HB 999 states that abstinence only shall remain the state standard for sexual education, despite the fact it opens the door a crack for “ab-plus”.
Here is a pretty forceful voice against that kind of education from a young woman who should know.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
[Elizabeth] Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”
Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”
Ms. Smart (who made headlines after she was rescued after being abducted and held captive for 9 months) doesn’t name the program she sat through but don’t think it is just a Mormon thing. This is a federally funding public school thing. From Westword and my piece on WAIT (Why Am I Tempted?) Training based in Colorado. WAIT Training is currently operating in Mississippi (Tupelo and Canton – two of the biggest school districts in MS)
These programs are inextricably linked to religion though in my experience administrators of the programs deny it (Joneen Mackenzie, head of WAIT has repeatedly told me this. Pam Mullarkey of “Project SOS” in Florida told me the same thing as did Children’s AIDS Fund who operates primarily in sub-Saharan Africa teaching ab-only).
Ab-only is absolutely borne from the religious belief that abstinence from sexual activity until heterosexual marriage is the only acceptable outcome for teens. Since the programs can’t overtly say it is a Biblical belief – or a sin issue – they do get the message across in other ways. Principally through shaming young women and making them the only ones accountable when it comes to having sex and the possible consequences.
This way of thinking is societal of course but has been with us since Eve made Adam eat the apple. I wrote an article for The Atlantic about the “reality” program Preachers’ Daughters. This may help illustrate the pressure a young woman feels having to be afraid of sex, be charged as the keeper of purity and measuring much if not all of her worth on whether her hymen is in tact or not:
The first teen we meet is Kolby, and she just wants to date. She is 16 and thinks it is high time. She runs this by her dad, Nikita, a former professional wrestler turned preacher over a “daddy-and-daughter lunch.” Nikita with his shaved head and bulging muscles explains he doesn’t think there is any need for Kolby to “experience” dating. He doesn’t agree with the dating “lifestyle” but he doesn’t entirely shut her down. He tells Kolby she has to run it by her mom, Victoria, who turns out to be the real challenge.
Victoria is a preacher just like Nikita. She also works at a Christian “crisis pregnancy center” and is a Christian radio talk show host. After a conversation between mother and daughter Victoria decides she will let Kolby date. Kolby is thrilled, as any 16-year-old would be. But Victoria has one condition: Kolby must sit through one of her “sex talks” at church.
The next scene presents us with a horrified Kolby smack in the front church pew as her mom excites a crowd of teenagers by exclaiming from the altar, “sex is great!”
Kids clap and giggle, Victoria giving dramatic pause, then says, “But only after you’re married!” Victoria goes on to discuss “finger sex, backdoor sex, and oral sex,” in her abstinence talk. Her daughter sits with eyes wide and turning red, her jaw on the floor.
This could all be laughable—Victoria’s dirty talk, the kids shifting in their seats, light streaming through stained glass windows. But then, Kolby’s 30-year-old sister Teryn drops a bomb. She reveals to the family that she was not a virgin when she got married. It is in this scene we glimpse how damaging this supposedly Biblically mandated purity pressure is on young Kolby.
She is devastated; she sits weeping uncontrollably at the dinner table her head down, wiping her eyes with her napkin. Everything she ever believed, she says, was ripped away when Teryn revealed her secret.
During Teryn’s private, to-the-camera confessional she is clearly upset with the way her mother enforces her interpretation of Biblical law. Teryn says that this is what happens when you are raised within a “warped” Christian box. She and her sisters were taught a successful life was predicated on making it to marriage a virgin.