ABSTINENCE ANALYZATION

The money spent on these programs federally and state-wide should be expected to have a quality success rate. Why else would they be pouring buckets of cash into organizations?

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The money spent on these programs federally and state-wide should be expected to have a quality success rate.  Why else would they be pouring buckets of cash into these organizations?

bucketscash
https://giphy.com/gifs/cash-QeWVzsNC9pPRmorganizations?

Unfortunately none of the programs discussed produce the results they thought.

Imbedded within the curricula taught, are statistics parents should be enraged by.

Representative Henry Waxman, a minority leader of the House Committee on Government Reform, freed a report in December of 2004 regarding the misconduct under the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program.

waxman.jpg
Pictured: Henry Waxman  http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/henry-waxman-retirement-102858

 

“11 of the 13 abstinence-only-until-marriage programs most widely used by CBAE grantees contained false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health, misrepresentations about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing STI’s and pregnancy, as well as gender stereotypes, moral judgments, religious concepts, and factual errors.”

A House Representative found this information about these programs that are federally funded by the national government.

In order for children to become smart with the sexual choices they make, they must not be taught ignorance.

Ignorance is not bliss.  Ignorance is a parent or teacher denying  proper education to a student because they are playing puppeteer when they know the material they are giving out has been falsified.

The guidelines amongst CBAE continue to climax.  Within the curriculum, SIECUS finds the communities who accepted these funds could not provide participants (students) with any contraception or safe-sex information in a positive connotation.

The 2006 guidance from CBAE wrote, “Material must not encourage the use of any type of contraceptive outside of marriage or refer to abstinence as a form of contraception.”…”Sex education programs that promote the use of contraceptives are not eligible for funding.”.

These programs were widely used among Catholic and religious schools in general.  Here in central Illlinois a local Catholic high school was found to not even hold sex education classes.  In an interview with Lexi, a 2016 graduate shares her vivid memories:

Lexi:  “Unfortunately we did not get sex ed classes.  Who needs to learn about sex when sex before marriage isn’t even allowed?  Ha. Everyone actually! Despite no sex ed classes everyone was still having sex and it would have been extremely beneficial to be educated about it in order to be safer.  No birth control was advocated for in the Catholic Church, even if it was for reasons other than sex.”

 

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https://giphy.com/gifs/contraception-BKLYoOOrq3gBy

What she experienced was exactly what these programs wanted.  No other sex ed taught except abstinence; and as she said, that did not stop anybody from having sex… even with the power of God looking down on them.

In the guidance CBAE noted that they were broadening their definition of abstinence from intercourse, to any act of  “sexual activity”– meaning any form of genitals touching or being stimulated.  By amending the standards for the CBAE, it further hindered what teachers were allowed to speak on in classrooms.

We can revert back to the star of the show, Title V funding, to study their teaching requirements.  All of the elements required are modeled off of the 8-point chart I shared in my previous post.  To get a refresher (because this is a lot to take in I know), this is Section 510 (b):

abstinence
http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewpage&pageid=1340&nodeid=1

Regarding the first letter, “A”, there was under no exceptions, the advocation of contraceptive use or contraceptive methods, unless in reference to failure rates.

As well as excluding the use of contraceptives, these programs had gender stereotyping tendencies.

In Advocates for Youth’s findings while observing these funded programs, they found, “These curricula reinforce old stereotypes that girls should be seen more than heard and should defer to men to solve problems. They also continue to imply that boys are driven by hormones and girls are responsible for warding off sexual advances.”

A student’s workbook used in this curriculum called Sex Respect had a few thoughts on girls going through puberty; “when girls need to start acting as well-mannered ladies, instead of uncontrolled children, since they are physically capable of having a child-“

As far as the mens’ roles are concerned, the same workbook states, “a young man’s natural desire for sex” is higher than women’s because of their raised levels of testosterone, passing the responsibility for controlling sexual situations on women; “yet because they generally become physically aroused less easily, girls are still in a good position to slow down the young man and help him learn balance in the relationship.”

This is not teaching abstinence. This is furthering rape culture.

We should be teaching our children about each other based on scientific studies and experimentally backed information.  In contrast to the abstinence programs, studies found, “many studies show that men share with women the full spectrum of emotions and emotional needs”“The reality is that most gender-related differences between males and females are the results of culture and societal pressures (including stereotyped education) and not of nature.”

These guidelines are demeaning to women and encouraging male superiority.

Choosing the Best Path, a textbook used in these programs, explains on page 19 how sexual activity can lead to a list of psychological issues; “including isolation, jealousy, poverty, heartbreak, substance abuse, unstable long-term commitments, sexual violence, embarrassment, depression, personal disappointment, feelings of being used, loss of honesty, loneliness, and suicide— “can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage”.

The reality is any human of any age can suffer from these symptoms without being sexually active in the first place.  Abstaining from sex does not guarantee adolescents won’t encounter any of these struggles.

The misuse of data and relaying half true information is kind of like saying you’ve had sex before, but forgetting to mention your body count is in the triple digits.

There are two studies I found analyzing the outcomes of abstinence-funded programs within the United States.

advocatesforyouth
http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/

Advocates for Youth conducted a study over five years assessing the impact abstinence-only programs had.  Ten states made it possible to review the evaluations: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Missouri, Nebraska, and California.

The results for short term evaluations are as followed:

Attitudes endorsing abstinence—10 evaluations tested for short-term changes in attitudes.

Intentions to Abstain—Nine evaluations measured short-term changes in intentions.

Sexual Behaviors—Six evaluations measured short-term changes in sexual behavior.

  • Three of six programs had no impact on sexual behavior (California, Maryland, and Missouri).
  • Two of six programs reported increases in sexual behavior from pre- to posttest (Florida and Iowa). It was unclear whether the increases were due to youth’s maturation or to a program’s effect, as none of these evaluations included a comparison group.
  • One of the six programs showed mixed results (Pennsylvania).**

Relating to long term impacts, their findings were parallel.

Four out of five evaluations done showed no long-term positive impact on attitudes concerning sexual behavior, three out of four showed no long-term positive impact on intentions to abstain from intercourse, and no evaluation demonstrated any impact on reducing a teens’ sexual behavior at follow-up.

The study found that programs were most fortunate in improving students’ attitudes towards abstinence and least likely to positively affect their sexual actions.

In conclusion, the study found that “only one in the 10 states did any program demonstrate short-term success in delaying the initiation of sex, and none showed long-term success in impacting teen sexual behavior.”

As a person can see, these programs are sufficient in changing the attitudes of kids for a short period of time; but where it really counts (long term) there is no change.

The second study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research over 9 years. They closely watched four programs picked by state officials and abstinence experts that were said to be “especially promising”.

Following over 2,000 teens for the next 6-9 years, the data produced was not in favor of these federally funded programs; “…none of the four programs was able to demonstrate a statistically significant beneficial impact on young people’s sexual behavior. Students in the abstinence-only programs had a similar number of sexual partners and a similar age of first sexual intercourse as their peers not in the programs.”

The report went on to say, Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs had no positive impact on students sexual activity; ranging from being ineffective to potentially harming the students’ health choices and understanding.

I understand this is a lot of information to take in for any of you who have a mini human at home.  It should be alarming and it should make you want to see change.  These programs need to have rules set in place so students get an education of wholesome quality.

There are plenty of ways to make a difference in the community to raise awareness! Political activism is the new trend after all.

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https://giphy.com/gifs/2dopequeens-wnyc-2-dope-queens-xUPGcs1KSdwC4t1KqQ

The first court hearing on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs was held in April of 2008.

(This is important kids! Remember all of these programs were enacted in private so this is the first public discussion after 27 years!)

Witnesses gathered to speak including leading medical and sexual health experts, youth speakers who have gone or were going through the programs, and government officials as well as members of Congress.

The professionals in the medical field testified on the programs’ effectiveness.

The youth shared it’s effects on their lives.

And what did everybody have in common? SIECUS states, “The vast majority of researchers testified that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective at getting young people to delay sexual initiation and had not been effective at reducing teen pregnancies or STDs, including HIV.”

The efforts from these citizens resulted in the CBAE receiving its first cut in federal funds and finally ended in 2010.

Democracy people!  To the humans that birthed or raised little munchkins, I urge you to weigh abstinence funded programs and comprehensive sex ed side by side.  The choice is yours.

 

 

 

 

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