Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More On Abstinence Education

A new report looks specifically at how women and girls are affected by the cross-your-legs policy that the Bush administration has so eagerly supported. I have written earlier about some very carefully done studies which show that abstinence education does not work in terms of decreasing sexual activity among the target population of teens, but of course the real test of the policy is whether it works politically by keeping its supporters well funded from the public pockets.

I have downloaded the report but haven't read it yet. The e-mail it came with included this quote from a teenage girl who had participated in an abstinence education program:

Because we didn't have accurate information about what was healthy and what wasn't, I endured some awful situations because I didn't know the difference. We didn't talk about respect, boundaries, and sexual communication. So the myth of 'boys push and girls resist' informed everything. We never talked about consent because with abstinence curriculum you shouldn't consent.

Of course you shouldn't consent! That's the whole point! Though I find it interesting that boys are still expected to push, just as if there had been no abstinence education for them at all, and that girls are supposed to gate-keep. It's the very old double standard, the story about the hunter and the hunted, with the interesting variation that all blame lies with the prey.