soon as they are caught they are filled with immense shame and regret, often trying to hide their faces. I was mad that NBC was using these men to entertain the American public. I was venting my frustrations to Mike about the show when he pointed out that televising these predators being caught may deter others from ever trying to visit an underage teenager in fear that they are being set up. Perhaps it is ok to put these men on national TV…
Then this morning I saw a preview of tonight’s “To Catch a Predator” on the Today show. One of the predators they caught had seen the show several times yet he still decided to visit the home of a girl he thought was 13 to sleep with her. Apparently even the fear of being caught on national TV and going to jail is worth the risk to be with a teenage girl.
So now I have a new complaint about this show. There is a very very horrible double-standard in America when it comes to men’s sexuality*. On some TV shows you will find jokes and humor based on a man’s use of pornography. TV portrays porn as perfectly normal, acceptable, and something not to be ashamed of. I see it again and again, and if you don’t just watch for it, especially on sitcoms. Here are a few lines from a Friends’ episode, “The One with the Free Porn”:
Mr. Treeger: [notices that Joey and Chandler have free porn] Wow, hey. That lady is all kinds of naked.
Chandler: Yeah, Joey just pressed something on the remote and it just came on.
Mr. Treeger: Yeah, it happened to me once. I was just flipping through the channels and BAM. It was like finding money.
Chandler: Like finding money with naked people on it.
Mr. Treeger: Then I made the mistake of turning off the tv. I never got it back again.
Mr. Treeger: And I’m sad.
Joey: [to Chandler] Why would he turn of the tv?
Throughout the whole episode the guys’ TV is on, even when people are over, because the guys don’t want to lose their free porn. Our media portrays porn as being perfectly acceptable and has even lost the stigmas as being sleazy or shameful, much less being thought of as damaging to society and men’s psyche/relationships.
So on one hand you have our media portraying porn as normal and on the other hand you have our media completely condemning these “predators” that pursue sexual relationships with teenage girls. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that it is horribly wrong for adult men to pursue sexual relationships with teenage girls, but why the double standard? Why doesn’t America see that it is accepting the cause of the problem while condemning the outcome? It just doesn’t make any sense.
100 bucks that all these guys who are going after teenage girls on the internet are addicted to porn. (And challenge me if you think there isn’t a strong correlation between the pornography industry and seeking sex with under-agers.) We have made it easy and acceptable to go online and look at all the pornography we could ever want, so should we be surprised that there are so many men* (or women for that matter) who want to live-out what they see online? Should we be surprised when pornography pushes “barely legal” 18 and 19 year old girls and then “To Catch a Predator” catches hundreds of men seeking sex with under-agers?
I wish these men could find serious help instead of used as national entertainment and then sent to jail. I realize these men are struggling with serious addictions and temptations and probably feel shameful for their actions. I wish that society would stop telling these men that pornography is alright and then condemn them when they try to act it out. I pray that these men on predator can come away with some advocates, helping them overcome, instead of a nation full of enemies.
I am sure some of the men on predator have little conscience and should be condemned for pursuing young teens. But I think other men on the show are just your average guys sucked into a string of temptations, and one step after another they end up doing something really stupid, feeling both shame and temptation all along the way. I think these men should be stopped and arrested, but they also need grace. They need someone to help them overcome… they need someone who sees them as they truly are and can help them overcome the sin and shame in their lives. You know who I mean. Let’s just hope they find him, and find his grace and healing…
Worth checking out: www.xxxchurch.com (don’t be afraid of the “xxx”- it’s a perfectly safe website.)
So what do you think? Do you believe that pornography is to blame for sexual issues such as predators in our society? What would you propose we do about issues with pornography? How do you think Christians should interact or relate to sexual predators? (This one really comes down to what you think Jesus would do… ) If you are not Christian, I would especially love to hear your views on pornography and also on how to deal with sexual predators in our society.
* To all the men reading this, I don’t mean to place you in a bad light or stereotype you by any means. I know plenty of amazing guys who are fighting hard to keep sexually pure and I realize that only a very small percentage of men are “predators”. I do not mean to generalize men in this blog and disclude women, I am only speaking more about men because they are the group highlighted on the show To Catch a Predator.