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A beautiful, courageous, somewhat nervous-making idea: naming your victims

Darren Cools (husband of Anna Cools, the proprietor of Roots Soap Co.) has foundedHer Name, a website built to honor women whose dignity was wounded through pornography.

It’s a simple, anonymous project:

If you want to add the name of a girl you have victimized by lust, please click the Add a Name button and enter her first name. If you remember her face but not her name, give her one. The form is completely anonymous and non-trackable. Use first names only.

Pornography is a grave affront against the personhood of the girl, woman, boy, or man on display — yes, even if he or she is willing and compliant.  I used to think this sounded like some kind of abstract sophistry — almost as if the Church wouldn’t admit that, deep down, it just has a big problem with sexy sexy sex, and is trying to come up with some kind of intellectual excuse for why porn is so bad.

I get it now, though. Porn is just one of the handier tools that the devil is using in this particular era to exterminate, to x out, to deny, to quash, to empty out souls. Even better: to get us to do that to each other. It is bar none the worst thing you can do to another person, to deny their humanity.

I am not sure if Her Name is the best possible way to remedy this. It won’t, of course, matter much to the actual girls and women who have been used; although I suppose they might see their names on the list and realize that at least one person out there recognizes what he has done. Anyway, it could be a great and powerful, genuinely humbling exercise for men (and others) to write down that name, to enter it in the rolls.

At the same time, it feels like there could be the tiniest grain of continued exploitation involved, even if the most benign and well-intentioned kind.  I’m not completely comfortable with the idea of assigning a name to an unknown girl, even if the intention is to honor her.  Naming is powerful, as this project clearly acknowledges — and implies control over the person named. Or am I thinking about it too hard?

Well, what do you think about Her Name?

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