I wrote about Elizabeth Smart’s comments for Pith, but then they found those women in that house in Cleveland, so I’m having a hard time shaking it. What kinds of assholes would tell girls that suffer unimaginable sexual abuse that they’re like a chewed up piece of gum or like a cup that’s been spit in by everyone?
I mean, it’s not true that having lots of consensual sex with people somehow “ruins” you, but at least the pleasure of it makes the message somewhat difficult to believe. But when a terrible thing is happening to you, it’s not surprising that the words that tell you that you deserve this terrible thing keep ringing in your head.
It’s hard not to believe, at some point, that our culture loathes women. (I had thought that, if enough people pointed out how our culture is set up to fuck women over, that people who genuinely didn’t want to fuck women over would band together and change the culture. And, in some ways, that’s happening, but very slowly. In other ways, what’s happened is that the culture of loathing has just opened itself up to include men in its loathing.)
Terrible things happen to children. Everyone who’s involved in the lives of children knows this. We all hear stories or read the news or whatever. Which makes it more deeply fucked up that we’re sticking with a mode of sex education that pushes a standard of purity–that even if we accept it as a good thing, which I don’t–many, many people can’t meet, though no fault of their own.
And that’s the part I can’t shake. In order to teach abstinence-only education with the gum example or the lollypop example or the spit in the cup example when you are standing in a room where you simply must know that every 7th kid is either currently or is going to be forced into nonconsensual sexual activity at some point, is fucked up. Telling kids it’s best to wait until you’re emotionally and physically ready for the repercussions? Fine. Telling kids that they get to decide how much they want to do and how far they want to go every single time and that just because they’ve done something once with someone doesn’t mean they have to do it again if they don’t want to or that they have to do it with anyone else? Necessary. I have no problems with encouraging kids to not have sex, if for some reason, that’s important to the community to do.
But I am grossed out by how fucked up it is to realize that all the “you should wait” lectures in the world aren’t very effective and so you just open yourself up to all the fucked up shit you ever heard about how dirty and ruinous sex is and let it pour through you onto those kids. When you know how damaging it is.
I don’t know. It just makes me sad. Such terrible things go on in the world and we too rarely don’t add to the mess.