Introduced to pornography at 10 years old, Jeff Joaquin shares his wounds and healing
Jeff Joaquin serves on the Support After Abortion National Task Force, has been married for 22 years, and is a father to one 19-year-old girl and a boy who would have been 34-years-old. Jeff shares his story in hopes of “boasting of his weaknesses” like St. Paul to demonstrate that deep wounds can be healed, that the power of Christ is infinite and bigger than the wounds and bad decisions that we make.
Jeff’s story is likely similar to many men who are suffering from childhood trauma and wounds. He can pinpoint when it happened and the downward spiral to the depths of hell that it caused.
When he was only 10-years-old, Jeff was at a friend’s house for a pool party. Afterward, his friend, the same age, suggested they watch a movie. It turned out that the film was hardcore pornography.
Most studies show that kids are exposed to pornography around 12 or 13 years old but could be exposed as young as seven or eight years old. One national study of kids in the United States revealed that the majority of teens between the ages of 14-18 had seen pornography. Numbers were much higher for boys, 84.4% than girls, 57%.
Jeff would never be the same after that night. Introduction to pornography at such an impressionable age has devastating effects in relationships, in self-esteem and self-worth, promotes sexual violence, unrealistic intimacy expectations, and can lead to addictions.
The aftermath of Jeff’s trauma
Jeff’s introduction to pornography at such a young age left lasting effects on him, not to mention a giant space in his heart, a wound, that needed to be filled.
“That left a big hole, a big wound, and that hole has to be filled with something. I chose the not appropriate way to fill that wound and started drinking when I was 13-years-old,” said Jeff.
Between the ages of 13 and 21, Jeff got three DUIs. At 14, he started smoking marijuana and calls it his gateway drug. Beyond getting just “dumb and hungry”, it led him to a cocaine addiction.
He was a full blown alcoholic by age 21 and he was suffering.
“I never found happiness. I never found joy. All I found at the bottom of a bottle was a worm from tequila,” he said.
Somehow Jeff managed to be a star athlete and was being recruited for college football. But he left an opportunity to meet with a recruiter after a game to go party and do drugs. It was there that he nearly died of a cocaine overdose. He cried out to God to save him.
By that time, his wound was even deeper than the gash pornography, drinking, and drugs had left in his life.
The abortion decision
At 17 years old, Jeff’s girlfriend called him, said they had a problem. She was pregnant. He told her he would call her back the next day.
He did call her and told his girlfriend, “I’m not ready to accept fatherhood. You set up the abortion and I’ll get the money.”
He consulted no one about the decision, he didn’t pray about it even though he grew up in a good, Catholic Christian home. He only consulted one friend and it was to get the money I needed so I could pay a complete stranger to murder my innocent child in the womb of my girlfriend at the time.
“I thought the pain from pornography was bad. The pain and regret that I’ve had for the last 34 years because of that abortion that took place in 1987 – there’s not a day that goes by that that pain doesn’t just cripple me,” said Jeff. “Alcohol didn’t work. Drugs didn’t work. Very poor decisions throughout my teenage and early 20s, just one bad decision after another.”
At Support After Abortion, we are developing new curriculms to help men heal from abortion. We are aiming to get at both the heart and mind of a man who has experienced abortion. We currently have extensive content to help men who are wanting to explore healing from past abortion wounds at our website.
The beginning of the healing journey
Jeff shares his story because he’s not the only one who has gone through this kind of trauma, who has these kinds of deep wounds.
“I bring these weaknesses to you not to glamorize them but because I want everyone to know one thing, and these words come from the prophet Isaiah, this is the God of the universe speaking to me and speaking to you, he says, ‘that you are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you,’’” said Jeff.
While it’s been a long journey, this is where it started.
It was through Jesus, through His wounds, that ultimately saved Jeff. 1 Peter 2:24 says “By his wounds, we have been healed.”
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. Call or text our confidential hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). Women, this is your call: if your partner, male loved one or friend has had an abortion, visit us at www.supportafterabortion.com to learn how to create a safe space, and create dialogue so more men can receive hope and healing after abortion.
British Board of Film Classification. (2020). Young people, pornography & age-verification. BBFC