Women learn to “walk a tight rope” from early stages in life. One of those lessons is intimacy, are you or aren’t you sexually active? Are you or aren’t you a virgin on your wedding night? How many people have you slept with? Have you had an HIV test recently?
I think it is important to talk about the importance of understanding character, relationships, motivation, choices and good decision-making.
Kristen Howerton, blogger for the Huffington Post, wrote a piece on, “The Damaging Effects of Shame-Based Sex Education: Lessons From Elizabeth Smart” on 5/7/13. Before the piece was published Ms. Smart, who was kidnapped, raped and held captive for nearly a year, spoke about her experience at a forum on human trafficking at John Hopkins University. “I’ll never forget how I felt lying on the ground. I felt like my soul had been crushed. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. How could anyone ever love me or care for me after this? I felt like life had no more meaning in it. And that was only the beginning.
After the rape 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 is how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. 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.”
Elizabeth Smart's comments stunned me. My thoughts went back to a similar abuse in my childhood, being punished and told I couldn't wear white at my wedding.
I think that kind of conditioning must be why women don’t report rapes on campus, as children and as an adult.