I usually spend at least part of my lunch hour flipping through the local paper, and while bad news comes as no surprise, a story printed today was especially disconcerting. A recent study has determined that at least 1 in 4 teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease (story here), HPV being the most prevalent and, you know, a precursor to cervical cancer. 1 in 4 teenage girls. Now, of course this is an alarming report and I’m sure you can read a billion different reactions to it in a billion different blogs, and I’ll warn you right here, before you read any further, that the reaction I’m about to give is pretty conservative, pretty old-fashioned.
Here is the thing, every news story that is out there (including the one I linked to) reports the tragic facts and then, almost immediately, turns around and says, “The problem is inadequate sex-education!” The inadequate sex-ed, of course, referring to government-sponsored abstinence-heavy sex-ed programs. And yes, I’m sure that a tactic of “Don’t have sex!” is highly inneffective, and to think otherwise is to live in a dream world. Kids have sex. We know this. And apparently they get STDs, in high numbers. But do we really think the problem is the sex-education program? I mean, that might be an ineffective bandage, but is that really what is causing the wound? Do we truly, honestly think that?
I’m not going to go on and on about how backwards our culture has become (you couldn’t even read the article I linked to above without looking at some sexed-up super models caressing one another, but I said I wouldn’t get into it.) All I will say is this: I don’t know if I’ll ever have any daughters someday–I would sure like to–but it makes me very sad to think that I will have to take them to their pediatrician around the age of 10 to start receiving the HPV vaccine, because our culture tells them they have to grow up so fast, and our culture does not believe they are capable of (nor should they have to be) reigning in their hormones, and our culture is perfectly content to bombard them with sexual imagery and ideas and ideals instead of protecting their innocence as long as possible. We are failing our girls, and I don’t think it has anything to do our lousy sex education programs. Our trees have rotting roots. That’s what I think.