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When "pornography" and "women" appear in the same sentence in Christian circles, the topic is usually pastors' wives or former porn stars. But for an estimated one in six women in the U.S., the topic is themselves. Crystal Renaud—whose own addiction started at age 10 after finding a magazine in her brother's bathroom—wants to dispel the idea that porn is only a men's problem. With the 2009 launch of Dirty Girls Ministries, she has given female addicts a place of confession, accountability, and healing. The Kansas City-based ministry also provides churches with biblically based tools to minister to women addicts in their midst.

Porn's effects are well chronicled, and the alienation and shame it creates are no respecter of gender. But Renaud, currently working toward certification with the American Association of Christian Counselors, believes men and women turn to it with different needs. "Many count women out as porn addicts, because they aren't known for being visually stimulated," she says. "But as emotional beings, women often seek porn as a way to escape and receive a false sense of intimacy." Through support groups online and in Kansas City, and speaking and online resources, Dirty Girls Ministries helps women escape secrecy's stranglehold and encounter the healing touch of Christ.

Says Renaud, "It's my hope that every woman who struggles with porn, thinking she's alone, would discover that she's not."

Question & Answer

How did you escape porn addiction?

When I was 18, an unsuspecting friend confided that she had struggled with pornography in her past. Author Jon Acuff calls this "the gift of going second." It's when a person reveals something so that you have the freedom to share. At that moment, I had a choice: ...

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April 2010

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