Betrayal
Trauma
Recovery

The Kill Zone: Kids & Porn

by | Parenting

protecting your children against pornography

Victims of betrayal and abuse know the treacherous dangerous of pornography, but it can feel triggering and overwhelming to take on the necessary task of protecting children and teaching them the truths about porn.

To help mothers seeking more insight, Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, speaks with Justin Zufelt on the free BTR podcast. Justin is the author of The Kill Zone: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Combating Pornography. Using his harrowing and heart wrenching experiences in combat, he empowers victims to teach children the truths about pornography and its insidious effects.

When Abusers Protect Porn, Not Their Families

Justin’s mission to empower parents in protecting children came about when he was in combat in Iraq. Justin explains what transpired when a fellow soldier went down:

During that moment in his life, he gave instructions to his friend. He said, ‘Hey, this is where I have pornography hidden: in my locker, in my computer, and these other places. Make sure you destroy it all, delete the files, get rid of everything before you send all my stuff home to my wife and my family. I don’t want them to know I look at that.’ When that happened, it was a mental shift for me.

Justin Zufelt, author of The Kill Zone: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Combatting Pornography

Pornography users will use nearly any means necessary to protect the pornography without regard to how their families will suffer.

Some of the abusive tools that porn users employ to protect the porn are:

  • Crazy-making
  • Gaslighting
  • Manipulation
  • Lying
  • Withholding information
  • Sexual coercion
  • Blame-shifting
  • Turning tables
  • Grooming

What’s “The Kill Zone”?

How can pornography possibly be so important that husbands and fathers will emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abuse their partners in order to protect their usage of it?

While men are 100% accountable for their pornography use and other sexual acting-out behaviors (it is a choice every time), it’s also important to understand that the pornography industry uses tactics that exploit the entitlement and controlling nature of abusive men, much like how soldiers target enemies in “kill zones”. Justin explains:

When I researched compulsive pornography use, what I found was that it mimics battle and war, an actual physical battle. In a physical battle, the main thing a solider does to their enemy is they create kill zones. That’s where you funnel your enemy soldiers into a smaller area, where they have to move slower and they can’t fight back as well. That way, as you’re firing on your enemy, they are so much easier to hit.

-Justin Zufelt, author of The Kill Zone: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Combating Pornography

As parents learn how the pornography industry works to funnel children and teens into pornography use, they can help create boundaries with children to help them resist entering “the kill zone”.

The Battle Against Porn

We have seen the battle in our own homes. We’ve witnessed it with our own eyes, and it feels very much like a battle. Here at BTR, it feels like I am on the front lines of a war zone every day, all day long.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

For many women in the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community, a partner’s porn use has caused devastating betrayal trauma. Victims are eager to fight against porn to protect their children from becoming entitled to women’s bodies and choosing control and power over love and respect.

How To Protect Kids From Pornography: Weapons And Strategies

Justin shares powerful tips for parents in protect children from The Kill Zone of pornography use:

  1. Set boundaries around technology and teach children to use it wisely.
  2. Don’t rely on filters to protect kids and teen from porn.
  3. Create a family-culture that encourages open, non-judgmental dialogue about sensitive sexual issues including: abuse, masturbation, pornography use, sexual development, and sexual anatomy.

When Kids See Pornography

Children who have been exposed to pornography, whether accidentally or intentionally, are victims of sexual abuse.

Anne shares:

I think one thing that might help parents is to remember that you’re talking to an abuse victim. Pornography is always going to be an abuse issue, so when a child has encountered pornography, they’ve been sexually abused by the pornography. When it comes to our children, if we think of them as a victim of the porn, rather than that they’ve done something wrong, then it will help us know how to respond to them in a more effective way.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal Trauma & Abuse

At BTR, we understand the heartbreaking effects of a partner’s pornography use and the dire need of families to create porn-free homes.

This is no easy task in today’s world: women deserve a safe space to process their trauma, share their stories, ask questions, and receive healthy feedback as they create healthy home environments, free of pornography and abuse.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone and offers women the validation, support, and compassion that they deserve.

Join today.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

I encourage everyone to check out Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group which is our daily online group that has multiple sessions per day in multiple time zones. We created it like this on purpose for you so you can have access immediately.

We have women ask all the time if there is a place where our husband can go who is exhibiting these types of abusive behaviors that uses the same model of abuse and there is. It’s called Center for Peace.

The Kill Zone Is Discovered

I have Justin Zufelt, the author of the books The Kill Zone, both the parent edition and the youth edition. The Kill Zone is a Spiritual Survival Guide for Combating Pornography and Other Addictions. We’re going to jump right into this, and I’m just going to ask Justin to tell us about himself.

Justin: Yes, Anne. I am the father of five children. I’m actually about to be a father of six children, we just found out we’re going to have a boy in March, so my family is super excited right now. I’m also, of course, a husband and a solider.

I’ve been in the military for 16 years. Currently, my assignment is I am a chaplain with the 19th Special Forces here in Utah. I’m also a former police officer. I was a police officer for almost seven years in a small town in Southern Utah, where I just had tons and tons of experience with what we’re about to talk about and, of course, many, many different things with pornography and so forth.

Justin’s Story

Anne: All of your experience as a husband, a father, and then both in the limitary and as a former police officer led you to write a book about how to combat pornography. Talk about what led you to the point where you felt like you needed to write a book.

Justin: I guess I’ll step back a little bit further and be very upfront about this. It’s taken me a long time to be upfront about it, but at eight years old I was exposed to pornography as a very young child.  Through that exposure at a friend’s house, it led me into a spiral of addiction. I fought that addiction for many, many years. I would even say about 25 years, I’m still fighting it today, so it’s been something that’s just been part of my life that I have been fighting the entire time. But something happened, a big culminating event.

A Friend’s Last Moments

I won’t give any names, but I was in Iraq with my unit and, during my time there, one of my battle buddies, a fellow soldier, got struck by an IED. During that event, he lost a limb and eyesight and there was just tons and tons of damage to his body. While he was lying there on the ground, bleeding out and believing he was about to pass away, his friend was holding him and cuddling him and just giving him moral support by saying, “You’re going to survive,” but during that moment in his life, he gave instructions to his friend.

He said, “Hey, this is where I have pornography hidden: in my locker, in my computer, and these other places. Make sure you destroy it all, delete the files, get rid of everything before you send all my stuff home to my wife and my family. I don’t want them to know I look at that.”

“A Huge Mental Shift”

When that happened, it was a mental shift for me. A huge mental shift and, oh my goodness, I just imagined myself. Here I was in Iraq with a possibility of dying any day and I did not want that to be me.

Anne: My jaw just dropped, by the way, that that was the number one thing on his mind, not “Tell my wife I love her.”

Justin: No. No, it shifted my life. Now I wish I could tell you I was perfect after that and there were no issues, but I admitted my weaknesses to my wife and then my family. I went through some hard times. Years passed, I’d been working on it and I’m going to watch out for the signs and my kids aren’t going to have any issues.

Well, guess what? We had issues in our family and, again, it was a sucker punch to the gut. It was like, “Oh, my goodness. What is going on? I know the signs. I know what it looks like. Why did this happen?”

“The Kill Zone”: The Harms of Pornography

It sent me into a frenzy of studies and research and interviews. I searched everywhere for the answers. The culmination of all that research and discussion and life experience led me to write the books The Kill Zone

Anne: I met you at St. George UCAP and I was really impressed with you, and you gave me one of these books to bring home to read to my kids. When I brought it into my home and I just sat it down on the table, both my sons were immediately interested in it because of the cover.

It’s military and there is an explosion, and they just like stuff like that, so they were immediately like, “Mom, what is this? Will you read it to us?” That was cool, because it’s always nice to immediately catch somebody’s attention, and I really appreciated that. As we read it, the kids really liked it.

Now, we talk about pornography and the harms of pornography a lot in my home, so this was not something that was new to them or something that they haven’t seen before, but it was a new way of talking about it that I really appreciated.

Why A Kill Zone?

In your culmination of all your research, you decide to frame the issue in a metaphor and the metaphor you chose is the kill zone. Can you talk about why you chose this metaphor?

Justin: Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate the compliments for the cover. So, the kill zone. When I researched all the stuff about pornography and addiction and compulsive use what I found was that it mimics battle and war, an actual physical battle. In the book, you’ll read tons about it, but in a physical battle, the main thing a solider does to their enemy is they create kill zones.

That’s where you funnel your enemy soldiers into an area, you funnel them into a smaller area, where they have to move slower and they can’t fight back as well, and they’re bunched together. That way, as you’re firing on your enemy, they are so much easier to hit.

A really quick analogy or metaphor or however you want to call it is I remember as a child playing tag and every once in a while, someone would forget to set the boundaries, so kids would run all over the place. It was really hard to tag other kids, in fact, it was almost impossible to tag other kids because they could go anywhere, and they were all spread out all over the place.

“The Kill Zone”: It’s So Hidden

However, when we played tag and we set boundaries like, “Don’t go past the playground,” “Don’t go past the sidewalk,” “Don’t go past mom or that tree,” you set those boundaries, that way you bring all the other kids really close and they’re easier to tag. The same thing is done in the spiritual or the mental world where we’re having organizations and companies and all these other things funnel us into kill zones, and this includes the pornography industry. They funnel us in and we’re easier to hit.

We’re easier to get addicted or become compulsive users because we walk into these kill zones and we don’t even realize it. We don’t even realize it’s happening because it’s so benign, it’s so hidden. We walk into these kill zones and we get struck over and over again. When I saw this, it just blew my mind. It’s the exact same tactical strategy from the physical world and the mental and spiritual world as well.

“It Feels Very Much Like A Battle”

Anne: All the listeners to this podcast are women who are married to or once were married to porn users, men who are exhibiting abusive behaviors of lying, gaslighting, and emotional, mental, and psychological abuse related to their pornography use or related to their affairs or other compulsive sexual activity. We have seen the battle in our own homes, right. We’ve witnessed it with our own eyes, and it feels very much like a battle.

In fact, here at BTR, it feels like I am on the front lines of a war zone every day, all day long. The metaphor of a battle is so apt, and I really appreciate it. I think a lot of women think of it that way. As we try to protect our homes, knowing this metaphor of the kill zone and how it’s this very small tight space in which you are going to get hurt, number one, how do you stay out of the kill zone in the first place or, number two, if you’re in it how do you get out is the main point of your books.

Keeping Kids Out Of “The Kill Zone”

What tips would you have for parents who would like to use your books to help educate their children about pornography?

Justin: You’re exactly right. This is a true battle. I mean, this is THE battle. To be very, very clear, the number one kill zone that we have is technology. Now, I love technology, and I’m not telling any of you to remove technology from your life. I’m not telling you that kids can’t ever use it. Nothing like that, because we need our children and youth to be able to use it wisely. The kill zone is technology. We can flip it and use it to our advantage.

“Open, Honest, Frequent Conversations”

The number one tip I have for parents is they have to have open, honest and frequent conversations with their children. Now, what do I mean by that “open”? They have to be completely open to their youth telling them everything about their life whether it’s masturbation, whether it’s wet dreams, whether it’s changes in their own body, whether it’s pornography. It has to have no prerequisites.

I know, at times in my life, my kids would come up to talk to me and I’d say, “Okay, I’m not going to talk to you until you do such and such thing.” It’s usually like go clean their room or something like that nature. We have to have a very open relationship with our youth where there are no prerequisites. Where the youth can come and just spill everything out and get it out on the table, and there isn’t going to be any anger or yelling.

Children Who See Pornography Are Victims

We want our kids to be able to come to us and be open about what is going on. I recommend having a certain part of the week or even a certain spot in the house like a chair where whenever they’re in that chair and they’re talking to you, it’s just completely on the table and there are no huge reactions. It just happens and it’s okay.

Anne: I think one thing that might help parents is to remember that you’re talking to an abuse victim. When a child has encountered pornography, they have been sexually abused by the pornography. Pornography is always going to be an abuse issue, and if a child has seen it, they have been abused by the pornography itself.

You would never get angry with an abuse victim—well, some people do. In fact, we have that happen all the time at BTR, where wives of users go into clergy or a therapist and they’re told, “This is your fault,” or something like that, so we know how that feels. When it comes to our children, if we think of them as a victim of the porn, rather than that they have done something wrong then it will help us know how to respond to them in a more effective way.

Abuse Is A Choice

Justin: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. In the book, I explain it in greater detail but there is a chemical reaction. There’s a reason they view it and they see it and there’s a reason they go back to it. You know what? It’s completely natural. It’s a completely natural reaction to be like that. There are ways we can circumvent it and we can work with our youth. They are not evil bad people. You are exactly right. We have to have that open conversation with that in mind. You’re absolutely right.

Anne: That being said, if someone is abused as a child, it does not justify them becoming an abuser as an adult. That being said, I don’t want to say that adult men who are abusing their wives through lying or manipulation or other forms of psychological abuse through pornography use are “the victims here,” because their wives and their children are the victims.

Filters Are Not Enough To Protect Children From “The Kill Zone”

I do think it’s really important to think about children in that way. It also will help reframe this pornography fight that we’re having across the world to help other people see that this isn’t just something that all 12-year-old boys see and its sort of this graduation into sex ed or something like that, but that this is genuine abuse and children deserve to have an abuse-free childhood.

Justin: Yeah, I agree, and we all know this. But we have to know that this is going to be a part of their life. For the foreseeable future, this is going to be part of life and we have to help our children be ready for that.

Anne: Having that open door of communication is important.

Justin: Oh, amen. It’s imperative. You can have every block and everything on the phones and technology you want, I can break through in 30 seconds. Your youth, your kids, can break through it in probably 15 seconds. No matter what filters you have on your technology, if they want to, they will break through it, so you have to have that conversation.

“I Wanted Parents To Be Empowered”

That is the fail-safe. That is the number one thing that is going to keep your youth protected, that they come to you and say, “Hey, I made a mistake, and this is how I felt.” Then you can help them create boundaries and a better way to protect themselves.

Anne: You wrote two books. One is for parents and one is for youth. Why did you write two, especially since they’re so similar?

Justin: I wanted parents to be empowered. I want them to be able to talk to the youth. I want them to create that dialogue with their youth, so when they sit down the parent can actually be the subject matter expert. They can say, “Hey, this is what’s going on” and kind of give more detailed information so the kids can look at them and be like, “Oh, my gosh, you know what’s going on. Okay, you understand this,” and they can create that conversation.

“I Need To Be Transparent”

The parent reads theirs, it has more details, information, and more questions. The youth reads their book and they are parallel. In fact, they’re the same book but the parent edition has more content. The whole point is that at the end of the book you’ll have started the conversation.

Anne: I think it’s really imperative that parents also come from a place of transparency. I appreciate the fact that you were like, “I need to be transparent. Pornography is something that I have used before.”

I think that’s really important because if parents do not deal with their own pornography use and the behaviors around it, like gaslighting, lying, manipulation, all of those things that happen when that’s going down, if they don’t walk toward transparency, honesty, accountability, humility, all of those healthy behaviors that make relationships possible, then no amount of lecturing your child or telling them what they need to do or even reading a really good book, is going to help them.

Tell Kids The Truth To Prepare Them For “The Kill Zone”

Because they’re not going to learn healthy emotional skills from someone who is abusing their family’s trust.

Justin: Amen. If they ask you, “Hey, Mom or Dad, have you seen pornography?” and you say no, you have just lost the battle. You just lost. It’s all around us. It’s in the world we are. I know, as parents, we don’t want to ruin that image with our kids. We want to be perfect in front of our kids. We don’t want to admit our weaknesses.

I know you do the same thing. Your kids adore you more because you are honest with them, and my kids are the same. I have a much better relationship with my kids because they know that I am a human and I make mistakes. They are able to come talk to me about their mistakes because I talk to them about my mistakes.

Teaching Children About Pornography

Anne: Yeah. My sons hate mermaids because they think that mermaids are pornography, which I think is very cute. They’re like, “We hate mermaids. All they wear are those dumb shell breast covers, Mother, and they need to be modest.” But my daughter, who is five, loves mermaids. Currently, in our home, there’s this mermaid debacle going on where she would like to watch Barbie mermaid shows and they’re like, “No, that’s pornography.”

It’s very cute that they are all having that discussion, and I don’t know what the answer is. I’m like, “I don’t know what the answers are, but I’m so glad that you’re considering this. I’m so glad that you’re bringing this up and saying she shouldn’t watch this because mermaids are immodest.”

Those are the types of fights that I love to see. Yeah, have an open dialogue. I just let her watch her mermaid show that she wants to watch, that is age-appropriate, when my sons are not around.

The Kill Zone And Landmines: Protecting Kids From Pornography

We had talked before and you mentioned that you have a free download for our listeners. Can you talk about that?

Justin: Yeah, it’s a download or I’m actually sending these books out in paperback. This is something that one of my really good friends and I created, it’s called the 8 Landmines. Now, in life, in battle—everyone knows what landmines are, right? They are little explosives that you put under the dirt or grass. You hide them and later on a person walks by or drives over it and it explodes. That’s what pornography is. The industry, the internet, and individuals are out there laying landmines everywhere.

Where Are The “Landmines” Hidden?

When we did our research, it blew our minds where a lot of these landmines are being hidden. They are being hidden in the craziest places all over for our kids to step on. Just to give you a little tidbit, in the last week I have spoken with eight youth and their parents, who have told me that they have become addicted to pornography, but they were exposed to their first pornography at school while on the computers at the school.

The Kill Zone: Where Our Kids Are Hit The Hardest

This is huge. I mean this is where we feel kids should be safe and on closed systems and yada, yada, yada. They are not.

We identified the eight most heinous, the ones that are just the most shocking places that our youth are being hit with landmines. Landmines are placed and they’re hidden, and they stay there forever until someone steps on them. That’s what pornography is on the internet.

People are going out there and placing them all over the place and they just sit there and wait until our youth step on them and then we have a huge mess to deal with. We wrote this book called 8 Landmines. In fact, if they go to my website, they can request a digital copy of the book for free.

We are giving this out completely free. It’s just something I really, really want kids and their parents to know, so we can protect our kids from these issues.

Check Out “The Kill Zone” Book

Anne: Awesome, so that’s your website?

Justin: I will be very open with this. Now, right after that page there is access to The Kill Zone, if you want access to that but, right now, the 8 Landmines is the free report we’re giving parents.

Anne: If people are interested in buying his book, it’s called The Kill Zone and you can find that on Operation Onward Miracle. Justin, thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate you coming on today’s episode.

Justin: Thank you so much, Anne. I really appreciate it.

Anne: As always, if you need support, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, which is our daily online support group, is the best resource available. It is the least expensive for professional support and it’s also the most accessible and has the most sessions.

Until next week, stay safe out there.

You May Also Like

Clean Browsing Helps Your Kids

Clean Browsing Helps Your Kids

You are not powerless against pornography. Clean Browsing empowers mothers to protect their children from the harms of pornography. Learn more.

2 Comments

  1. Rae

    I have wondered how to talk to my 3 boys about this subject. They are fairly young still, but I know it will come up sooner or later. Unfortunately, their father is a sex/porn addict, and I divorced him because he did not see a reason to get into recovery. We have 50/50 custody. So when this subject comes up, I don’t trust that he will be on the same page as me. The boys look up to him so much, I’m just always hoping they will listen to my side of the story when the time comes.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      I hope so too. I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. Most people don’t understand that the abuse continues after divorce. Emotional abuse post divorce is so common. Hugs!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 Steps Checklist

The checklist we wish EVERY WOMAN experiencing betrayal trauma had

Subscribe to download the printable 9-step checklist with ACTIONABLE steps you can take TODAY.

Check your inbox for the checklist from Anne from Betrayal Trauma Recovery. We know this checklist can change your life, just like it's changed the lives of thousands of other women!