An Apology to the Uneducated

by Jillian Kearns, Student Contributor

In the last edition of The Crusader, there was an article describing why only abstinence should be taught to teenagers. Several of the arguments were flawed, so I would like to address the mistakes to the writer (Scott Kingsley ‘17). You comment on how a person’s chances of raping someone are zero if they remain abstinent, but this claim completely ignores what rape actually is. Rape is a crime of power, in which sex is implemented as a form of control. To be frank, rape is not about simply being horny. Even if people abstain from sex, the abuse that comes from rape will manifest in different forms, such as bullying or physical abuse. The mindset of a rapist does not change when the element of sex is taken away, so the idea that no sex means the problem of rape is solved is unfounded. This claim also portrays rape in light of the rapist, not the rape victim. Let’s say someone remains abstinent as per your instructions. This does not stop the actions of others. This person’s body will be violated in the worst ways, even though they did not have sex of their own accord. The most virtuous person in the world can still be a victim of rape, and then what? Because of programs such as the ones you support, these victims are unaware of the resources available to them, such as police reports, rape kits, anti-STD drugs, counseling, and abortion. Victims become marginalized and ignored because sex and sex related topics remain taboo due to improper education.

Sex education classes that promote abstinence also shame students who are developing their own sexuality. We are all adults here and have gone through puberty, a very natural process. With this comes excessive hormones, which make people more inclined to want to participate in consensual sexual activities. To look children in the eye and teach them they are wrong for experiencing something so natural and universal feeds into slut shaming culture, can induce self-hatred for having such urges, and can lead to a slew of mental illness. When an individual eventually decides they are ready for sex, they are unsure of the best ways to be safe. If we are being honest, abstinence is unrealistic. And to avoid giving children the tools they will need to practice safe sex is damaging.

Your claim that teen pregnancy is on the rise demonstrates your arrogance in thinking you already know everything about the topic of teenage sex. A quick Google search will reveal that teenage pregnancy rates have decreased by nine percent since 2013. Let’s also discuss your argument that a person needs two parents in order to thrive, and being raised by one leaves them with a bleak future. There are thousands of successful people with one parent: Angelina Jolie, Kanye West, and Barack Obama, just to name a few. I am sure Kanye West’s million dollar fortune or Barack Obama’s two presidential terms would like to discuss how vital a two-parent household was to their success. The nuclear family is dead—any combination of people who love each other can constitute a family and become the building blocks for a pleasant childhood. Your claim that mankind did not come this far from screwing around for fun is also wrong. There are biological reasons humans enjoy sex. If you enjoy it and do it for pleasure, you are bound to do it again. Hence the pleasure derived from sex contributes to the continuation of the human race. If older generations did not enjoy sex, they simply would not do it.

Later in your article, you compare people to used cars. Your comparison of people to cars, stating that you would not want a partner who has sexual experience in the same way you would not want a used car that has hundreds of thousands of miles, is degrading. It implies that people are only worth the number of sexual partners they have had. There is no correlation between a person’s character and whether they slept with zero, five, or twenty people. People are so much more complex than their sexual endeavours, and for you to devalue a person based off your beliefs in sex is highly insulting.

I would also like to point out your calling out the first writer’s spelling mistake. You had completely false information present in your article; how does this compare to a simple spelling error? Your SEVERAL allusions to this mistake are nothing but your attempt to discredit the writer, making her seem inferior to you despite having done actual research into the information she was presenting. There is no need for ridiculing the smallest mistakes, it just makes your argument seem so weak you have to rely on arbitrary details to complete your defense.

It is okay to have differing opinions, it is even okay to present a response to an argument in which you counter a person on their beliefs. What is NOT alright is your bullying. It is not okay to present an argument without understanding the facts, and it is not okay for you to think you have some moral high ground, unfounded and in instances, completely inaccurate. I am glad you are at an establishment of higher education, because clearly you have a lot to learn.

4 thoughts on “An Apology to the Uneducated

  1. Jill,
    I was going to write a response in next weeks issue, but let’s be honest, no one wants to read a response to a response to a response. The problem with your article is not so much poor writing or mischaracterization of my statements so much as it is ideological dogmatism, so I’ll list you the number of inaccuracies with which your paper was rife with:

    1. I used the word “apology” in my title in the Aristotelian sense meaning “a defense of,” not “a regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure” as you clearly thought and tried to imitate. It’s clear you didn’t understand that so I thought I’d clear that up. The article wasn’t to talk down on anyone, rather defending a more healthy lifestyle. (see: Plato’s Apology or Montaigne’s An Apology For Raymond Sebond).

    2. I stated that “if you don’t have sex until marriage” your chances of raping someone are “0%”. That is true. I didn’t say OF BEING raped, I said of RAPING SOMEONE. And rape isn’t about “forms of control;” the crime itself is defined by the Department of Justice as “the penetration, no matter how slight….” Etc etc. The crime of rape, which we were talking about here, involves penetration.

    3. You seem to forget what this article was; this was not “Scott Kingsley’s solution to sex education.” No, it was a response to an article stating that of two disparate options (a “sex positive culture” and one where we strive for abstinence), the latter is certainly better.

    4. Also, a quick Google search revealed that teenage pregnancy decreased by 9% between 2013 and 2014, not since 2013 as you stated. If you’re going to come at me about not researching, it would behoove you to research yourself. The problem remains an “epidemic” as even Ms. Priest conceded.

    5. This article was a COMPLIMENT to anyone who was raised by a single parent! How do you not understand this? All of those statistics are correct, so any child of a single parent who has become successful has overcome tremendous odds that were stacked against them! Also I never stated “a person needs two parents in order to thrive.” I stated that they are better off, and statistically, they are.

    6. As I stated in my article, your value in the eyes of a potential sexual partner, is impacted by your number of sexual partners. If I slept with 1,000 women would women be more interested in that version of me than the same version of me that slept with 1? Of course not. Just because you found my analogy degrading, doesn’t actually make it wrong.

    7. Carly Priest is a History and English double major. I’ve been reading her articles for a while now and trust me when I say this is not the first typo I’ve found. The error also appeared twice, which indicates she isn’t informed on the subject she was speaking. Something had to be done; we’re a liberal arts college with a world-class English department. If you’re a representative of that department on a public stage you should act like such, and proofread your material. Also as a history major you should know what the Social Security Act is.

    8. Lastly, for someone who claims I don’t understand “the facts” and that my arguments are “completely inaccurate”, you don’t give A SINGLE source, statistic, survey, article, or ANYTHING that claims I’m wrong. If you come at someone who has presented facts, try coming with some of your own next time. You claim I don’t understand the facts? Well then educate me! I’m open to listen but you didn’t provide anything but dogmatic ramblings.

    Facts don’t care about your feelings, and all the facts I presented were either from the government or a scholarly source. If I offended you, great, welcome to the real world. Just because you don’t like what I said, doesn’t make it bullying. Although I will say, implying that I’m uneducated as well as stating that I “clearly” have a lot to learn is definitely bullying; I just don’t care. I’m glad we’re both at an “establishment of higher education” because part of that includes hearing opinions that aren’t yours. Do try harder next time.

    Best,

    Scott Kingsley

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  2. Scott,

    I am a fellow Holy Cross senior, and I wrote my thesis on abstinence-only education. My thesis revealed that abstinence-only education can produce some benefits, but is mostly ineffective, at least in the way it is traditionally implemented in the United States. A survey conducted on behalf of a government agency (the findings were published by ABC News) found that

    “Researchers found no evidence that these abstinence-only programs increased rates of sexual abstinence.

    The study also showed that the students participating in these abstinence-only programs had a similar number of sexual partners as their peers not in the programs, and that the age of first sex was similar for both groups too.”

    According to another survey covered by the Washington Post, in which half of several thousand children received abstinence-only education, “By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent. The sexually active teenagers had sex the first time at about age 15. More than a third of both groups had two or more partners.”

    Furthermore, the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/) reports that states with the highest rates of abstinence-only education (such as Mississippi) are also the states with the highest rates of teen pregnancy, and vice versa.

    Abstinence-only education, in general, does not discourage teenagers from having sex: involvement in religious communities and mentorship programs is far more likely to delay adolescent sexual experiences. More importantly, though, the tone you use in your article and in this comment are extremely off-putting. Your ad-hominem attacks on Carly Priest are ridiculous and reek of arrogance. One of the most important aspects of debating with others is being able to treat your opponents with dignity and respect, and you failed mightily in that endeavor.

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  3. Kelly,

    Thanks for your insight- I’d love to read your thesis if you’d be willing to send it along. As I reminded Jill, my article was not my personal solution to sex-education, rather, a response to an article that advocated a “sex-positive” culture over preaching abstinence. In light of the two options presented by Carly, I think striving more towards abstinence is the safer option based on the problems she mentioned (STIs, pregnancy, etc.) Furthermore, promoting random sexual encounters unconnected to long term emotional commitments has been shown to degrade women’s self respect, while also encouraging men to regard women as mere tools for their own physical gratification. Personally, I don’t think that is a good thing. Do you?

    Lastly, correcting spelling errors is not “an attack,” or arrogant- its constructive criticism. What is definitely an attack is telling someone they’re “uneducated” and calling them a “bully” because they hold a different opinion, which is what Jill did. Her article was wildly inappropriate, and lacked evidence. She also claimed I stated things that I never did. What reeks of arrogance is claiming someone you don’t know is uneducated because they have a separate outlook (which they actually decide to support with facts). It is clear you were fine with her insulting article though. Can you honestly tell me with a straight face that she treated me with dignity or respect?

    Best,

    Scott Kingsley

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