I’m going to try to explain what’s going on in America right now by drawing a connection between two news stories. On the surface, they don’t seem to have much to do with each other, but when you really think about them, it’…
If organizations such as the IJF, the IOC, and other international sporting giants acted responsibly and prevented teams that represent Israel from participating in international sports, individual athletes would not need to risk their careers and act, as Fethi Nourine did, alone.
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 8 (C-Fam) It appears UNICEF has permanently removed a controversial report on the consumption of pornography by children.
The report “Digital Age Assurance Tools and Children’s Rights Online” published by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concluded pornography may not always be harmful.
Relying on a European study of 19 EU countries that found in most countries, most children who saw pornographic images were “neither upset nor happy,” the UNICEF report concluded that because pornography does not always harm children, efforts to block children from accessing porn online might infringe on their human rights.
UNICEF removed the report from its website shortly after the Friday Fax reported its contents in May. Days later UNICEF published a revised version, which left the report’s analysis intact but removed the assertion that “there is currently no universal agreement on the nature and extent of the harm caused to children by viewing content classified as pornography.” The lack of “agreement,” according to UNICEF, weighed against the use of “age restrictions” to prevent access to pornography online.
UNICEF spokesperson Najwa Mekki told the Friday Fax, “UNICEF’s position is unequivocal: No child should be exposed to harmful content online.” When pressed, Mekki would not comment on whether UNICEF believes pornography is harmful to children.
After the Friday Fax highlighted these strategic revisions, UNICEF pulled down the report again. Now, 17 weeks later, the report is still off the UNICEF website and its removal seems permanent.
More than 400 child safety experts from 26 counties strongly condemned the report in a letter to UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore, asserting that UNICEF’s report undermines the psychological and social development of children worldwide by ignoring “the vast body of research demonstrating the harms of pornography to children.”
Research strongly suggests that pornography can be psychologically addictive, and can negatively affect the quality of interpersonal relationships, sexual health and performance, and social expectations about sexual behavior.
Among adults, pornography has been connected with “decrease brain gray matter volume in the areas of the brain associated with motivation and decision-making.” There is no scientifically proven evidence demonstrating that teens, whose brains are less developed, are more resilient and immune from the negative effects associated with viewing pornography.
A decade ago, the Witherspoon Institute located at Princeton University, hosted a multi-disciplinary conference exploring the harms of pornography. Among many findings was that pornography refigures the neural pathways of the brain. This is especially troubling in the unformed brains of the young. The Witherspoon consultation also found that more than half of divorce filings cite porn addiction as a reason for separation.
The trend in pornography is toward violence. In 2019, the BBC reported how violent porn is now a common part of sexual relations among the young, including slapping, hair pulling and even choking. Young men have come to think that this is what young women want.
In recent years, a handful of U.S. state legislatures have declared pornography to be a public health crisis. Even the Canadian Parliament has expressed a concern.
C-Fam requested a meeting with UNICEF’s executive director to discuss the issue. C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, has circulated a petition demanding the permanent removal of the report from UNICEF’s website. The petition has garnered nearly 25,000 signatories. The request for a meeting was ignored.
NEW YORK, October 8 (C-Fam) UNICEF’s Executive Board has approved a strategic plan that endorses sexual autonomy for children and school-based access to abortion and contraception.
The new strategic plan, which will guide the agency through 2025, added “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the agency’s mandate for the first time. The Biden administration endorsed the new plan.
UNICEF already promoted the ability of adolescents to make autonomous decisions about their sexuality and the presence of sexuality education and sexual health services for children in schools. But this was the first time these had appeared in UNICEF’s internal strategic documents with the approval of UN member states, as the Friday Fax reported in August.
Thirty-six nations that sit on the UNICEF Executive Board endorsed the new plan with the disclaimer that it was not negotiated by UN Member States and that it “includes some terms that have not been intergovernmentally endorsed in the United Nations system.” The decision does not identify the terms in the strategic plan covered by the disclaimer.
The plan further protects Member States by directing the agency to implement the strategic plan “in accordance with the principles of national ownership of programme countries, taking into account their national priorities and needs, recognizing their different contexts and particular characteristics, guided by international human rights treaties and humanitarian principles for humanitarian assistance.”
“Sexual and reproductive health and rights” is a term of art coined by countries and groups to promote abortion, LGBT rights, and sexual autonomy for children. The General Assembly rejected the controversial term when it was first proposed in the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2013 and has rejected it repeatedly in UN negotiations each year since. A large number of UN member states also continue to object to “sexual orientation and gender identity” in UN documents.
The official twitter account of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations praised UNICEF and other UN agencies who also added “sexual and reproductive health and rights” to their mandate recently.
“We commend UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNICEF, and UN Women on the successful advancement of the 2022-2025 Strategic Plans and for recognizing the importance of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to accelerating progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” the tweet reads.
Until this year, the controversial term had only been endorsed in the mandate of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). “Sexual orientation and gender identity” had not been included in any previous strategic plans of UN agencies.
Iran expressed “deep concern” with the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual rights, comprehensive sexuality education, programming gender in a transformative way” in the plan.
“Iran and a number of delegations have, on numerous occasions, expressed our opposition on the inclusion of such terms in UN documents,” they said.
The Russian Federation also made statement distancing itself from the controversial terminology in the new UNICEF plan.
Helen Brown, Ph.D. 09-09-2021
Compassion fatigue is a form of stress or tension that arises from frequent contact with traumatized people, where we become preoccupied with the suffering or pain of others (Hunsaker, Chen, Maughan, & Heaston, 2015).
Compassion fatigue is a serious problem that can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and negatively affect their relationships and ability to care for others (Cocker & Joss, 2016).
Compassion fatigue can show itself in a range of symptoms and behaviors, such as:
- Diminished ability or interest to care for others
- Preoccupation with people you help
- Mental and/or physical exhaustion
- Anger and irritability
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Intrusive thoughts
- Sleep problems
- Being easily startled
- Hopelessness about helping work
- Avoidance of certain activities, situations, or people you help
- Feeling like a failure as a helper
- Drops in productivity
- Emotional numbness
- Trouble separating personal and professional life
- A decreased capacity to experience sympathy and empathy
- Dysfunctional coping behaviors, e.g., misusing alcohol or drugs
- Taking more time off work
- Reduced decision-making ability
- Feeling disconnected
- Decreased satisfaction or enjoyment with work (Cocker & Joss, 2016; Clay, 2020; Stamm, 2010)
Compassion fatigue vs empathy fatigue
The terms compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue are occasionally used interchangeably. But this can confuse the issue slightly, as some models of compassion fatigue don’t agree on the role of empathy in the development of compassion fatigue.
According to Figley (2002a), without the ability to empathize, there is little room for compassion fatigue, because empathy is essential to helping work and experiencing the strains of caring. Empathic concern is our impetus to help those people that are suffering, for example, by providing our services as a therapist (Figley, 2002a).
Our empathic response toward clients and patients is how we try to remedy a client’s suffering and can lead us to share in their emotional responses. “Compassion stress” is the consequence of empathic responding and represents the ongoing desire to reduce the suffering of the client or patient (Figley, 2002a).
If compassion stress is severe and/or compounded by other life stresses, it can lead to compassion fatigue (Figley, 2002a), which can be emotionally overwhelming and make it more difficult to experience empathy (Clay, 2020).
However, a more recent model of compassion fatigue challenges the idea that it is empathy that makes us vulnerable to compassion fatigue (Coetzee & Laschinger, 2017). Instead, Coetzee and Laschinger (2017) suggest a lack of resources, the person’s response to the distress, and inadequate positive feedback make us susceptible to compassion fatigue. We’ll get into these models in more detail a little further on.
What Causes Compassion Fatigue?
There are two components to compassion fatigue: secondary traumatic stress and burnout.
When our job is to help others who are in distress or traumatized, we must adopt the perspective of the person who is suffering to empathize with them (Figley, 2002a).
By doing this, we are necessarily exposed to the emotional energy and trauma of the particular patient we are working with, which can lead to secondary traumatic stress (Figley, 2002b; Stamm, 2012).
Over time, we can also experience burnout and feel as though our helping work is not having a positive impact ( Stamm, 2012).
I have served in some toxic leadership cultures in the past. I was once a division manager for a large sales team and sales were down due to the economy. I’ll never forget how I was treated by representatives from the corporate office. One time a I had my sales book shoved across the table into my chest. Thankfully, sales were down and the book was lighter than normal.
Even more, I have hired people out of them and helped dozens of other leaders recover after being in a toxic leadership culture.
My personal experiences have caused me to strive to build healthy leadership cultures wherever I have been in my career. Plus, I care about leaders, which is why I write this blog, my leadership book, and why I host a leadership podcast. Nothing is more damaging to the quality of a person’s work life than a toxic leadership culture.
Pastors have left the ministry as a result of toxic leadership. These cultures have kept good leaders and organizations from reaching their full potential. And toxic cultures impact not only the leader but his/her family as well.
Therefore, I have very little sympathy towards a toxic leadership culture.
5 signs of toxic leadership:
People quit without their next steps figured out.
If people are willing to jump ship before they even have their future income lined up, it is often a sign of a toxic culture.
I have talked with so many leaders that simply realize life is too short to be miserable for too long, so they roll the dice and gamble their career just to get out from under the toxic culture.
People become a comfortable casualty.
The opposite of the previous sign is also true of toxic cultures. Some people stay, but remain miserable. The toxic culture basically mutes them and they never live up to their full potential.
Under toxic leadership people stop taking risks for fear of retribution. They simply give up trying. A person can stay on the payroll as long as they “play by the rules” and “stay out of trouble”. Often when you find there are no longer innovators on the team it is a sign of a toxic culture
Meetings with supervisors are dreaded.
Toxic cultures create fear for people at every level of the organization beneath the top few chairs. Take annual reviews for example, what should be an encouraging and helpful process, actually cause anxiety and tension. People expect to be reprimanded rather than rewarded.
Similarly, whenever a person has a meeting scheduled with their supervisor and it causes anxiety in them prior to the appointment.
(My advice here is that there should seldom be any surprises between a team member and their supervisor. If there is a problem with a person’s performance it shouldn’t be stored up for some future calendared meeting. It should be handled in the moment. Save reviews and regular meetings for a part of team-building and development.)
Policies are valued over people.
Toxic cultures love rules. They will protect the structure at any cost; even to the detriment of team members. If it comes down to common sense dealing with people versus obeying the letter of the law – the law will easily be followed.
People feed less than valued as a result and the process is more rewarded than actual human effort.
Management is preferred over leadership.
In toxic cultures people are managed by handing out instructions and making sure they comply with them.
Healthy cultures encourage individual empowerment and creativity. To lead people well, all levels within the organization have to be afforded the opportunity and responsibility to innovate.
The European Parliament… has enraged many Arabs by calling for boycotting Expo 2020 Dubai… The timing of the resolution is problematic. It implies that the European Parliament is seeking to punish the UAE for signing a peace treaty with Israel. The