Calgary—Dr. Stephen Dane ZoBell and Dr. Lye Larson, addressing the topics of pornography and family violence respectively, were two of the excellent speakers at the REAL Women Convention in April.

Both Alberta residents, they bought new insights to topics already painfully familiar to people active in the pro-life, pro-family field.  Both men are husbands and fathers, both are concerned about the well-being of the family.

Dr. SoBell,  a charted psychologist, is also a director of the Parent Support Association of Calgary.  Dr. Larson, a professor of sociology at the Univerisity of Alberta, teachers courses in marriage and family relationships.  Dr. Larson a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta,   teaches, courses in marriage and family relationships and is on the National Council of Family Relations.


In his talk on Pornography, Dr. ZeBell pointed out that the sexual attitudes of our times grew out of early twentieth-century challenges to the Victorian attitude toward sexuality, which were unreasonably harsh.

“We have, in fact over corrected for the Victorian attitude,” he said.  “What we have now is permissive sex, liberal sex, often sexuality, out of control.”

These trends contribute to and feed on pornography, which can thrive in such an atmosphere.

Interim readers, as well aware that. As Dr. ZeBall noted “There are no how-to books on avoiding pornography or controlling sexual feelings.” Although thousands of self-help books are published, it is rare to-day to see sexual self-control, rare to see programs that focus on abstinence and sexual self-management.

But pornography and sexually—explicit manuals about, compounding the problems of many people who are already suffering from the toxic effects of excessively permissive attitudes toward sexual activity and expression.

In his practice, Dr. ZoBell sees many clients who may not realize their inner turmoil relates to their desperate efforts to bring their out-of control sexual appetites into harmony with their interior values.

He has become aware that these people harmed, no helped, by the current liberal attitude in society and among therapists, and by the lack of support for sexual self-management and self control.

These groups and individuals continuing to press for more restrained sexual expression are offering hope to society at large, as well as to individuals with specific sex problems., he noted.

“As individuals, and as a society, we must take very seriously the results of sexuality out of control.  The economic costs, the social costs and the personal costs are immense “ he stressed.

Often people are persuaded that in a pluralistic society they must express their values too loudly.

“You do have a right to state your personal values, to assert your personal opinions, and to have your values addressed,  Dr. ZoBell reminded his listeners.
“You also have a responsibility to yourself, your neighbour, and the next generation, to keep pornographic pollution to a minimum, to work for a more wholesome society, he added.

After describing some approaches that have been less than successful, and outling others that can be effective, Dr. ZoBell assured his listeners:  If you care, you can be informed, if you know and you can be informed.  If you know and you care, you can be informed.  If you know and you care, you can be informed.   If you care, you can take a firm stand, and you can make a difference.

Family Violence
In addressing the subject of family violence, Dr. Lyle Larson made clear that all forms of domestic violence are increasing.

Some members of his well-informed audience expressed concern that the studies he used were the inflated “propaganda statistics” of the “one man in ten beats up his partner” nature.  It would appear though, that few other studies are available. “We have what I believe to be a crisis of reason in our society.  Our world has suddenly become a place where you cannot report results that might influence some group in a negative way, Dr. Larson observed”.

He went on to explain that some researchers have been subjected to harassment and threats of physical harm when they published politically incorrect work.  Some persist, like Jay Belsky, who researches the negative effects of long-term day care on children.  Others have been silenced.  This problem was noted by the editor of  Contemporary Families, a summary of research on topics related to family, who observed, “These days most scholars hesitate to publish articles on battered husbands.”

Nevertheless, though not widely acknowledged today, violence by women is on the increase, both violence toward children and violence toward male partners.

Dr. Larson also pointed out what many have long suspected but have been unable to confirm: Domestic violence among those who are cohabiting is distinctly higher than among those who are married.

In the minds of many in attendance, it is vital that all women be warned of the risks they undertake in entering into unmarried live-in relationships.  It is also imperative that churches emphasize with new urgency the traditional Christian teachings about marriage and cohabitation.

In suggesting remedies for the current epidemic of domestic violence, Dr. Larson acknowledges the continuing need for crisis centres, economic assistance, and counseling.  “But for the most part, this is not going to stem the tide,” he maintains.

He believes society must focus intently on the development of strong marriages as the most important factor in prevention.

“We must do a better job of preparing young people to choose the right marriage partners,” he says.  “Then it is essential to assist and support the newly married in every way possible.  With strong marriages and strong parents, we can eradicate this disease of violence from our households.”

The tapes of both talks are well worth hearing.  They are available at minimal cost from REAL Women of Canada, Box 8813, Station T, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3J1.