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Chris Yadon

Episode 74

Chris Yadon

Managing Director of Saprea, & Anti-Child Sexual Abuse Advocate

In this episode of Consider Before Consuming, we talk with Chris Yadon, the Managing Director of Saprea. Saprea is an organization that exists to liberate individuals and society from child sexual abuse and its lasting impacts. Chris has been working with Saprea since 2015, is a sought-after speaker, and has been invited to give presentations nationally and internationally. Listen to Chris talk with podcast host Garrett Jonsson about the global issue of child sexual abuse, how porn is connected to child sexual abuse, and how everyone can fight this type of exploitation.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Yadon: I think it’s really important for listeners to know that most porn consumers do not sexually abuse children, but it’s rare that, uh, an individual that sexually abuses children is not a porn consumer.

Fight the New Drug Ad: Join us this July for our #StopTheDemand campaign as we raise awareness to help stop the demand for pornography and sexual exploitation. We invite you to educate yourself and others on how the porn industry fuels the demand for exploitation, sex trafficking, objectification, and more.

Learn more and get involved in the campaign at ftnd.org/stop. That’s F-T-N-D-.-O-R-G-/STOP.

 

Garrett Jonsson: My name is Garrett Augustus Jonsson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug.

 

And in case you’re new here, Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

 

We want these conversations to be educational, uplifting, and hopeful. As we sit down with experts, influencers, activists, and people with personal accounts, we cover a wide variety of topics that may be triggering to some, you can refer to the episode notes for a specific trigger warning- listener discretion is advised.

 

Today’s episode is with Chris Yadon, the Managing Director of Saprea, an organization that exists to liberate individuals and society from child sexual abuse and its lasting impacts. Chris has been working with Saprea since 2015, is a sought-after speaker, and has been invited to give presentations nationally and internationally. During this conversation we talked about the global issue of child sexual abuse, how porn is connected to child sexual abuse, and how everyone can fight this type of exploitation.

 

With that being said, let’s jump into the conversation, we hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

 

Thanks for joining us on the podcast today, Chris. 

 

Chris Yadon: Hey, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: We, uh, feel very grateful and excited for the opportunity. So yeah, we love Saprea and what you guys do. And so we are definitely on team Saprea. 

 

Chris Yadon: That’s that’s awesome. That’s uh, it, it’s a joint feeling. Our, our worlds come together in a lot of ways. So we love the work you’re doing as well.

 

Garrett Jonsson: You’re the Executive Director at Saprea?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, it actually went through a recent shift. I just became the managing director. Um, basically split my role so I could spend more time leading publicly in our work to fight child sexual abuse. So brought on someone else to take over some of my responsibilities and I kept those that related to public leadership. So my title’s changed, but, uh, this part of my role hasn’t.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. Well, great. We are grateful you’re with us today. Um, speaking of you and Saprea, I’m curious how you got involved with the organization?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, so it’s, it starts, as it often does with the relationship, our Founders, uh, were really good friends of mine. Uh, then we had the opportunity to work together in a startup and had a great experience there. So when it came time for them to start up, uh, our charity, uh, they reached out to me to see if I’d be willing to come do it. Uh, it was an easy, yes, for me, for a couple reasons. Uh, one, I knew the quality of our Founders. I knew how they would approach it and I knew they would do it right. And provide the resources needed to do it right. And two sexual abuse is something that had impacted my loved ones. And so even though I wouldn’t have considered myself a champion for the cause before I was sensitive, uh, to the cause. So it made it an easy yes, for me, I was the first employee for Saprea and that’s a little over seven years ago.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Well, that’s a cool journey and I’ve already mentioned this, but I’ll, I’ll probably say it a thousand times. Like we love what you guys do and we’re so grateful for the work you’re doing. So it’s been seven years that Saprea’s been around.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. Just over seven and a lot of great things have happened in those seven years. We’ve been able to have a lot of positive impact measure that impact and make sure we’re actually helping people. Uh, we’ve also been able to develop out some world class resources and we’re really going through a significant pivot right now to, uh, from building out our resources and creating quality programs to now scaling those programs.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, that’s important. And I think it’s kind of relevant to what you said. You speak to scaling the programs because there is a necessity there. Um, people have the trauma and they need help. Referring back to what you mentioned earlier, how you said that some of the people within your circles had been negatively impacted because of sexual abuse. And I think that’s the case for a lot of us, whether we know it or not, it’s very common, and… unfortunately it’s very common to have people in our lives that have been negatively impacted by it.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. And maybe I’ll just share a quick experience or story here to highlight this cuz a lot of times when people become familiar with the issue of sexual abuse and they hear about its prevalence, which is one in five children in the United States will be sexually abused by age 18. They have a tough time reconciling that because they look in their circles and they, they say, “Well maybe I know a person here or there, but that’s a lot of people, one in five’s, a lot of people, I don’t know that many people.”, and this speaks to how taboo the issue is, uh, and how difficult it is for survivors to discuss it because of shame. So the experience I had was remarkable when I started seven years ago working, uh, uh, with sexual abuse, I knew of a few of my family members and other loved ones that had experienced it, but it’s like people came out of the woodwork and these were people that I had deep relationships with.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: That I’d known for a really long time. Some that I would consider some of my closest relationships, all of a sudden started disclosing that they were survivors. And I really, I had that moment and, and it was a transformative moment for me of, “Is it really that bad?”, “Is it really that taboo?”, “Is there really that much shame?”, that these people I’ve loved for some of them my entire lifetime. And, and, and I would say all of all of them for at least many years, is it really that bad, the shame that they were unwilling to disclose that they were survivors and the answer is yes, until we become a safe person for ’em. So the reality is anybody, any of your listeners that are listening to this, you have loved ones that were sexually abused. You may or may not know it. They may or may not be willing to talk to you about it yet, but I guarantee you, you have loved ones. Yeah. People that are close to you that you care deeply about that are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Thanks for speaking to that. If we look at the barriers to like what stops people from getting help, one of the big barriers is stigmatization. And so I think it’s really interesting that once you got into this role and like became a, became more involved, people started opening up to you. I think that kind of speaks to the power of vulnerability. Like once we become a little bit more vulnerable, a little bit more educated, become a safer space, it removes some of that stigmatization so people can open up. 

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. Your statement there of “safer space” is the critical statement. And that’s the only thing that actually changed when, when I started working at Saprea, is I went from, uh, someone in their life that may have been aware of it, but wasn’t advocate for it. But when I became an advocate for child sexual abuse survivors, and for prevention, I became a safe space. I didn’t fundamentally change as a human. I didn’t all of a sudden become a better human overnight, but I became that safe space. And, and the, the fact that you brought that up, and this is again, I think a strong commonality between your work in reducing the stigma with porn has a lot of similarities to the work we do in reducing the stigma for sexual abuse survivors to disclose both are rooted in shame. 

 

And as we make it safe, it allows individuals to, I won’t say overcome that shame cuz I think that’s too far of a stretch, but to set that shame aside long enough to, to reach out and say, “Hey, I would, I would like help. I want to move forward.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Speaking about you guys scaling there at Saprea before we talk about kind of how you’re scaling to make it more accessible. Because again, that’s one of the barriers to getting help as well is accessibility to resources. We can speak more to that, but I’m just wondering if you can talk to your areas of focus. Um, from my research, it seems like there’s three areas of focus. It’s supporting women who have experienced childhood abuse, educating and empowering adults and caregivers, um, so that their kids can be safer and then encouraging individuals to take action within their respective communities. Is that accurate?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, those, those are our three focus areas and uh, I would like to go maybe one level above them, uh, to what we refer to as our north star, our north star is that we exist to liberate and that word’s really, really important that liberate word, we exist to liberate individuals and society from child’s sexual abuse and its lasting impacts. So it’s really important to understand that word liberate is critical when you, when you think what, what’s the outcome we’re trying to limit liberate society from the, the hold that child sexual abuse has on society and the impact it has. But we’re also trying to help individuals liberate from the lasting impacts on them as survivors. And so when you look at those three focus areas that you brought up, the first one, uh, the healing side where, uh, currently we focus on supporting women, uh, who have experienced child sexual abuse. 

 

I will take note that we are moving towards supporting men as well. We, we just opened our funding, uh, to, uh, fund our, our male services. Um, but for now it’s women that really focuses on that individual side and liberating that individual and helping that woman who has sexually abused as a child, uh, uh, overcome or learn to manage is probably a better way to describe it. The lasting impacts of what’s most often post-traumatic stress on her life. And so then you move on to the second one, educating empowering parents and caregivers. This really has a dual, both, both liberating individuals, meaning individual parents, individual families, but then society as a whole, when, when parents engage collectively to change, what’s going on in society, it’s perhaps the most powerful force for change. Uh, parents intuitively are really protective of their children. They want what’s best for their children.

 

They want the world to be better for their children than when they found it. And those, those innate or, uh, strong motivations that parents have really have the ability to change things at a societal level. So when we’re, we’re educating and empowering parents to protect their children, that really hits to both sides of it. And then the last one, which is, uh, we’re, we’re working to drive, uh, societal change, uh, specifically by helping individuals take action in their communities. That’s more that grassroots societal change approach where, uh, we’re trying to get people to first even talk about it. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

 

Chris Yadon: Uh, and be aware of the issue. And then second, be a change maker in their community. That community could be their neighborhood. It could be in their school. It could be in their, uh, faith. It could be in their, um, uh, workplace, wherever they have communities. We want them to be a, a change maker and we want to, um, encourage them to take action in those, those communities.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Those are all worthy goals. As you’re talking about your north star being to liberate from trauma, is that the goal to liberate from trauma?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. So it, it it’s, it’s twofold again. So for the individual, it’s liberating them from the trauma. So what, what happens with survivors of child sexual abuse, many survivors- I won’t say all, is they internalize the traumatic experience and because of the shame and stigma that’s associated with it, they often deal with it on their own and bear it well they’re well, their survival systems in their brain and body, uh, have to cope with that stress. And they often cope through that stress through behaviors. Some of those behaviors can be maladaptive or, or unhealthy think substance abuse, uh, maybe an eating disorder, uh, or, uh, dealing with, uh, other types of, uh, unhealthy or unhelpful, uh, coping mechanisms.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Another one that comes to mind would be like a social effect when they like they have tendencies to isolate. Right?

 

Chris Yadon: Absolutely because that, because of the shame and stigma, it, it does drive at least that part of their life to isolation,… 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: … and that isolation can really take a negative toll on their overall mental health. And so for that individual, it really is about addressing that post traumatic stress that comes as a result of these, uh, uh, maladaptive behaviors and learning to remanage that stress. It’s not that they won’t be triggered by something that reminds them of their perpetrator or perpetration.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: Uh, but if we can reduce the amount of times that they’re triggered and increase their capacity to handle those triggers, when they come, it really does change their life. I’ll just share two stats. So for one of our healing programs, uh, we’ve, we’ve done extensive measurement through third parties. And on average, a woman who goes through that program experiences a 37% reduction in post traumatic stress.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. 

 

Chris Yadon: And a 45% increase in what are referred to as life satisfaction or wellbeing indicators. And basically, you know, if you translate those numbers, that what that means is they’re getting triggered 37% less by their trauma and their ability to cope with that trauma has improved by 45%. And when you put those two together, you combine those, it, it it’s, it’s not a trite statement. It is literally changing their day to day life and allowing them to move forward, uh, with a positive approach to healing and health. Uh, it impacts them. It impacts their relationships, their immediate families, their communities.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. It seems like we’ve come a long way in regards to how we address trauma, like as a nation and, and as a world, um, it seems like in the past, we’ve just tried to manage symptoms. And so I love hearing that stat that the, the 45% stat regarding those, the life satisfaction indicators, because it’s showing again that they have the capacity to navigate life despite the trauma that occurred.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. It’s, it’s very empowering. Uh, and, and that’s, that’s the best word to use. I know that word gets used a lot. Uh, but imagine feeling that someone had taken something away from you and what they took away from you has caused you havoc every day in your life, since.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: And caused you pain. And then all of a sudden you have these tools and capability to take back that power.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: And manage through those impacts it, it, it really is liberating. That’s why we use that word. It it’s the best word to describe what, what they experience and, and to your point as a society, we are getting better at dealing with trauma. I’d say, we’re, we’re getting better at understanding that trauma exists and its impacts, uh, I think we still are just at the beginning stages of actually learning how to deal with it. And as a society, we’re still dealing with a lot of the secondary issues, um, rather than the, the root issues. And we still have some shifts we need to, we need to take there.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Because Saprea has worked with so many individuals. I’m curious if you can speak to some of the variables that are fueling child sexual abuse.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, definitely. Um, this is where I’m gonna connect our, our, our work together. I, I need to, I need to differentiate between the root problem and fuel that gets thrown on the fire to really answer your question. So, so much of what we deal with in terms of secondary issues in our society, think things like suicide, mental health diagnosis, I mentioned eating disorders earlier, substance abuse. Those often are secondary issues, not always, but often are secondary issues for early childhood trauma.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: And what I mean by that is something happened, uh, when that person was in early childhood, that was traumatic and didn’t get dealt with in a healthy and productive way. And the result is they turned to other things to deal with their pain, to help them, uh, move forward in their life. Even if that thing that they chose was unhealthy or unproductive.

 

And so, um, that’s really the root and child sexual abuse is one of them. It’s not the only one. The big three of early childhood trauma are, uh, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. Uh, there are others. I mean, even a child, you know, going through a parent’s divorce can be very traumatic or death, or a loved one. So it’s not that it’s only those three, but those are the big three.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. 

 

Chris Yadon: Then what happens is, in some cases, there are other things that kind of take that fire that’s burning and, and throw fuel on it. And from our perspective, when, uh, a, an individual is exposed to porn and they are a survivor of childhood trauma, particularly sexual, uh, abuse trauma, it can take that small flame and turn it into an enormous flame. And, uh, and if they’re using, uh, porn to cope with that trauma, it can really make that porn use compulsive.

 

And it becomes their go-to coping mechanism, uh, to deal with that trauma or conversely if a, a child’s, uh, dealing with trauma, uh, particularly a think a young teen, if they’re exposed to porn, it can actually be the flame or fire, uh, or sorry, the flame or fuel that takes them from their trauma to actually perpetrating on another. It can introduce the, uh, craving or desire to go perpetrate against another. And so porn plays a key role in child sexual abuse in that it can be a major fuel to that, that fire that’s burning from that early childhood trauma. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Just to reiterate kind of what you said. It’s like, there’s a term, a theory out there, and it’s a, it’s a famous theory by a famous psychologist and it’s a social learning theory and it suggests that new behavior can be adopted by simply observing and imitating others. And so why I bring that up is because you said that porn consumption can lead the consumer to acting out in ways that he or she wouldn’t have beforehand. And so again, that’s to say that porn consumption can correlate to a, a consumer’s behavior.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, and I think it’s really important for listeners to know that most porn consumers do not sexually abuse children, but it’s rare that, uh, an individual that sexually abuses children is not a porn consumer.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That’s an important clarification. Thank you for sharing them. So, as you’ve worked with women through their trauma, and they’ve expressed that porn was involved in their abuse, can you talk to some specific examples of how it was used or how it was involved in their abuse?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, definitely. I, I think I, I should probably start with a couple of statistics, so just let these statistics sink in and then get specific. So 59% of us teens have experienced at least one form of abusive online behavior. And that typically involves some sort of sexually explicit materials being passed, whether that’s amongst themselves, such as sharing nudes or whether it’s one person sharing sexually explicit materials with another. 93% of re reported online perpetrators request images from a child or a young person.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Would you repeat ask that again? I didn’t register for me.

 

Chris Yadon: 93% have reported online perpetrators request images from a child or young person. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. 

 

Chris Yadon: So, you know, you see another connection to porn there that those that are perpetrating are, are seeking out child porn specifically at a, at a high level, in terms of online perpetrators. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: Um, think about, I could go on an share just a couple more just cuz I think it really is a salient point, but of adolescence that are abused online, 71.9% of them had sent a nude of themselves the preceding year.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay.

 

Chris Yadon: So you see all these interconnections between porn, the use of porn to facilitate perpetration or porn, um, being a part of the perpetration itself, or even if we categorize something ascending, nudes is not pornographic. Um, the fact that a, a nude of a, an adolescent or a child is being shared as part of perpetration, shows the connection between porn and child sexual abuse. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. 

 

Chris Yadon: It’s very rare nowadays that sexual abuse does not include some sort of digital interaction.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Wow. Some of those stats leave me speechless. You know, I know these things exist, but once you start hearing these stats, it’s like, “Goodness gracious.”

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s really, it it’s, it’s disturbing when we first hear it and it should be.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: Um, but what we have to do as a society and part of societal change is accept that there’s a problem. Take our focus off of it being disturbing and say, “Okay, how are we gonna deal with this? What can we do? We are not powerless. There are things we can do to reduce the risk for our children.” And we need to focus on the solutions and in those solutions, frankly is a lot of hope.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

 

Chris Yadon:  It’s not all bad news. I mean, the stats are horrific.

 

Garrett Jonsson: But the fact that the stats exist, I guess it’s good news, you know, cause the research is being done so that we can move forward.

 

Chris Yadon: Exactly. It’s all part of the equation and we’re not gonna celebrate ever how many kids are being abused in America, but we are gonna celebrate the fact that research is exposing it, society is starting to accept it and that we have solutions to actually implement that can make a difference.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. I think one of the common responses to hearing about the truths, like the, the eye-opening stats that we cover is like a fear-induced paralysis where it’s like, “Goodness.”, you kind of just want to shut down and be like, is this really the world we live in? But I, I appreciate that you have acknowledged that and then encouraged us and the listeners to get past that and be part of the solution.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. And I, I think part of the solution starts with, with your organization and ours. I mean, you think about the combined resources that are on your website and our website, which is Saprea.org, spelled SAPREA. There is amazing resources for parents to engage with. There’s amazing resources for youth to engage with that can actually move the needle on this problem. And the cool thing is they’re free.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. We’ll definitely include links in the episode notes so that our listeners can easily access your website to, you know, learn more about Saprea and what you’re up to. We’ve kind of talked already about some of the long term symptoms of trauma. We haven’t talked as much about some of the short term, um, symptoms of trauma. Because you and the organization have worked with so many individuals that have experienced this and then worked through it. I’m wondering if you can speak a little bit more to some of the shorter term symptoms of trauma. And I think that by doing this, it will help us as listeners to be more aware of our surroundings, our circles, so that we can be a safer space for when people do experience the abuse, they have someone to open up to. Right? We can just, we can identify some of the, those telltale signs. If that makes sense.

 

Chris Yadon: Yes. Yeah. Thank you. And thanks for bringing this up. So here’s the, here’s the diff the most difficult thing for, for parents in particular, uh, with short term symptoms, is there the, the, the physical or behavioral symptoms of a child being sexually abused can be explained away by a lot of other factors in life, puberty and the hormone changes that go on there, uh, or stage development and early childhood development, “Hey, they’re just going through a stage.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

 

Chris Yadon: What, what parents need to know about the signs. So I’ll just give you a simple example. Um, a babysitter comes over and your child is scared. That could be, “Hey, there’s some attachment things. The child doesn’t want mom and dad to leave that, that, you know, that’s a normal development issue.” It also could be “That babysitter is sexually abusing your child.”

 

So the key for parents isn’t to automatically go from zero to my child’s being sexually abused when they see an erratic behavior, the key is for parents to notice these are these behaviors that seem off or odd and to dig a little deeper. Um, and not when I say dig, I’m not saying like, sit the kid, the child down and just grill. ’em not actually, if they’re being abuse could probably do more harm, but to, um, elevate their, um, their radar to what’s going on around that child’s life. And are there other signs that they see? So for example, with the teen, uh, straight a student doing great knocking outta the park, all of a sudden motivation dives, no longer getting good grades, don’t doesn’t want to hang out with friends that could be a hormone shift as a result of puberty. It could also be that they were sexually assaulted. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: And, and so the key is for the parent to, um, make it a safe place to open dialogue with the child, give the child the words to say what’s happening to them. And this is why we emphasize so much discussions around sexual health between parents and children, so that when those moments come, the parent can quickly, uh, and decisively discern “Is my child going through some sort of normal development cycle or is my child being abused?” I, I will give a couple of, uh, answers to your question that are a little more tangible. So you talk about short term impacts a child who is sexually abused is 40% more likely to drop out of school. So you think about the impact that has long term, but, but you know, even just the short term impact.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: Right? 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: They’re more likely to isolate, which is something you brought up earlier.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: They show, um, they show, uh, behaviors when people are around them that make ’em uncomfortable, that are out of the norm or out of their normal cycle. Those are some of the short term impacts that parents, you know, should be aware of and can pay attention to.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. That makes sense. Thank you for sharing some of those speaking to how we as parents and caregivers can protect our kids, help them be safer, both in the real world and online, speaking to the online portion are, do you have any softwares or services that you partner with or recommend that can help us as parents and caregivers keep our kids safer online?

 

Chris Yadon: No, not necessarily. We, we have some, um, some partners that have solutions, but we don’t, uh, actively promote the solutions. What we actively promote is education for parents, for them to learn how to make those choices. So rather than say, “Hey, use this website.” or this filter or this phone, um, we encourage parents to take control of their child’s development and where the risks are. Let me give you an example. We do have a partner they’re actually in the same building of us Gabb wireless. They have a great first phone technology. Uh, uh, we aren’t necessarily gonna say, “Hey, parents, that’s the only phone you should use.” It’s a great, great option. Um, but what we are gonna do instead is say, “Hey, parents, um, managing technology is really, really important.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. 

 

Chris Yadon: you need to learn what are the risks of technology and how to manage that with your child. And that’s true, whether you give ’em a full smartphone with all its capabilities, or you give them a phone, like a gab phone that has, uh, only the necessary capabilities for that child to communicate, right. Uh, in, in a, in a meaningful way, both are great solutions, the key is that the parent engages.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, yeah. Nothing, no software should replace a healthy relationship, or it can’t replace a healthy relationship or healthy conversations.

 

Chris Yadon: Exactly. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Speaking of relationships and conversations between caregivers, parents, and children, we Fight the New Drug we encourage parents and caregivers to talk to their kids about pornography early and ideally before the first time exposure. And one of the reasons why is because it again helps them be more competent to be able to navigate the situations when they are exposed to pornography. And I’m just wondering if you can talk to, or give some advice about how us as parents and caregivers can talk to our kids about intimacy, healthy sex, and also the harmful effects of pornography? Like what is, what should that look like? 

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. This is an awesome question. This is an area again, where we, as, as organizations are lockstep with one another. Discussing sexual development in age appropriate ways, but early in age appropriate ways is essential to reducing the risk that our child will be sexually abused, and reducing the risk that our child will abuse another. So we have five factors, uh, that we encourage parents to follow, to reduce the risk of sexual abuse and discuss sexual development is one of those five. So I’m gonna highlight us, I’m, I’m gonna use a story to make the point, and then I’ll answer your question specifically of how parents can tackle it. So, um, my now 21 year old daughter, uh, was in sixth grade and she came home and I had come home from work and I was, um, putting some things away in my closet and she walks in and says, “Dad, what does the word prostitute mean? I know it has something to do with sex.” And she said, “I heard it on the playground today.” Sixth grade. 

 

So just put that into context.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Like 12 or 11.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. And, and think about how abnormal that conversation is in a good way. Abnormal sixth grade girl asking her dad a question about sex, specifically, a word that she knows has to do with sex. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: the only reason that happened is because we had had hundreds of conversations, age, appropriate conversations with her before that. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: And considered the alternative. If she went and Googled the word prostitute

 

Garrett Jonsson: That’d be a bad scenario.

 

Chris Yadon: That’s a very bad scenario. Right? She is gonna end up on all sorts of porn or at least high risk sites. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. 

 

Chris Yadon: As a sixth grade girl. And so the fact that the lines of communication were open, allowed me as a parent to educate her in an environment that didn’t, that did not use shame to discuss sexual development. And it allowed me to help give her accurate information rather than her seeking it through Google or her friends or some other place, because she will get an answer to her question. That’s something we know about kids. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: And we want that to be with parents. So that’s why this principle is so, so critical. And so how do you do it? Um, this is probably too long of an answer that isn’t really conducive to a podcast. So I’m gonna give a small part of it and then reference, uh, some resources on our website.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. 

 

Chris Yadon: So we, we divide, uh, children into age groups and we provide very specific resources of what you talk about as it relates to sexual development at each age, for example, in those youngest toddler years, you’re talking about the body bodily autonomy, uh, you’re talking about boundaries and this can backfire on you. One other quick story. My, uh, youngest daughter, she climbs up on the counter when she’s about three years old and we were like, “You need to get off the counter.” And she’s like, “No, it’s my body. And I’m in charge.” 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

 

Chris Yadon: Right? So…  

 

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] That’s a good thing.

 

Chris Yadon: It’s a great thing. Yeah. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: That’s awesome. 

 

Chris Yadon: Right. It’s a great thing. Why was she saying that? Because she was starting to digest our discussions around bodily autonomy. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: I love that. 

 

Chris Yadon: We’re, we’re not, we’re not talking about sexual intercourse with a three year old that’s not necessary or, or age appropriate, but by the time our kids turn age eight, we’re having extensive discussions about porn and we’re giving them the basic discussion about sexual intercourse. We’re having what many people refer to as “the big talk”. But the key for parents to understand is if all you do is the big talk. It’s not gonna be sufficient. It’s all the little talks in between. It, it it’s discussing bodily autonomy and boundaries and, and why we respect our, our sibling when they say no, all those preparation discussions. And then the, the after discussions of the big talk of, “Hey, you’re about to hit puberty and here’s, what’s gonna change. And, and you’re about to go dating. And, you know, your first year of dating is when you’re most at risk for sexual assault. So let’s talk about dating safety.” and da, da, da, right? You kind of get the idea. It has to be a continuous conversation. It can’t be, oh, I, I did the big talk. We’re good. Check that box. Move on. It has to be continuous dialogue. And the last thing I’ll say on it is this, uh, I speak regularly. And so I, I keep track of how many dialogue opportunities I have with my kids for two weeks. Up, up before speaking engagement, I had one just this last weekend I had, I, I counted 15 separate, in a two week period, opportunities to talk about healthy sexual development in that two week period.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. 

 

Chris Yadon: 15. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That shows how many we should be having. 

 

Chris Yadon: Yep, exactly. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: I like that. Thank you for sharing. That was like, it was a great answer and such good insight. I think the most beautiful thing that I pulled from it is the, the fact that you have had hundreds of conversations and that facilitated the level of intimacy for your sixth grade daughter to come home and ask you the question.

 

Chris Yadon: Yep. And I’ve got five more stories like that I could tell, but it’s, it’s awesome. It works.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. What are the resources you were gonna mention?

 

Chris Yadon: Oh, so yeah, at suprea.org under, under our prevention section, you’re gonna find as one of the main sections under there, uh, talking about healthy sexual development as a key risk reducer. So if, if people go on that part of the website, they’re gonna find a lot of good content materials, educational materials about how to talk to their kids about sex and make it easier. But also those specific resources I was mentioning that says, what do we talk about at each age? So, you know, as your listeners drill down there, we we’re gonna make it easier for them. They have to do the work. They have to have the conversations, they have to embrace the awkward that can sometimes be there when you start that conversation, but we’re gonna make it easier for you to have that dialogue. And we even have some resources that they can consume with their children to help fill, facilitate dialogue.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay, great. We’ll make sure to include those in the episode notes.

 

Chris Yadon: Awesome. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: I think one of the cool things about hearing from you is that, or at least one of the hopes that I have is that our listeners can walk away from this episode with increased empathy for the, for our kids, for the kids that we care for. And I think that education and awareness can be one of the tools that allows us to have increased empathy, because if we don’t know that the problem exists, the empathy really can’t exist either. Right? 

 

Chris Yadon: That’s right. And you know, a big part of that empathy is when we, as parents recognize that we all grew up with, with porn and sexual abuse of some form, but both are intensifying and fighting and what our children are facing and battling is extremely difficult. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: And our empathy should lead to action, uh, in the sense that we need to empower them with the tools, right. We need to feel for what they’re experiencing feel for how difficult it is. We need to have that part of the empathy, but the empathy that leads to action is just as critical. It says, “I’m the parent here, I’m the adult. And I need to empower my children to be successful in this world they’re living in.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I love that. We’ve already talked to this a little bit, Chris, but I’m wondering if you can talk to it a little bit more so that we can become more aware of the following because when we talk about sexual abuse, oftentimes our mind goes to physical sexual abuse. And I’m just wondering if you can talk to a little bit more about the forms of like the non-contact forms of sexual abuse, um, and give some more examples of what that might look like?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. The highest level you can put it in a, a few categories, uh, you have voyeurism, so that’s where someone forces, uh, themselves on you. Maybe you’re walking by ’em and they expose themselves to you, uh, that that’s not as common, but does happen. And we consider that a form of sexual abuse. Uh, another form would be, uh, sexting and, uh, sexting certainly can be consensual, but when it comes to minors, uh, sharing sexually explicit materials, uh, is, uh, not only illegal, um, but can do a lot of harm. So you have that, aspect of it. Um, then you also have, uh, using sexually explicit content as a way to groom for physical abuse. So that occurs quite a bit when, uh, a perpetrator is grooming a child or a teen for abuse is they purposefully expose them to sexually explicit materials. Uh, usually in a digital way.

 

Uh, the last one I’d kind of highlight is one that’s growing right now and, and catching some attention, and that is sextortion. Where, uh, maybe, maybe a nude was shared in a consensual way. And albeit that, that that’s not ideal, then the individual on the other side uses that, uh, the threat of, uh, exposing that nude to broad audiences to extort what they want out of the, the individual on the other side. So all those are really, really I’d say solid examples of sexual abuse that doesn’t necessarily require a physical touch. And the thing that, uh, your listeners, uh, should understand is from a clinical standpoint, it can have just as much of a traumatic impact as the physical touch forms of sexual abuse. It can be just as devastating. It can drive just as much shame it can lead into just as much post-traumatic stress. So, you know, some people like to get really picky as they research sexual abuse and say, “Hey, we should only count it when it, it involves touch.”, but from a, an impact on the survivor side, there’s really not a huge difference between sexual abuse that involves touch and sexual abuse that, uh, is, uh, uh, absent of that touch. But, but, but still causes the harm. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right? Yeah. There’s a lot of ways to define trauma. Um, one of the ways to define trauma is how kind of how our body responds, the, the systems within our body, how it responds to something. And so I can totally understand how, whether it’s physical, or non-physical the systems within our body can respond in very similar ways.

 

Chris Yadon: Exactly. And, you know, some people that are sexually abusing a physical way, don’t develop post-traumatic stress. Some people that are sexually abused in a digital way do develop post-traumatic stress. So the, the response and the lasting impacts depend on a lot of factors beyond the incident itself. I think the key is to recognize that it is that individual experience and how they process what happened more defines whether there’s traumatic impacts than the nature of the event.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. Yeah. That makes sense. So, as we’re speaking about the online forms or the non-physical forms of sexual abuse, you mentioned that there has been an increase in regards to sextortion, and I’m just wondering if you can, if there’s like empirical work or any type of research out there that shows that there is an increase in not only sextortion, but the other forms you mentioned, like in the recent past, has there been an increase in these forms of sexual abuse?

 

Chris Yadon: Um, so I don’t have a really good stat in front of me to give you the statistical, uh, answer to that question. Um, I could probably track it down, but let me give you some other information that helps make sense of it. So when it comes to sextortion, the key for sextortion is the ability for the person that’s sextorting to be able to spread it to a broad based audience. And you have to have digital means to do that, to actually hold the threat over the individual. Of course, you could have sextortion in 1983, where, uh, there was, you know, a Polaroid nude that says, you know, and the person says, “I’m gonna share this amongst the school.”, but the, the scale of the impact for someone that says, “Hey, I’ve got this nude of you, and I’m gonna upload it to this site that’s gonna be viewed by millions of people.”, is… both are horrific, but, our ability based on today’s technology to extort someone that way is greater, and that’s why we’re seeing a rise. You’re also seeing a rise, um, in the media’s attention to it. Uh, so awareness that it goes on is growing as well.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. It, it, it comes down to the technology has changed so drastically. And so that’s, that’s changed everything.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. I’ll share. I will share a couple of stats that I think that are related. Uh, here’s one 90% of teens believe online harassment in sextortion could be part of that is a problem among their peers.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. 

 

Chris Yadon: So it, most teens see this online harassment, uh, whether it’s, you know, cyber bullying all the way to sex extortion as a problem among their peers. uh, then you take in, uh, into consideration the stat of, of nudes, which I shared some earlier, and here’s one more of adolescents abused online. 71.9% have sent a nude of themselves the preceding year.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That shows the prevalence of…

 

Chris Yadon: So you see how they’re, they’re correlated and interacting with one another. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

 

You mentioned how awareness is part of the solution. And I’m just curious if you can speak to other ways that we can fight this issue of child sexual abuse, both physical and nonphysical.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. The key ingredients to fighting a societal issue like this. Uh, I always like to divide it into three, three key ingredients. The first is the awareness that we’ve already talked about. The second is the positive peer pressure. And you might say this as part of awareness, but I, separated out on purpose. What the positive peer pressure is, is the neighbor talking to their neighbor about an issue and saying, “Hey, I’m doing something about this. What are you doing?”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: Or the, you know, two coworkers at lunch saying, “Hey, this thing’s going on at my kid’s school. This is what we’re doing to intervene. Do you have any advice?”, that positive peer pressure is extremely important to bring about societal change and fight and issue like abuse. And then the third piece is once people are aware of it, whether it’s through that grassroots, positive peer pressure or a huge media awareness campaign, do we give parents somewhere to go, to, to act on it?

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

 

Chris Yadon: And that’s where the educational resources are so critical. So all the other things that go on think policy work and legislation, uh, educating in schools, uh, educating in, um, uh, healthcare communities, all of those things that surround the home are very valuable. If mom and or dad are engaged in home at home in the topic.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

 

Chris Yadon: If mom or dad are not engaged in at the home, those other peripherals will never move the needle. You can’t legislate your way out of this problem.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

 

Chris Yadon: So we have to give mom and dad the educational resources to not only learn how to reduce the risk that their child will be abused or abused another, but make ’em accessible and easy for them to implement. So they can have those hundreds, thousands of conversations during the, the growing up years of their child. That’s how we move the needle. 

 

Then all those peripherals, the legislation, the education system, the healthcare systems, all the work they’re doing to address sexual abuse become very powerful support systems to that home. But the key is to get to mom and dad with that educational material. So awareness, broad based awareness, you know, whether through social media, mainstream media, whatever, that positive peer pressure, and then we’ve gotta have the educational materials ready to go. When mom and dad say, “Oh, this is something I need to pay attention to. What do I do?”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

 

Chris Yadon: And, and that, that those are the three ingredients to moving the needle and fighting child sexual abuse.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Those are great ingredients. We’ve had to cover some, you know, heavy things as we talk about this, as we come to the realization of what the current landscape is, it can be a heavy thing and it can cause us to feel like down, and discouraged. And so it’s good to have those, those three things that we can do to move the needle, to be part of the solution.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. Uh, we’ve gotta take back back our power as parents on this issue. And, and, and as collective parents, as a society, the great news and the positive is once we get over that initial lump in our stomach, is we can do something. We have the tools we need to actually make a difference.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: In our home and in our immediate communities. Right. And everybody doing their part collectively coming together, one neighborhood, a hood at a time, one parent at a time, one household at a time, one school at a time creates a societal change. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. 

 

Chris Yadon: So we don’t have to just sit with that pit in our stomach and say, “Hey, this is horrible. And I wish it weren’t.” So even if that’s true, we can quickly turn that to, “Hey, I, I’m a little bent about this. I’m a little angry about this. This is horrible. This pit in my stomach, I’m gonna do something about it in my sphere of influence and I have the resources to do it.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. That’s a beautiful thing. Well, speaking of the hopeful side, I’m wondering if you can share with us some, one or two success stories of women who have benefited from Saprea’s help?

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. I’d be happy to, I wanna, I, I wanna share a, a prevention, success story and then a healing success story, if that’s okay?

 

Um, the prevention success story, I’m gonna go close to home. Um, just because I have a better lens there, and I’m gonna talk about my 21 year old daughter. This is that same daughter that had the, the prostitute conversation. She was on a dating website in her first year of college. And it got propositioned on that dating website to hook up with somebody. And, um, he, she never met this guy. Um, but, but his, his, his first request was to hook up with her and in that dating environment, in that first year of college, which is a high risk period for sexual assault, an empowered individual can keep themselves safe. So she’s a little snarky.You have to understand that, and snarky in a good way.

 

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] 

 

Chris Yadon: So she, she, she did a choose your own adventure cuz along with the hook hookup, he at least offered ice cream. Right? So, um, she, so she said, “You can choose one of these three things.” The first thing she offered up is she said, “You can engage with me over ice cream, and that’s it.” Right? The second one that she offered up was, uh, “My dad is involved in a foundation that reduces the risk of sexual abuse, so for me to hook up with you would be a high risk behavior.” [laughter]

 

Garrett Jonsson: Nice. 

 

Chris Yadon: And then the third option she said was, “How many girls has this worked on?” Right. So little choose your own adventure. [laughter] obviously she was being a little snarky.

 

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

 

Chris Yadon: She was never gonna meet up with this guy. Right?

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. 

 

Chris Yadon: But she, she kind of put it back at him and he chose option three and said, you know, went into a little bit of a sob story of how he’d never done this before. And you know, he’d just broken up with his girlfriend. But the, the point being is you think about a college age girl might be a little lonely. Um, in her first year of college, someone says, “Hey, do you wanna grab ice cream and hook up?” If she says, yes, the risk that she’ll be sexually assaulted is pretty high.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. 

 

Chris Yadon: Um, but because of those thousands of conversations, she knew how to deal with that situation. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. 

 

Chris Yadon: She knew how to deal with it so well that she even felt like she could be a little snarky with it. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: For sure. Yep. 

 

Chris Yadon: And, and so that, that’s a, that’s an example of TW well, in this case she was 18 at the time. So 18 years worth of work came to fruition in that moment.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

 

Chris Yadon: And there are a lot of wins before that, but I use it to highlight a success story for prevention.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Kudos to you as a parent and to your daughter for the level of competence that she has- it’s so cool.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. And, and I’m gonna give her the credit, right? Because we, as parents provide the tools, we work hard, we do our part, but she chose to accept it. Right? 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

 

Chris Yadon: She and she chose to engage in those tools. Let me share an example. On the healing side, we had a, a woman come to us by the name of Fire. She was really in a, a rough spot in, in her words, she described it this way. She said “My life was hell.” She had struggled in her career, had struggled with some relationships, uh, was really down in her life. She, uh, engaged in one of our healing services. And we got to engage with her for four years after that, um, in, in various ways. And she tells her story four years later about what, what we refer to as her post-traumatic growth and her post traumatic growth looked like this. In those four years, she returned to school and finished her nursing degree, and was now practicing as a hospice nurse. She was able to get married and enter a healthy relationship. And she had a healthy relationship. She was able to reengage in her faith, which was important to her. She was able to, um, not only get married, but, uh, two weeks after we had had this dialogue or before we had had this dialogue with her, she had her first child.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Okay.

 

Chris Yadon: So her life went from complete shambles in four little, over four years from complete shambles to college, graduate contributing to society productively as a nurse, in a healthy relationship and fulfilling her desire to be a Mom. And, um, that’s post-traumatic growth.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

 

Chris Yadon: And I’m gonna use her words. So she participated in what we refer to as our retreat program. Uh, she said, “None of this would’ve happened if it wasn’t for the retreat.”

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. What a beautiful thing.

 

Chris Yadon: That’s, that’s what we, that’s what 37% reduction in post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic stress and 45% increase in wellbeing. That’s what equates to it. That’s post-traumatic growth.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. I love that. One of my favorite phrases in life is that moments of bliss are not free and Fire… her name is Fire, you said?

 

Chris Yadon: Yep. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Fire. She paid the price and she, she did the work to make that happen. And that’s an amazing feat.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah. Super cool. We didn’t heal her. We don’t heal people. Uh, we give the tools, we empower ’em with what they need. They do the hard work and, and that’s healing.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right. You’re just there to facilitate the healing, but they have to do it right.

 

Chris Yadon: Yep. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. What a beautiful thing. Well, you mentioned your healing services, you mentioned your, your retreat program. I’m wondering if you can speak to the application process in case some of our listeners want to apply or participate in some of your services.

 

Chris Yadon: Yeah, definitely. So, uh, one of the keys with our application process is we, we, we do, uh, a process that helps the individual decide whether the retreat is right for them. Uh, because individuals with sexual abuse can be at different stages in their healing. And the stage that we support is the long term recovery from the post-traumatic stress. So for individuals that are dealing more with acute issues, or they’re just trying to stabilize, we’re probably not the right fit for ’em, but if they’re stable, meaning, uh, they’re living life day to day, but they’re dealing with the impacts of post-traumatic stress, then our processes or our, our services are, are perfect for them. If they’re ready to deal with that long term post traumatic stress. And so, uh, they go right onto our website at Saprea.org. And it’s very easy to find cuz we, we carve things out by healing versus prevention versus some other things.

 

And under healing, they’re gonna have the, uh, a section called the Saprea retreat. They go and fill out a very simple form and that triggers our intake team to start the intake process, which includes an application that application, uh, asks, uh, pretty typical questions around physical and mental health. Not, not a whole lot different than what you might fill out if you went to a doctor’s office. And then from there, uh, we, as we assess the responses, in some cases, if we have questions, we’ll set up a screening call with one of our clinicians. If, uh, we don’t have any questions, then we will, uh, shift them right into our retreat selection process. So they get a choose from, uh, certain dates in either our Utah or Georgia locations. And then, uh, once they’ve locked that in, then, uh, we, we get ’em the packet and everything that they need to prepare, uh, for that date to start the retreat. So it’s a, a relatively simple process for some, it takes a little time to work through because they, you know, they experience anxiety around it and we’re willing to go through that journey with them. But, uh, we’re ready when you’re ready is my, uh, my, my message to anybody that’s a survivor of child sexual abuse. That’s an adult woman who has abused as a child. We’re ready when you’re ready. And for the men out there, um, we’re working to be ready for you and we will be ready in the future.

 

Garrett Jonsson: That’s great. What can our listeners do to support Saprea?

 

Chris Yadon: You know, like, like anything it’s not a whole lot different than the support you need to Fight the New Drug we need people’s megaphone, uh, people that are willing to use their megaphone to get the message out. And just like you’re doing today for us, the fact that you’re hosting us on this podcast is using your megaphone to get our message out. And, um, that’s huge. That’s huge for us. And I’m very grateful that you would do it. So we need people’s megaphone. We need people that are willing to volunteer. There’s all sorts of volunteer opportunities, and we need funding. And I a venture to guess that find a new drug needs the same three things.

 

Garrett Jonsson: Right? Yep. Go. I think every nonprofit probably needs those three things.

 

Chris Yadon: Yep. 

 

Garrett Jonsson: So, awesome. Well, again, we’ll include the links and the episode notes for the listeners that wanna learn more about trauma and, and navigate that whole process of applying to retreats and other services you have. So we’ll make sure to do that. I want leave you with the opportunity to have the last word during this conversation. Is there anything on your heart or mind that you’d like to share?

 

Chris Yadon: I, I think I just wanna reiterate something I’ve already shared and that is there’s there’s horror when it comes to sexual abuse, but it’s not all horror. Uh, there’s like anything in this world there there’s the opposite side and that’s hope. And, uh, there is a lot of hope around the issue of sexual abuse.

 

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Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

 

Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug.

 

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

 

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