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Re: [Provocateurs] Elizabeth Smart blames abstinence-only education

From: Jennifer
Sent on: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:51 AM
"Absolutely...there are any number of justifiable reasons for her not to escape...including the well known Stockholm syndrome. i don't blame her for that by any means. i just think that it can't all be attributed to the fact that a teacher told her she would be like a used up piece of gum."

I renew Lynne's statement. You can't know what was going on in her head when she was held captive. So you can't know how a statement about being like "chewed up gum" could affect a person who has been, repeatedly, raped.

Maybe her shame in being raped wasn't the only reason that she didn't try to escape. But I believe her when she said it did.

We know that the shame that surrounds being raped is very real for many women (and men.). That many women don't report that they have been raped because they have been told by society, whether by teachers, clergy, or their own family, that once you are no longer a virgin, you have no value. That you are damaged goods and no one will want you.

The intentions are to keep you from having sex you WANT, but the unintended message sent is that your virginity is what makes you special. So someone who grows up hearing that message may well think that if they are raped, that they no longer have value and that no one will want them.

This is why we need comprehensive sex ed and to stop victim blaming. That is why she is speaking out and sharing how she felt when she was victimized. She's trying to reach out to victims of rape to tell them their virginity is not what gives them value and that people will love them, even if they have had sex before, or have been raped. She's trying to change the way we educate our kids about sex, and trying to change the culture of victim blaming.

Whether you realize it or not, that's what you are engaging in; Victim blaming. Your original statement, "I'm sure she is trying to find ways to justify not escaping in her own mind. It must be terrible guilt to have to deal with." is basically saying she's partly to blame for her captivity. That she could have done something to escape, but didn't. And you continue to blame her by saying she's has to "justify" her reasons for not escaping.

Why are seconded guessing what she felt? Why are you blaming her, intentionally or not, for not escaping? How was she responsible for anything that happened to her?

I don't think you actually hold her responsible for any part of her ordeal. Perhaps it's just a poor choice in words. I just don't think she did anything wrong and I believe her when she says that what she was taught regarding sex, made her feel like "chewed gum".

On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 8:23 AM, Don <[address removed]> wrote:

Nicely said, Jennifer!  Ignorance of these things is most certainly not bliss.


Don D


-----Original Message-----
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Jennifer
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:22 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [Provocateurs] Elizabeth Smart blames abstinence-only education


"Had Elizabeth been taught to have sex early and often, she would now be the much better for it."

I don't think most people would want this message sent to teens either. That's the other extreme.

I'm actually all for stressing abstinence to teenagers. It is the only sure way to avoid STD's and pregnancy, and there is an emotional component that comes with sex that some teens aren't ready for. But I'm also practical and want teens to know what the options are for protecting themselves if they do decide to have sex.

They should know how pregnancy works. So many people (sadly) don't. They should know what condoms are, and how they work and where they can get them. They should know how oral contraceptives and the morning after pill work and where they can get them. Same for IUD's. They should know where they can go to get medical attention, should they need it. They should be taught to take care of their sexual health.

They should also learn that sex isn't just all about biology. That emotions often play into sex. They should be able to discuss how they view sex. Whether they have had it or not. They should be taught that sex isn't dirty, it's natural, but that you have to decide for yourself when your are ready to engage in sex. That you should never have sex if you feel unsure about it. That no one who cares about you should ever pressure you into any kind of sex that you aren't ready for. That you should do what you think is right, and find people who you trust to confide in when you aren't sure what to do.

I'm glad I had parents that took every chance to educate me about sex, even though it made them uncomfortable. I feel like I had an advantage over a lot of other teens when I was in school.




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