Abduction, kidnap and rape victim Elizabeth Smart:
Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”
Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.
“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 know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “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.”
I knew that abstinence-only sex ed was built on lies and ineffective, but I didn’t quite understand how damaging it is to the girls who are subject to it.
Smart is now employed as an expert by ABC news, so it will be interesting to hear her take on the story of the three girls found in Cleveland, though I doubt it will top the great interview with the guy who found them.
That interview is a classic.
I managed to flip it on here in Cleveland as it was running live without any idea of why they were interviewing him though after watching a bit it dawned on me that they must have found either Berry or DeJesus alive. That last part is great.
Watching the relatives of the girls over the years you couldn’t help but feel they were deluding themselves by never giving up (but I admired their efforts). Thank God they found them finally.
Certified Mutant Enemy
I sure Bill O’Reilly will have some “interesting” insights…
c u n d gulag
Yes, because nothing says, “Jesus loves you, too, sweetheart” like comparing a young woman who’s no longer a virgin, to pre-chewed gum.
WTF is wrong with these people?
Oh, yeah – they’re Authoritarian Christianista Conservatives.
The brother is on the case!
Feature, not bug, for the patriarchalists among us.
That interview is precious! Bless his heart!
I especially liked that he said he thought it was domestic violence but he tried to help her out anyway. Then, of course, when the door wouldn’t open enough, he broke it enough for her to escape.
I’m sorry, I just can’t wrap my head around a mindset that would describe being raped as becoming a used piece of gum. I can’t imagine the sick and twisted brain that thinks that way. WTF is wrong with those people? In some ways they are worse than the deranged bastard that kidnapped and held those girls, at least he got something tangible out of the deal. Those other people are getting nothing while the fuck kids up for life
Yeah and then to be so Blasé about it. He seems to be a real mensch!
@Schlemizel: There’s a lot of heart in that dude.
Why do you think abstinence education only harms girls? Teaching kids that a girl who’s no longer a virgin is like a chewed up piece of gum helps heterosexual boys form healthy sexual relationships in what way? As long as men and women share the same planet, you can’t harm one sex without harming the other.
@greennotGreen: That’s true, but where did mister mix say he thought it was only harmful to girls? He was discussing the case of a girl/young woman who explained how she was harmed by it. That doesn’t preclude boys/young men being harmed by it, in different but related ways.
*mistermix. Damn you autocorrect.
@TooManyJens: Steve Jobs and I had an agreement to add my name to the dictionary of all IOS devices, but apparently that wasn’t implemented correctly after his death. Or are you using an Android device?
It’s a miracle that those women were found alive after so many years. I can’t imagine the joy and relief their families are feeling right now. Great story.
Good for Elizabeth Smart for speaking out.
I was fortunate to work out the con game that was being worked on me as a young woman, because they had not reached the heights of hate and loathing they practice today. I began to feel that with their passion for declaring everything enjoyable to be some form of “sin” it would wind up making you feel guilty about everything, such as, you know, being alive at all.
Which works very well for them. Guilt is a powerful drive to be co-opted for their own purposes.
All we need to know about Xantian marriage teachings is the fact that Christian Marriage Counseling – Sexual Dysfunction Division is a BOOMING industry. There are people married for years who are still virgins because they have been so tied in knots they can’t make stuff work.
I have many years on Elizabeth Smart but was brought up in an era where pre-marital sex was a sin – and no-one would prescribe single women contraceptives, yet guys could always buy condoms. I was told by both my parents that no man would ever want or marry “used goods” – being a woman who had sex outside of marriage.
The boys who were my friends were not subject to this type of discussion. Sowing “wild oats” was considered fine – just leave the “nice girls” alone.
Women have been harmed for centuries in ways men either don’t know about or don’t care about.
Thank you TS, I was about to post the same thing. The common way it was described when I was growing up was: “Nobody is going to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.”
That said, having seen some of what’s in modern abstinence “education” materials, they certainly will fuck with boys’ heads, albeit in different ways to the ways they fuck up girls’ heads. Most of it is what TS and Capri said — a tacit endorsement of “boys will be boys,” and a real construction of male sexuality as needing to be gate-kept by “good girls,” and a lot of implicit permission-giving to slut-shame anybody who steps out of line. That’s damaging, but not nearly as crushing to the self-esteem as telling a young girl that if she loses her virginity in any non-approved way, she’s a chewed piece of gum, a filthy licked lollypop, or any of the other trash metaphors they use.
@c u n d gulag: I have talked with people about this trying to explain how this is damaging to assault victims and it’s like trying to change a brick wall. “If we can change the mind of just one person…” Oh shut the fuck up.
(EDIT: I should note that I think abstinence-based sex ed is bullshit anyway but I don’t even bother engaging on that point…but even ‘stop hurting people who’ve been hurt’ falls on deaf ears. Infuriating.)
Sane people call it “damaging”, the wingnuts pushing it call it “encouraging marriages to stay together”.
After all, if it’s sufficient to keep a kid from running away from her kidnapper and rapist, it’s TOTALLY good at keeping battered spouses from seeking help, or keeping Pastor Gloryhole’s beard on duty.
And as I don’t understand what the guys go through (other than they can’t get pregnant) I’m sure what you say it true. Telling an 18 year old young man that “abstinence” is the only valid method of birth control is crazy – while telling them to marry young and have a quiver full of children is full blown insanity.
@TS: I was told by both my parents that no man would ever want or marry “used goods”
I am truly sorry that happened to you.
c u n d gulag
My favorites are the pro-life Jesus-freaks who are also pro-death penalty – forgetting that their precious Jesus got a death penalty himself.
Maybe that’s why they’re FOR it – without that death penalty, their Saviour would just have been one more dead Jewish wood-worker.
I was told: You’re trying to pretend the handsome doctor is interested in you, oh, you must be mistaken, if you tell your father what happened he will be so disgusted that he won’t love you anymore. Those boys will get a black mark on their permanent record! (being raped repeatedly sure put a black mark in my brain)
Right from “it didn’t happen” to the threat of what would happen for talking about it. It wasn’t about religion in my case. Parents can really fuck a kid’s mind up good without religion as an excuse. I didn’t realize how seriously wrong a lot of things that went down were, until I was a parent and thought of any of it happening to my child. Years of therapy more to understand that It was not my fault and wasn’t my responsibility as a child to have dealt with it.
I’m over 50 and only recently have I gotten my head all the way around it. I’m so glad Elizabeth Smart did not have to go for so long without help and understanting after she was freed.
@Capri: Exactly what my mother told me over the phone when I told her I was moving in with my boyfriend. I just laughed….
Our 25th wedding anniversary is next month.
Thank you for your kind comment. It really didn’t bother me at the time – and I loved both my parents always – but it was the reason for a failed first marriage – I should have run to the hills rather than marry the guy – and it was after that I felt rather bitter about that truly bad advice.
I was raised Catholic and my mom was and still is big with the guilt, but I remember laughing when she said the thing about the cows and the milk. I could not wait to get rid of my virginity. I thought it was so unnecessary and silly to make a big thing about it.
Being compared to a used up piece of gum is bad enough, but imagine being called the living dead, because you have been
sexually assaulted. That is what the leader of the opposition, Sushma Swaraj (Nancy Pelosi’s Indian counterpart) compared the woman who had been brutally raped on the bus in Delhi to, while she was still fighting for her life. The poor woman eventually died of the injuries she had sustained during the assault.
Lay off her, assholes. It’s the height of liberal dickishness to pile on a woman for not feeling the correct emotions after being raped repeatedly.
@kc: I think you’re reading comprehension may be a bit off.
@kc: Who’s piling on Elizabeth Smart? Most people here are sympathizing with her and amplifying what she’s saying about the destructiveness of patriarchal abstinence-only sex ed.
You know how the traditional reference to rape is that it’s “the fate worse than death”? That’s not because the rape in and of itself is necessarily the worst thing that can happen. It’s because traditionally women were social outcasts after a rape. Damaged goods. Shunned by their friends and family as morally suspect.
So it wasn’t the actual act of being raped that was “the fate worse than death.” It was the way everyone treated you afterwards. Good for Elizabeth Smart that she was able to examine the way she was raised and realize how it damaged her.
@kc: Who is piling on whom?
That is truly sad and disappointing that someone would tell her that and it’s completely against what Jesus lived, which was to find value in everyone simply because they were human beings.
It’s more in line with the Pharisees, which sadly, I see more and more of in churches in the United States.
@TS: I don’t think we understand what harm is done to boys by the way our cultures represent sexuality. It’s definitely more global than just sexuality surrounding reproduction. If women are completely devalued by sex outside of marriage (or in some cultures, any relationship *after* a marriage that has ended,) then the value of women is tenuous indeed. Then, when masculinity is defined in terms of what is not feminine, any suggestion of femininity in a male is a serious threat, so boys can be raised with a lot of insecurity which can play out as aggression, and especially aggression toward women. In 2004 there were 14 times as many males prison inmates as female in the US. Either males are innately criminal, or we as a culture are doing something wrong.
@kc: I entirely agree with your point regarding turbine aesthetics.
Y’all are right; I’m sorry. Didn’t read the post closely enough.
I blame the iPhone …
I don’t know if men are inherently criminal- I don’t think I am- but testosterone is a hell of a drug. There’s a reason that men’s tendency toward criminal behavior skyrockets around puberty and declines as they get older. We men may talk about women getting cranky at a certain time of the month, but we’re demonstrably the ones who do bad shit because of our hormones.
@Roger Moore: Black men and the War on drugs is the answer. As bad as abstinence only education is, I don’t think it applies here.
The war on drugs may be part of the answer, but you haven’t explained why it’s disproportionately black men who are wrapped up in the war on some drugs rather than black women. Nor why men have always been more inclined to violent crime- and violence in general- than women. There’s abundant, overwhelming evidence that men are more violent than women, and there’s a fair bit of evidence that testosterone is at the center of it.
@Roger Moore: You’re mixing multiple topics. Biologically, men are and always have been more prone to violence. That’s not strictly a human trait, either.
As for incarceration in America, the aforementioned ratio owes most of its existence to the War on Drugs and how it unfairly targets and incarcerates black men. That isn’t to say that men wouldn’t have a higher ratio than women in terms of prison populations, but saying that it’s 14:1 because of testosterone or being male isn’t even close. But, even at a lower, less racially motivated ratio, I would imagine most crime is committed based on social issues than on the levels of testosterone in the bloodstream. Speaking from personal experience, when i’m adding mass (high calorie intake, high weight lifted) and my testosterone levels increase significantly, I want to have sex, not rob a bank.
@Roger Moore: But add to testosterone a drumbeat of “men can’t control themselves.” How is that supposed to help boys develop self-control?