For some reason or another, Ohio schools seemed to be inundated with some of the worst abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the entire country.
Ohio is the home of Elizabeth’s New Life Center, notable for employing Derek the Abstinence Clown, who comes to middle school classrooms to perform and inform kids that using condoms is like juggling machetes. Elizabeth also teaches that abortion will give you breast cancer and “post-abortion-syndrome“, a nice fallback for those unfortunate students who learned sex from a fracking clown and find themselves with a positive pregnancy test.
Ohio also has the creatively named Abstinence Till Marriage program, whose Miss the Mess website happily promoted Rape Culture, informing youth that, as Jill put it, “you can’t rape a slut” (this was before the Netroots shamed them into taking it down, fortunately).
But Ohio also has Operation Keepsake, another multi-million dollar ab-only beneficiary of our tax dollars over the past decade. (I’ll give you a hint what the “keepsake” is: it rhymes with rhymin’)
I recently ran across a quiz on their website called “Are you a treasure or a target”, aimed at young women.
Yea, I bet you see where this is going…
Below is the quiz. I bolded hypothetical answers for each question to see if I was, in fact, a “target”.
1. Micro minis are hot again, but they don’t leave too much to the imagination. You:
a. Run out to Express and buy one.
b. Compromise-cut off your longer jean skirt to give it a fresh look, but no shorter than a couple of inches above the knee.
c. Who cares about the latest style? You hate skirts-its cargo pants all the way.
2. You met your crush at:
b. A teen dance club
c. Through a friend of the family
3. Your crush asks you out. He seems really nice but you’re not sure he values waiting to have sex until marriage like you do. You:
a. Ask him straight up.
b. Go with the flow-it will come up sooner or later.
c. Assume he’s a good guy. I mean, he’s cute and dresses well.
4. What do you know about your crush?
a. Not much, except that he’s hot!
b. He looks good on my arm, and he’s been a real gentleman the whole two weeks we’ve gone out!
c. He’s cute, respectful, and fun to hang with.
5. Your parents give you an 11 P.M. curfew. You think it’s SO childish. Don’t they trust you? So when you’re out with your crush, you:
a. Lie about it-tell him you have a 12:30 A.M. curfew.
b. Respect your parents and confidently tell your guy that he should have you home by 11 p.m.
c. Tell the truth, but trash your parents and their “stupid” rules in the meantime.
6. You’re at the movies with friends and you notice a group of cute guys. You:
a. Walk by repeatedly, tossing your hair, talking and giggling loudly.
b. Walk right up to them and invite them to sit with you and your friends.
c. Appreciate the fact that they are cute and move on. They might be cute, but you know nothing about them.
As you can see, I chose some pretty “conservative” answers, nothing that could even remotely be considered “scandalous”. But guess what? Wrong. A young woman filling out the quiz this way is informed that they are, in fact, a “target”:
6 – 10: Target…You make decisions based on what others think instead of what is best and healthiest for you. It’s not a big deal when it comes to picking simple things like shoes, but when it comes to major decisions-like who you date-you could be in a lot of trouble. If you want to be truly respected and valued for the real you, then you’ve got to know what makes you truly valuable. Hint: It’s more than your body, your looks, the friends you hang with, and the guys you date. If you don’t know what really makes you valuable, then why would anyone else?
Yes, in other words: “if you act like a tramp, you’ll get what’s coming to you”.
“Slut-shaming” and Rape Culture, all wrapped into one.
But the madness from Operation Keepsake of course doesn’t stop there. As is the case with most abstinence-only programs, they intentionally demonize condom use.
BUT… maybe you’re saying that wearing a condom is still better than nothing. Hmm…interesting idea. Tell you what, I’ll go out to the parking lot after school and we’ll have a demonstration about that point. I’ll run out into the street and stand in front of a car. Before I let it hit me, I’ll put on a football helmet because it’s better than wearing nothing.
With President Obama zeroing out the existing federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in his 2010 budget, their days of sucking up our tax dollars to spew this nonsense are numbered. The battle will now come down at the local level, both in terms of state/local government, and these organizations’ ability to raise money in the private sector to stay afloat.
In Ohio, as well as the rest of the country, let’s hope they sink.
- Abstinence-Only Ed Sez, “You can’t rape a slut!” by Jill February 13, 2009
- puzzle activity time! by Little Light September 28, 2009
- “You don’t have to tell me about ‘the parts’… just tell me to wait” by Joe Sonka August 28, 2009
- Victims’ Advocates “Schooled in Man-Hating” by Jill December 15, 2005
- lovers in a dangerous time by Little Light September 15, 2009