Monday, January 14, 2008

Losing my religion, part 2

In high school, I was raped the night before a big football game at our local college. My date (who I had known for two years, but only as a passing acquaintance) said we were going to a "party" at his friend's apartment, but when we got there, there was nobody there but the two of us.
"Oh, well, it must be somewhere else," he said. "Let's just wait on D to get here." He made me a drink.

It was clearly drugged, because I drank just half of it, and dutifully blacked out, waking up to find that we were having sex. Except, you know, I hadn't consented. I began to scream and fight, I banged on the wall of the apartment building-- everything. He finally relented, maybe terrified that I put up such a fight, and I numbly crawled to retrieve my dress, which he had neatly hung over the doorknob.

And that's how I lost my virginity.

I demanded he take me home, but I could barely walk. I stumbled to the car. I threatened to call the cops, but knew what would happen in our small town if I brought rape charges against one of our school's golden boys. My reputation would be tarnished for life, and I would be branded a whore or worse for being alone in a house with a boy.

And my parents would find out that I drank. So I decided against it.

He drove me to a frat party, where I called a friend to pick me up.

Three months later, I was diagnosed with depression and put on medication. It never occurred to me that the two events could be related. Meanwhile, I attended church less and less.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Losing my religion, part 1

When I was in middle school, my parents finally decided to stop traveling. My mother, like I, didn't exactly believe the scare-tactic ideals that [drama ministry] espoused. And my father agreed that it would be best if my baby sister and I were around kids other than, you know, each other.
I spent seventh grade getting my bearings at a private school so small there was only one other girl in my class. She was, but given my limited choices, my best friend. The next year she and I were both thrown into our local public school, where I expected us to stick together, and she proceeded to tell every kid there that I was, among other things, "slutty" and "bulimic."
So I had no friends, save the school drug dealer, who was cute enough, and moreover, took an interest in me.
He told me I was ugly, my teachers hated me, and that my boobs weren't big enough. A full head taller than me and probably fifty pounds heavier, he threatened me when I would wear nice clothes and accuse me of trying to pick up other guys. Then, we would make out behind the cafeteria after school.
One time I caught him there when he was making a deal, and he grabbed me by the throat and pushed me against the brick wall. It tore a hole in my shirt.
I was in eighth grade.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The dirty, dirty south

The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world, even though our teenagers are not really any more sexually active than those in other countries. What's more, in the Bible Belt, the pregnancy rates AND STD rates are highest of them all. Alabama. Mississippi. Kentucky. Arkansas. Texas. South Carolina.
If these kids are so godly, then why are they having sex? Because they're teenagers. Duh. Teenagers live to fuck.
But cultural and religious shame prevents them from taking precautions.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the actual sex education program I was given in high school health class. No other sex ed was available to us. What's more, if we were found with "inappropriate paraphernalia" on campus, it could be confiscated. This included any form of birth control. I actually witnessed one guy's truck searched and his condoms taken away one week during homecoming. That's right... while students in blue states were being handed birth control in high school and health departments, ours had theirs taken away. I still saw girls covertly taking the Pill with their lunch (of course, every single one of them maintained that it was for some reason other than to not get pregnant).
Why is abstinence-based sexual education dangerous? I'm sure you can think of your own reasons, but here are a few:
  • To teach kids that they should wait until marriage implies that there is some "magic moment" when you are ready to have sex. Some 17-year-old friends got married solely for that reason. Which is worse-- to begin a lifetime commitment you don't have the emotional maturity to handle, or to just go ahead and have premarital sex?
  • If sex after marriage is okay, what of third world child brides? Because they are committed to their husbands for life, is it more acceptable for these 12- and 13-year-old girls to be having sex than a far more worldly 22-year-old college student in a different country? Marriage does not imply readiness.
  • Current scientific studies are looking deeper into research that has shown that men who wait until they are married (e.g., in their twenties or later) to have sex are more likely to experience impotence.
  • Not to mention that new studies have shown that delinquency and teen sex not only do not have a positive correlation, but actually might have a negative one.

    So in conclusion, please just tell them to use condoms already.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Exam week

(Side note: I love video games about as much as I love porn.)

So I should be studying for finals, but whenever I'm at home, reviewing PowerPoint slides of brains or history or whatever devolves into reading Kotaku or starting my billionth game of Morrowind.

Anyway, I had heard that Jerry Bruckheimer was going to direct the "Prince of Persia" movie, which doesn't bother me, though I wonder how he's going to incorporate all the explosions. I do, however, question Disney's involvement.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hellfire and brimstone

In the cheesy (but badass) John Woo movie "Paycheck," Uma Thurman says something like, "All we are is the sum of our experiences." Maybe it's a hokey movie quote, but I think it's pretty true, at least in my case. I have lots to say, and no real outlet to say it. And here is why:

I am the daughter of a pretty well-known, voraciously proselytizing Christian singer. If I write in a tangible journal, and my sister finds it on a visit to Boston, or I somehow die tomorrow in a terrible car accident, my parents might read it and then know for certain (instead of perpetually debating the notion) that their daughter is, essentially, an unreligious whore of Babylon. Call me a liar, but I'd rather be dishonest with them than break my father's heart.

When I was a child, for almost a decade, my family lived out of suitcases and seedy motel rooms (or pastor's houses), going church to church presenting a famous-for-being-controversial evangelical drama (akin to this one, but with a lot more hellfire and brimstone, and a lot lower budget). The premise was this: some people die, and go to heaven or hell. "Heaven" is a massive mylar sheet with silk-clad angels and, "streets of gold." Jesus welcomes Christians with open arms, and they go offstage, presumably to play harps and frolic on clouds or whatever they do up there.

"Hell" is where it gets dicey... a caped, makeup-clad, voice-modulated Satan literally drags nonbelievers into a flaming pit of fire, represented via red silk and smoke machine. And, you guys, it's fucking scary.

Disagree? You have to see it to believe it: during the "altar call," hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of people would walk out of that sanctuary at the end of the night, literally scared into salvation. Elderly people. Rich and poor people, black and white people. Even little kids.

Even when I was younger, I would ask my dad whether it was okay to "scare" people into believing in God. His response? "I'd rather scare 'em into heaven than lure 'em into hell."