By Lawn Griffiths, Cox News Service
September 1993 – Valerie Martinez says pornography addiction drove her husband to suicide.
Bob was spending up to $5,000 per year in film rentals and adult magazines. He would rent as many as 15 sexually graphic films per week and stayed up watching them late into the night.
“I wouldn’t be in the house,” she says. “I took my kids and we’d drive the streets sometimes until three in the morning because I didn’t want to be in the house,” she says.
Mrs. Martinez regularly dumped into the trash any adult materials she found in the house, and periodically Bob, an active church member and Christian band drummer, “would go down and pray and come back and cry big crocodile tears and say, ‘I’ve changed.’ Maybe it’d last a month or two, and he’d start slipping back.”
During their nine-year marriage, Mrs. Martinez says, her husband became increasingly sexually abusive to her and physically abusive to their children.
“I didn’t tell anyone except the pastor for eight years and nothing was ever done,” says the 38-year-old Mesa woman.
Mrs. Martinez has begun a support ministry for women whose husbands or mates are consumed by adult-oriented materials. It’s called “Wounded Warriors: Ministering to God’s Victims of Pornography.”
Counseling and Bible study will be part of the ministry. Mrs. Martinez tells her story in the May issue of Virtue magazine.
“I try not to blame the church,” she says of her failed efforts in Tucson to get help for her husband. “I understand that maybe they don’t know how to deal with sexual addiction. It’s not something they want to talk about or want to admit to. A lot of pastors aren’t sure how to approach it. They say just pray about it.”
Her Tucson church pastor’s “pat explanation for me was ‘to go home and pray about it, and he’ll change,’” she recalls. “I got all the books I could get my hands on about marriage. I thought there must be something wrong with me. I read everything and tried to do everything, but it still didn’t help.”
When Mrs. Martinez married Bob, her second of three husbands, he was 19. “He always seemed dedicated, but as time went on, he became angry all the time and became consumed (with pornography). That is all he wanted to do.”
“A couple of months after we were married, I found all these pornography magazines around the house,” she recalls. “For the first couple years, we went back and forth. He was bringing in the magazines, and I was tossing them out. He said he was not going to look at them again. So then I found out he was going to the adult theaters and watching movies there.”
When Bob bought a VCR and began renting movies, he was hopelessly hooked, she said. “It kept getting worse and worse. He started with one movie a week and near the end, it was up to 15 movies a week. The whole time, he stayed with the church, played music there and got up and testified and then would go home and watch a porn movie until three in the morning.”
“He’d come home from work and stop at the video store, and say, ‘I’m going to watch a movie tonight.’”
I’d say “Let’s go shopping, kids, let’s go to a movie, let’s go out to eat,” Mrs. Martinez recalls. The suicide came seven years ago. Mrs. Martinez had told her husband to move out of the house.
Four months later, she allowed him to return. But a week later, he was bringing home new adult magazines. At that point, she told him he would have to call the pastor and get counseling. That night, the minister at their nondenominational, charismatic church told Bob he was too busy to talk but Bob should call him in the morning. “He packed up and moved to his mother’s house and apparently called the suicide prevention line all night and talked to them,” Mrs. Martinez says.
At 6 a.m., he drove his Volkswagen at 70 mph into a Tucson freeway abutment and was killed.
In the following years, Mrs. Martinez talked to other women with similar stories about pornography.
While she advocates support groups for men seeking to free themselves from sexual addiction her work focuses on ministering to women only.
“It’s the violence, the rape, things degrading, homosexuality, bestiality, group sex. That is not lovemaking,” she insists.
“What is unfair is that when you are trying to be what he wants, you’re put in competition with the actresses on the film and there is no way you can really compete,” she says. “They’re paid, they may be forced into doing things they don’t want to do, so here you are trying to compete with someone. They have all the nice lighting and makeup and these ladies are basically perfect, and here you are trying to be like that, and you can’t.”
Write Mrs. Martinez at P.O. Box 41785, Mesa, Arizona 85274.