Why Some People Hide Sexual Assault After Abstinence-Only Education. 14/7/2017

Published by TEENVOGUE

"Many abstinence-only programs instill fear and shame."

I came home with two dark hickies on my neck when I was 16 years old. They were poorly covered in thick layers of cheap drugstore foundation, and I walked into the house wearing (and sweating in) a purple scarf. It was late spring and the Southern heat was already closing in on us.

From that moment on, I don’t remember many details. All the while, the sour, unwanted taste of semen remained on the back of my tongue and I was confused as to why there was so much pain between my thighs.

I spent the following weeks crying and literally repenting at church for what I thought I had done wrong, when the reality was, a boy I knew, trusted, and liked took me out on a faux date, in which he drove me to an abandoned lot, locked the car doors, and shoved his hard penis into places I did not want it to be. I was too paralyzed in a cloud of fear to even think about escaping. More importantly, I was convinced that it was all my fault. That I deserved this.

According to the Guttmacher Institute survey, 37 states currently require that information on abstinence be provided in school's sex education programs, and my suburban Georgian school was no exception. In the classroom and at church we were taught that “good girls” saved themselves for marriage. The adults said if we really loved “God” and respected ourselves enough, we would refrain from sex until we were married.