Elizabeth Smart’s takedown of abstinence-based education as complete trash is absolutely wonderful.
“It’s feelings of self worth. Feeling like, who would ever want me now? I’m worthless. That’s what it was for me the first time I was raped. I was raised in a very religious household. One that taught that sex was something special that only happened between a husband and wife that loved each other. That’s how I was raised, that’s what I was taught to follow. That when I got married then and only then would I engage in sex. For that first rape, I felt crushed. Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy. I understand all too easily why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone. If you could imagine the most special thing being taken away from you and not that that was your only value in life, but something that devalued you. Can you imagine turning around and going back into society where you’re no longer valued? Where you’re no longer as good as everybody else? I remember in school, one time I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence, and she said imagine you’re a stick of gum, and when you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who’s going to want you after that? That’s terrible but nobody should ever say that. But for me, I thought oh my gosh. I’m that chewed up piece of gum! Nobody re-chews a piece of gum, and that’s how easily it is to feel that you no longer have worth. You no longer have value.”