With a mere few hours until Yom Kippur, are you prepared to make a significant move to effect the entire Klal Yisroel and increase Kedusha and purity in the world?
Let us tell you how you can.
Can you picture a dimly lit room, with a computer chair turned away from the door, and the person in it staring intently at the images on the computer screen in front of him? He or she is clicking incessantly, moving from screen to screen, all the while listening intently to the sounds coming from outside his door. Can it be that the garage gate is being lifted? Is anyone coming up? Are there keys jiggling outside the door?
Another thought goes through this person’s mind: “Where did the time go? Wasn’t I going to only check it out for only a few minutes? How can it be hours into the night already?” And another: “Why can’t I stop? Didn’t I promise myself to never again go on these website? It feels like I don’t have a choice anymore!”
Is this person you? If it’s not, can you imagine your brother, your husband or your best friend enslaved to image viewing on the computer screen? Did you know that an average person spends four years of his life staring down at a screen – phone, iPad, computer – and that is what’s considered a “normal” person; one without an obsessive compulsion to view (what is genteelly called) “dirty” and “inappropriate” images? Internet pornography is a phenomena of epic proportions, with over 400 million sites peddling its underworld offerings to 70 million visitors annually.
Are you of the opinion that the Jewish community has been spared?
Take the case of Chaim* (name has been changed to protect privacy): “I was addicted to pornography at a very high level, burning hours on the web, not working, not eating, and not sleeping; I was just attached to my laptop… when I realized that I lost control of myself and that I’m going to lose and ruin my family, I decided to stop, but I failed and failed…”
Of course, the internet is not the sole culprit responsible for polluting souls and ensnaring minds into the trap of so-called “adult entertainment”. Boruch* describes how it happened to him: “Till ninth grade I was extremely innocent, and then in the middle of the year I discovered a DVD! It was my first exposure to porn but definitely not the last. … In those first years I broke plenty of DVDs… Then came the internet, with the computer and the cellphone. I would stop in the middle of seder to go check out some shmutz and then right back to learning!”
Of the 70 million people paying a visit to an “inappropriate” site every year, 40 million keep coming back for more and become regulars. Their inability to stop resembles that of drug addicts and low-bottom drunks, and in fact, is a subject of a raging debate of whether compulsive viewing of pornography qualifies medically as an addiction. But addiction or not, dismissing this type of behavior as simply a “moral failure” and telling the tens of thousands in our community to “just quit it” has proven an utterly unsuccessful strategy.
How do we know the problem in the frum world is in the tens of thousands?
We are the founders of GuardYourEyes.com (GYE), a network dedicated to battling internet addiction and preserving the moral purity of our community world-wide. On GYE, we have 12,000 registered members, people like Chaim and Boruch, who have found the solution to – and the freedom from – their life-long struggles on our network.
Now, of course, not everyone who regularly watches pornography considers it a problem, even in the frum world. Of those who think they may have problem, a minority gather enough courage to seek a solution, and an even smaller fraction actually admit to needing outside help. Consider Adam*: “For years, the most difficult part of dealing with the problem was my conviction that I am a huge anomaly in the frum world, that I am uniquely flawed. Looking at your website, I realize that there are other frum people struggling with the same problem and that it is possible to overcome it.”
So what our membership numbers are telling us, is that the 12,000 people who have admitted to having a problem with adult materials on the internet, are just the tip of the iceberg. And this iceberg keeps getting bigger by the day.
Every day that goes by, another innocent soul gets sucked into the nether part of the world-wide web (the word “web” being very appropriate)! At Guard Your Eyes, we offer strong and effective tools and support to those who are willing to be pulled out. Says M.T., one of the veteran members and a man with a decades-long history of viewing pornography: “I never gave up but I also never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Now B”H, I do. With GYE’s help, I finally understand my situation and how to approach it. The date I joined GYE is a date I will never forget. Because of all that I went through, I will always look at my life in two parts: life before GYE and life since GYE – and what a different life it is! Finally, I feel confident that I have been given the tools with which to proceed.”
Developing and providing the tools of recovery, free of charge, is precisely what we’ve been up to for the last seven years. Our network is ever-expanding, catering to the English, as well as French, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Spanish speakers, via respective websites. With two distinct daily email newsletters; a vibrant forum of recovering people; on-line and over-the-phone conferences, classes and support groups; as well as variety of other tools, we stand tall against the tide of shmutz with which the internet accosts our brothers and sisters every day.
Yes, sisters, daughters, and wives, too. No one is immune. 28% percent of regular porn viewers are women, and in the frum world, the percentage is not much lower. GYE membership comprises Bais Yakov girls, newly-weds, and seasoned balabustas who have been unwittingly caught in the net of the digital sitra achara. Many wonderful success stories have been related to us by our female members. This is what Miri*, a Beis Yaakov girl, shared with us: “Two years ago, Hashem directed me to this website. When I first logged on, I thought there was no hope, having engaged in addictive/destructive behaviors for the majority of my life… At the time, I was at such a low point: I had been ‘found out’ by my parents and even the police had gotten involved; that is the extent to which I would chase pleasure – at all cost.
On GYE I found people who cared. They felt the same feelings as me, they were understanding and willing to talk… On the women’s side of the forum, each person has their own special story… Along with the chizuk emails, the 90-day goal, and one member of GYE in particular, I felt like I had been given another chance at life. This September I will be attending seminary. If you’d have asked me 2 years ago if this would have been possible…. Never. Ever. GYE made this dream a reality. I’ve still got a long way to go. But the path no longer seems so daunting knowing that I’ve got a whole website cheering me on! Thank you Guard Your Eyes for SAVING MY LIFE!”
At the same time, a lot of women struggle because of the issues that their husbands are having with internet shmutz. GYE has a network of resources dedicated to spouses in need of help and support as well.
In addition to helping those already in trouble, GYE offers a vast array of preventative tools, from filters and monitoring software, to educational and motivational materials. We work in close alliance with Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, other professional therapists and counselors, and addiction specialists. We employ an army of web-developers and support: our website undergoes regular changes to keep up with the ever-evolving world of technology, which we don’t believe is inherently bad – but can be dangerously misused in feeble or ignorant hands.
We are looking for partners in this important work of saving Jewish lives. Our annual fundraising campaign is wrapping up, and we’re still over 30% below our projected goal. Please join us before Yom Kippur and you can add this tremendous zechus to your list of merits before the Gates of Heaven close with the final verdict tomorrow night. What can be more powerful a zechus than acquiring a share in the Teshuvah of thousands?
By partnering with us, you also will share in all the gratitude directed towards us by the people whose lives we’ve helped gain back. Let them speak for themselves:
Thank you for the amazing thing you guys are doing and for literally saving a life! – Mordi
Thank you for returning a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a Jew to Klal Yisroel! – Asher
May you continue saving precious neshomos from the tumah pulling at us! – Devorah
I am so grateful for what you provide! May Hashem continue to bless your efforts and allow you to raise up the lives of good people who have this problem.- Shoshana
Perhaps Hashem provided us with GYE at this time in order to lead us on the path of Geula shleimab”b amen! Thanks again and may you be zoche to reach every yid who needs help. – M.T.
Click here to view a video animation about our work.
Think you may have a problem or know someone who does? Visit us for more info. All tools and services are provided free of charge.