If you are the parent of a middle or high school student, consider posting this to any and all of their social media accounts. It may help them and may help their friends who read it.
We live in a world that no longer sends mixed messages about sex. Our world sends one message about sex: it is for anyone, any time, any where, without boundaries. Anything goes, any one is fair game, victims–if they even exist–are irrelevant.
For many if not most, sex is not sacred. It is not holy. It is not seen as special. It is not seen as a blessing of marriage. It is animalistic.
Too often sex is an expression of violence, not love; power, not kindness; aggression, not gentleness.
Girls in middle and high school are increasingly victimized by boys and young men whose erroneously developed view of females has been substantially shaped by pornography. Writing out of concern for his own young daughters, Cole Moreton helps explain this pervasive behavior, currently being acted out in British schools:
“Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault – from ads, alcohol marketing, girls’ magazines, sexually explicit TV programmes and the hard pornography that is regularly accessed in so many teenager’s bedrooms,” says the psychologist Steve Biddulph, currently touring the country to promote a book called Raising Girls.
[Boys] are under pressure too, being led to believe that girls will look and behave like porn stars. Our children are becoming victims of pornification.
“It is usually girls who are on the receiving end of some pretty degrading stuff,” says Claire Perry MP, who has just been appointed David Cameron’s special adviser on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. “We’ve got young girls being asked to write their names on their boobs and send pictures. Parents would be really shocked to know this is happening in pretty much every school in the country. Our children are growing up in a very sexualised world.”
And it is not just in the Old Country. A 2010-2011 survey of American middle and high school students revealed
48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment in person or electronically via texting, email and social media, according to a major national survey being released Monday by the American Association of University Women.
The harassers often thought they were being funny, but the consequences for their targets can be wrenching, according to the survey. Nearly a third of the victims said the harassment made them feel sick to their stomach, affected their study habits or fueled reluctance to go to school at all.
Ongoing investigations in a Steubenville, Ohio rape case reveals high school behavior as perverse as anything a movie writer could concoct after a week of binge-drinking.
Critics say football’s dominance in the town makes them suspicious that authorities have been lax in investigating allegations involving Big Red players last August, when a 16-year-old West Virginia girl was allegedly carried, unconscious, from one teen party to another and sexually assaulted.
Two players were arrested and charged with the crime, but many locals think there were other players involved. Some social media activists have posted images, purportedly from the parties, that depict players who have not been charged with a crime. One video, of a now-former player joking about the girl’s condition and treatment, caused worldwide outrage when it went viral a few weeks ago.
The New Yorker adds, “What emerged was terrifying: rumor had it that she’d been repeatedly sexually assaulted at several parties, publicly dragged from house to house, unconscious, as a ‘joke.'”
We have, in large part, allowed society to explain the mechanics of sex, define the meaning of sex and erase the boundaries of sex. Its sacredness questioned, disbelieved and mocked. Unlike stray dogs in the yard where a bucket of water might separate, students grab smartphones and celebrate. Again from Moreton:
Kamal, a boy in the same [grade], says: “Say I got a girlfriend, I would ask her to write my name on her breast and then send it to me and then I would upload it on to Facebook or Bebo or something like that.” The profile picture on his phone, seen by everyone to whom he sends messages, is an image of his girlfriend’s cleavage. Some of the boys at his school have explicit images of up to 30 different girls on their phone. They swap them like we used to swap football cards. If they fancy a girl, they send her a picture of their genitals. As one teenage girl said after the report came out, sending pictures of your body parts is “the new flirting”.
Recall Moreton’s article which gets at the truth: girls are under a sustained assault, an assault that began in Eden and has not slowed. Consider this idiocy from one Missouri school:
when one 13-year-old girl in Missouri reported being harassed about her breast size, her mother called the school district to put an end to her daughter’s humiliation.
The school’s first response? The only way for the bullying to stop was for her daughter to undergo breast reduction surgery.
The problem, in the mind of this school employee, is not bullying or sexual harassment. The problem is obviously the girl’s breasts. If they were smaller all the fellows could get back to trigonometry. Or, more likely, underwater basket weaving. When victims are blamed, abusers are empowered. Take that to the bank.
The effects of hormones, sinfulness, alcohol and callousness make any middle or high school party suspect–off or on campus. By “suspect” I mean 100 percent off limits, especially for believers. These instances are not about reaching people with the gospel where they are; it is about protecting girls from unknowingly ingesting a date-rape-drug spiked drink. Parents who ignore this border on being brain dead. (My apologies to the brain dead for the insult.)
The effects of always available, easily accessible pornography cannot be overstated. Pornography is itself a fantasy; there is nothing real about it from the arranged scenarios to body parts. Porn, at its core, is about women saying “yes” to any sexual encounter, and meaning “yes” even when they say “no.” Everyone looks happy, everyone looks like they have had a good time.
This porn problem goes right into the hallways, classrooms and bathrooms in schools every day. These addictions sustain such a powerful grip some boys say they cannot go to sleep without watching porn. You really think this stays behind the bedroom door?
If you are a middle or high school student reading this understand: you are growing up in a culture that, for the most part, treats sex with disrespect. Since you are a sexual being (by God’s design) you may suffer disrespect as well. That which was designed to be intimate and personal is open and displayed. In this, sex is degraded to be much less that God designed it to be.
The sexual wholeness of our beings far, far surpasses the physical coupling of bodies. Animals can do that; animals regularly do that. You are not an animal; you are a person for whom there are emotional consequences to every act. A person for whom Jesus Christ died and was raised.
What has been one effect of this hyper-sexualization?
A recent report in USAToday, conducted by Market Tools Inc., found 42% of single men and women over the age of 21 would not date a virgin.
Stop and let that sink in for a while. Nearly half of single young adults would not date a person they knew to have no sexual experience.
Further results may reveal why: 44% of women and 63% of men had already had one-night stands. Nearly 1/3 said they’ve had sex by the third date, and forty-six percent by the sixth date. That means almost one in three single adults surveyed go to a movie on Friday, to dinner on Monday and to bed on Tuesday. Another 15 or so percent wait all the way until the following weekend before hopping in the sack.
Alley-cats everywhere salute you.
Young ladies, hear me: you are not an object to be pawed, groped, leered at, assaulted, abused, attacked, or sexualized. You need not give up your body and yourself to please any guy until a pastor or judge has pronounced you as married. Even if that guy gets what he wants, he will still not have what he needs. It is not your fault when parents, police, pastors or school administrators do not come to your defense. You bear the image of God and are worthy of respect.
Young men, hear me: God did not design you to be an aggressor, gawker, abuser, user, or predator. You show manliness at no greater point than when you stand on the side of victims, not when you join running train on them. Real men show restraint. Do not be afraid to swim firmly against the cultural tides for the sake of the gospel.
(Yes, I’m aware of role reversal. Sometimes girls are aggressors and boys are victims. In the realm of sexuality in American schools, however, girls seems to be suffering the most.)
Parents, you must be vigilant. Talk to your kids about bullying and harassment, and protect them. Have very frank discussions with teachers and administrators at their schools. But, most of all, teach them the sacredness of sex and sexuality from the biblical perspective. Model it for them. And pray for them without ceasing.