It has become a joke that when watching teen scream horror movies, you always know who will be the first victim since it’s usually the couple (or, frankly, the girl) who is having sex. Now that moral lesson is being morphed literally into today’s sex ed programs, which in some cases are looking more and more like they have been taken straight from the “Scared Straight” game book.
Then again, that could make sense, since now the police are involved. Yes, abstinence only education — the type where rather than accepting that most people are likely to at some point have sex with someone before marriage and need to know how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections — is getting some new instructors in Las Vegas, Nev. The Metro police put on a “Choose Purity” event for girls, at the request of Victory Outreach Church, and they went all in.
According to the Metro police, sex outside of marriage will lead to one of four things: sexual assault, gangs, drugs and prostitution. To make sure the audience got it, they had real life participants explain how their lives were ruined by sex.
“The room of about 125 parents and children watched recorded interviews with a pimp and prostitutes, learned modern-day slavery exists in the form of the sex trade, and saw grisly images of people who’d suffered at the hands of hard drugs — such as a woman who’d lost limbs in a methamphetamine lab explosion and a man who’d had his face partially gnawed off by a meth user,” writes Bethany Barnes at the Las Vegas Sun News. ”Wide-eyed youngsters watched as two girls gave dramatic performances told from the perspective of one girl who had died after abusing diet pills and one who had died after contracting a sexually transmitted disease as a prostitute. The monologues concluded with each girl getting on a gurney and into a body bag.”
A body bag is an interesting prop to end with, when in true sex ed you could make the point that another way to avoid death is, well, to wrap it before sex, but this presentation was less sexual education and more evangelical Hell House, or, as one audience member called it, “a hodgepodge of unrelated fear mongering.”
Hodgepodge is exactly the right word for it. “So let me see if I can make sense of the multitude of messages here,” writes sex ed columnist Martha Kempner. ” Premarital sex will make you promiscuous. Promiscuity will turn you into a sex worker. Prostitution will make you turn to drugs. Drugs will kill you. But don’t worry because purity, beauty, and a nice tiara will empower you to keep your legs crossed and that will fix everything. Right, got it.”
To be fair, a tiara does fix a lot of things in life, I’m told, but probably not the teen pregnancy rate in Nevada, which is currently the 4th highest in the nation. In fact, in states where the only approach to sex ed is “purity” and saving yourself, the pregnancy rate for teens are consistently higher.
The Metro police have stepped back slightly in their support of their purity party, apparently now realizing their involvement may not have been the best idea. “Metro’s primary role is ensuring the public’s safety. In support of this role, we also work to prevent crime through education. Some of the opinions expressed at the meeting did not represent those of the department,” they said in a released statement.
It’s not clear if that means that they are calling off “Choose Courage,” the boys’ version of the educational effort. If not, I’m sure that young men can look forward to learning about how their own potential sexual activities can kill them, even, likely, masturbation. I doubt that they will get to try on a tiara after, however.
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