Elizabeth Smart: Abstinence Education Teaches Rape Victims They’re Worthless, Dirty, And Filthy‘ is the headline at uber-liberal ThinkProgress. Over at Slate, the headline reads ‘Elizabeth Smart Says Pro-Abstinence Sex Ed Harms Victims of Rape‘. Both headlines twisting her words. All across the Internet, the title screams out at you with its intended message: “Stupid Christians! We told you so!” But, those aren’t the words of devout Mormon, Elizabeth, 25. Now Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour, the kidnapping and rape survivor spends time telling her story to help women and children. At just 14-years-old, she was kidnapped from her bedroom by a monster who believed he was a prophet of God and his wife. She was ‘married’ to him in a fake ceremony and held captive for what she called “nine months of hell” before being rescued in Salt Lake suburb in Utah.
In a speech at a Johns Hopkins University panel last week, Smart talked about something she had been told by a schoolteacher.
“I remember in school one time, I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence,” Smart shared. “And she said, ‘Imagine you’re a stick of gum. When you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who is going to want you after that?’ Well, that’s terrible. No one should ever say that. But for me, I thought, ‘I’m that chewed-up piece of gum.’ Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away. And that’s how easy it is to feel you no longer have worth. Your life no longer has value.” Disgusting. I hope that teacher is out of a job.
ThinkProgress not only flat-out lied in their article by adding words that Smart never said and making assumptions. They ended their first paragraph like this: “Smart was recovered while she and her kidnappers were walking down a suburban street, leading many Americans who followed her story on the national news to wonder: Why didn’t she just run away as soon as she was brought outside?” How demented is that? I guess they thought since she mentioned it, it would be fine to use it for their purposes. Smart said, “One of the questions that is most commonly asked of me, ‘Well why didn’t you run away, why didn’t you yell, why didn’t you scream?’” Repeating it in their article is like asking her to justify her actions, which she doesn’t have to do. The article fails to mention what else Elizabeth clearly said in the speech (and that’s mentioned on her website), that her captors had told her they would kill her family if she ran. But of course, the whole truth didn’t fit their liberal narrative.
In regards to ‘not running away’, Smart said, “I was raised in a very religious household, one that taught that sex was something special that only happened between a husband and a wife who loved each other, and that’s the way I had been raised and that’s what I had been determined to follow. That when I got married, then and only then, would I engage in sex and so for that first rape I felt crushed, I felt so dirty and so filthy I understand so easily why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone.”
It’s heartbreaking to think about the fear and shame she must have felt. Teaching abstinence should never involve shaming, and yes, our children need to know that someone evil cannot take away their value. But, websites trying to claim that abstinence can’t be taught without setting your child up to be a victim is absurd. Using a survivor of such an ordeal to push their beliefs is disgusting.
Naturally, ThinkProgress did little to hide the intent and message of their article while skewing the words of Smart. They claimed (without quoting, so it’s okay…yeah, right) “…some human trafficking victims don’t run away because they feel worthless after being raped, particularly if they have been raised in conservative cultures that push abstinence-only education and emphasize sexual purity“.
Great hit piece on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church…all Christians that teach abstinence. Because, after all, it was Elizabeth Smart, and who would question what she says? Except that’s not quite what she said. How many people would look further to find out what was actually said? Not too many, in fact, some other articles are quoting ThinkProgress rather than watching the video for themselves! C’mon, “conservative cultures”, “abstinence-only education”?
The majority of the articles don’t point out that Smart primarily talked about teaching children that they are of value and that nothing that’s done to them can diminish that. They all conveniently added comments from ‘experts’ on rape…all seemingly intent on agreeing with this fake narrative. One expert mentioned how this should be “handled by schools professionally” (yeah, no thanks!). Another went on about how the schools were being ‘forced’ to ignore the ‘facts’ on sex ed. Perhaps the biggest eye opener was this one from Slate: “When we instruct teenagers to dress modestly, abstain from alcohol, never go out alone, and certainly never engage in sex, we’re not actually helping them prevent rape—but we are telling them that when they are victimized, they are partially to blame.” Really? So, getting drunk has no effect on if you’re raped? Being alone? There are a lot of rapists out there that didn’t get that rulebook!
While I usually agree with her articles, I was disappointed to see the title of Religion Dispatches article on Smart by Joanna Brooks: ‘Traditional Mormon Sexual Purity Lesson Contributed to Captivity, Elizabeth Smart Tells University Audience‘. Such a misleading, false title. Smart said nothing about a ‘Traditional Mormon Sexual Purity Lesson’. Some of the articles were so slanted that Smart’s father, Ed Smart, felt it was necessary to tell his local news channel, FOX13, that “his daughter was simply sharing her experiences, speaking for herself as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but she wasn’t trying to make any religious or political statements.” Will Elizabeth herself speak out about the liberties taken in her name? I hope so. These websites are devaluing her message in an effort to push their political agenda against Christians.
The Elizabeth Smart Foundation is located on the web at elizabethsmartfoundation.org. Her ‘Foundation Story’ reads, in part:
“Too many families experience the nightmare of having a child go missing. I know what it is like to be that child. I know what it is like to think that one false move may lead to not only your own death but the death of family members as well. Nobody can ever blame a child for their actions when they are being threatened, bullied, forced, or coerced into doing something unthinkable.”
They add, “Every child in the world deserves to have a life without abuse in any form. Children are the future.”