“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 no longer have worth, you no longer have value. 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. … [Kids should know] you will always have value and nothing can change that.”
– Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at 14, held captive and raped for nine months, spoke recently at Johns Hopkins University on a forum about human trafficking. Here she is explaining why she didn’t run after her captor raped her, which he did daily during her entire ordeal. As the now-25-year-old told Johns Hopkins, she was raised in a religious family and had learned from abstinence-only education that a person whose virginity has been ‘sullied’ is worthless. Her mention of chewing gum is not random: A popular teaching in abstinence-only education, “the gum game,” is to compare people to chewing gum: a person who has had multiple partners is just like dirty, grimy gum that’s been chewed over and over again by multiple people. It’s a way of teaching children to feel ashamed and guilty about sex. And while positing sex before marriage as “slutty” could mess up anyone, for rape victims like Elizabeth Smart, it’s enough to make someone feel like worthless trash. [Christian Science Monitor] [Photo: Getty]
Meet Katelyn Campbell, a high school student council vice president, Wellesley College-bound senior, and sex education rabble-rouser who is filing an injunction against her principal for threats he made after she boycotted and spoke out against an abstinence-only sex-ed assembly at her school.
According to ThinkProgress.org, Principal George Aulenbacher at George Washington High School in West Virginia threatened to call up Wellesley College to complain that Campbell had “bad character” because she refused to attend the abstinence assembly and filed a complaint with the ACLU because the public school event was hosted by a conservative religious organization.
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There’s a point where abstinence-only sex education becomes not just ineffectual and wasteful, but actually funny. And that point is in a Tennessee bill that will require teachers to preach abstinence and warn young’uns about “gateway sexual activity” like hand-holding, cuddling, and hugging. You know, the real slutty stuff. Keep reading »
Kids these days! They just aren’t getting pregnant like they used to. The birth rate for young women ages 15 to 19 fell to its lowest ever recorded in 2010, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States with the lowest teen birth rates are in the Northeast with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, while the highest are concentrated in the South/Southwest: Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
It might seem like great news that teen births have been declining over two decades. But the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. It’s no surprise that the states “16 & Pregnant” casting agents drool over have the strictest abortion laws and also think abstinence-only sex ed actually works. [NY Times, NY Times (2)]
Bristol Palin lost her virginity to Levi Johnston drunk on wine coolers, according to her new memoir. The pro-abstinence advocate first slept with the Playgirl model in a tent while camping at Point MacKenzie in 2006, at age 15 — and she doesn’t remember it. Keep reading »
“The stigma [around HIV/AIDS] hasn’t gone away after 30 years, and young people are still getting infected. We can’t get to the young people in this country because it’s very conservative and you can’t get into schools to teach people about sex. We can in Africa, but we can’t seem to over here. With young people, the infection rates rise and until you inform people and make this disease a non-stigmatized thing, you’re never going to have any change and we’re batting our heads against a brick wall. We need to get into schools.”
— Elton John, blabbing about sex education at his Oscars bash this weekend, makes more sense when he talks than the entire religious right and their “abstinence only” nonsense. Bristol Palin, listen to the crazy gay Brit who wears the silly costumes! [Fox 411] Keep reading »
I grew up in a small town. It was in the “heartland”– the middle of the country, yet everyone had twangy Southern accents. The town didn’t have much money or restaurants or people. But we did have churches. Churches in pole-barns, churches whose congregations were made up of only one family, churches in the hills with members who spoke in tongues and fancy churches with stained glass that told you to vote for George Bush.
All through my youth, I probably would have said I was a Christian. It was just the default. My parents did take me to church when I was little, I grabbed from the tin of sugar-cookies and drank dixie cups of watery Kool-Aid, but I had somehow remained a bit feral. Keep reading »