Hey Fighters, Fight the New Drug Co-founder and President Clay Olsen, here.
A while ago, I wrote an article identifying Fight the New Drug’s position in several key areas, with a focus on defining what our movement isn’t. When it comes to the traditional anti-porn effort…we don’t always fit in. In this letter, I wanted to clarify some of those distinctions in a way that better illustrated how our movement was different. But as important as it is for everyone to know what we are not, I realize it’s even more important to emphasize who we are and what we are fighting for.
One of my favorite quotes that I use in almost every speaking event I do is from the author, Dan Millman in one of his books: “The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
So, what is the new that we are building together—what are we fighting for? When Fighters join our movement what exactly are they joining? Here are three important answers to that question.
1. We fight for real love.
Since the beginning of Fight the New Drug, we always considered our movement to be more pro-love than anti-porn. Ultimately, we promote, encourage, and endorse healthy, happy relationships. We don’t just want people to talk about real love, we want to see them live it out!
As pornography has infiltrated society more and more, it shouldn’t surprise us how confused many people end up being about love itself. Taking our cues from the endless sea of sexualized media around us, it’s easy for any of us to start thinking that loving someone is “pretty much” the same as being physically attracted or aroused. Of course, real romantic love includes appreciating the beauty of healthy sexual attraction and relationships. Our movement is about representing the very best sense of what it means to be “sex-positive.”
We believe healthy sexual relationships between two committed individuals in love is sexy, not one person and their computer screen. We fight because we believe love is worth fighting for. We have always had a strong culture of understanding love and relationships at Fight the New Drug because that’s how we view our purpose: fighting for love and avoiding its cheap imitations.
2. We fight for those being victimized.
The truth is, we are learning more and more from research and survivor stories about pornography’s inseparable link to many forms of sexual exploitation, including human sex trafficking. They are often woven together in ways that most people in society are completely unaware of. We’ve spoken with many people who have been trafficked, pimped into prostitution, and forced to perform in pornography. We have personally interviewed several porn stars who have admitted the kind of abuse, drug use, and coercion that goes on behind the scenes of a porn set.
And of course, there is another group of people who experience real hurt from the impact pornography has had on relationships with their loved ones: partners. We’ve heard their stories and will not forget the real pain these individuals suffer.
For all these reasons and more, we fight for those who are exploited and victimized. Fight the New Drug seeks to shine a light on these issues so that men, women, and children can break free.
3. We fight for the freedom of those who struggle.
For many different reasons, many thoughtful, sensitive, and good-hearted individuals have fallen into a habit of compulsively viewing pornography or other unwanted sexual behaviors. Through the Fortify community we helped to set up years ago, we’re equally committed to providing tools, resources, and education to those struggling with pornography for as long as they need, and as long as it takes.
Our mission has always been to educate society as a whole on the harms of porn, but for some, that information has come after a habit has already taken hold. We support and stand by anyone who is trying to rid their lives of pornography, regardless of how difficult their struggle may be or how unique their recovery journey looks.
These three points drive our daily actions here at Fight the New Drug.
We are consumed by them and we believe in our collective potential to truly create social change.
When I left my previous company in 2010 and decided to go full time with Fight the New Drug, I sat down and thought to myself: what does it mean to be a Fighter? On a piece of paper, I penned what later became known as the Fighter attributes.
In the hundreds of middle schools, junior highs, and high schools we visit, along with the millions of visitors who check out our website each year, we encourage each new Fighter to join this movement by reading these attributes which summarize what it means to be a part of this movement for love. From the foundation of FTND, these have been the core beliefs of our movement.
Check it out:
As a Fighter I am…
I have joined an army of determined individuals fighting for love and dedicated to helping others understand how pornography is affecting their lives.
I will respect the points of view of others just as I expect the same for my own.
I will respectfully promote my opinions and in the end allow others to choose for themselves.
A True Lover
I will immerse myself in the pursuit of real relationships and avoid their hollow counterfeits.
I will speak openly and raise awareness about the effects of pornography and the value of happy, healthy relationships.
I am willing to challenge the status quo. I will do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said regardless of what is popular.
I am confident enough in myself to be genuine and will avoid false imitations or masked presentations.
I am aware of the difficulty some may face in ridding their lives of pornography. Rather than harsh judgment, I will show patience and compassion in ways that help relieve shame.
I am committed to helping others find and keep love in their lives and help those in need.
Let’s fast forward to today.
We have been around for over a decade, and are amazed with the 5.2 million+ people who have joined the movement and the countless others who support us in their own unique ways. We couldn’t be more excited about this growth, and we are inspired by our Fighters across the world every day. This positive message is spreading quickly and our influence and impact are expanding to nearly all parts of the globe.
If you ever come visit our main offices, you wouldn’t be able to miss the flat-screen TV mounted in the middle of our main work area that cycles through the hundreds of images we receive through social media from Fighters across the world repping the movement. That’s how much we love you all. We’re inspired by your energy and commitment to help to spread the word that porn kills love and to fight for love.
– Clay Olsen
Co-Founder & President