“What do you think needs to happen to end a culture of rampant sexual harassment and assault?”
Last weekend, Planned Parenthood sent out a tweet asking the above question. It was about a week after the Golden Globes, where almost every woman in attendance wore black in honor of those who have come forward with stories of surviving sexual assault or harassment in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Responses both on Twitter and on PP’s website were interesting, to the say the least. They varied from “Remove men from the planet” (okay….?), “Elect more women,” make it easier for women to come forward and report offenders, teach women self-defense, and “teach boys from a young age that they must never touch women without permission.”
Most of the answers had at least a sliver of potential (except for the “Remove all men from the planet” one… that was a bit psychotic)–but only in the short-term. Most of the answers didn’t aim to address the problem at its very foundation: a widespread culture of death and of use. A culture that not only permits but encourages the use of persons as a means to an end.
Planned Parenthood asked what we, as a culture, should do now, now that thousands of women have spoken up and said #metoo.
I’ll give them a few ideas. It starts with radically reevaluating what they do as an organization.
1. Stop promoting birth control and stop doing abortions. Especially sex-selective abortions.
Planned Parenthood, stop encouraging irresponsible and selfish actions when it comes to sex by pushing a worldview that separates sex from its natural purpose–procreation.
Planned Parenthood promotes birth control and abortion as necessary facets of any woman’s life. They operate on the assumption that women are going to have as much sex as they want, but never own up to the consequences of that action–parenthood–except when it’s convenient, if ever.
What would happen if men and women really understood the purpose of sex (procreation) and every time they engaged in it, they had to face the possibility that they would reap the consequences of that act? They might be more careful. They might treat it as the sacred act that it is. They’d only engage in it when they were in the position to potentially bring new life into the world and raise a child (read: marriage).
But birth control and abortion completely remove any and all consequences. Don’t want a baby but want sex? Take birth control, they say. Get pregnant but don’t want the baby? Have an abortion, they say.
All consequences are gone and sex is turned into something cheap. Something recreational. Just some activity to do that might be exciting and feel good for a fleeting moment in time. In the context of a loving and self-giving marriage, sex is spouses giving themselves entirely to each other in a relationship that is faithful and permanent. Casual sex or sex between the unmarried is a lie; you’re engaging in an act that says “I give myself to you” but you’re not in a position to make that statement. You end up taking rather than giving. And that is use.
This is not to say that completely eliminating birth control and abortion would automatically eliminate sexual assault and rape. Certainly men would still take advantage of women and not care about the consequences because people are fallible and this is a problem of serious, serious sin.
But my point is that sexual harassment and assault happen because we as a culture have so totally skewed and distorted and perverted the real purpose and meaning of sex–an expression of self-giving love between a man and woman in marriage with the power to bring forth a physical sign of that love in a new life– and birth control and abortion are entirely to blame.
Oh, and please stop performing sex-selective abortions on baby girls, Planned Parenthood. It kind of hurts the whole “pro-woman” thing you’re trying to keep afloat.
2. Stop enabling sex traffickers and the sex trade.
This one should really be a no-brainer, but alas. Live Action uncovered Planned Parenthood employees who were “willing to help a man who identified himself as a sex trafficker covertly obtain abortions and other reproductive health care services for minors as young as 14.” When PP was called out on it by groups like Live Action, they responded “not by training employees how to spot and report sex trafficking–but by teaching them how not to get caught saying incriminating things to undercover journalists.”
And this wasn’t an isolated incident. This was exposed at seven different clinics.
PP has also been caught numerous times failing to report incidents of rape and sexual assault of minors. Alliance Defending Freedom compiled a summary of these cases here and they are heinous.
Think about the culpability PP had in these cases: girls as young as 13 and 14 came in for an abortion, most of the time taken there by their abuser. Several times the girls told workers they had been raped, but nothing was said, no reports were made, no authorities were alerted.
Reading cases like the above is enraging. PP claims to want to stop sexual assault and harassment. Instead, they are quite literally enabling rapists by not reporting them and subjecting girls to further abuse either out of complete incompetence and ignorance, or for the sake of making money from repeat “clients.”
3. Teach women and men of all ages about the virtue of chastity.
If Planned Parenthood really wants to stop sexual assault and harassment, it will stop encouraging young people to have reckless and meaningless and commitment-free sex outside of marriage just so they can sell more birth control and make money off of more abortions.
I’ve written about chastity on this blog before, but it’s the only way that this culture will ever seriously address the rampant sexual brokenness that exists, the fruits of which we are seeing with every new report of sexual assault or harassment. Sexual assault and harassment are use. They are acts that selfishly use someone else’s body as a means to an end. It’s someone taking what they want without any regard for the person who suffers because of this selfishness.
I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of what leads a person to commit a crime like this, or what makes some people (both men and women are capable of sexual assault and harassment) intimidate and harass others in this way. But I do know that encouraging people to see sex as something that is not sacred, that is not reserved for a man and woman in marriage, but rather just part of dating or getting to second, third, whatever-base is a recipe for disaster, pain, heartbreak, and abuse.
Women and men are raised on sexually explicit movies and video games, with easy access to porn, and are encouraged by groups like Planned Parenthood to have sex without consequences (thanks to birth control and abortion). The culture tells our young people that sex is recreational, not an act of self-giving between married spouses. So it’s no wonder that later in life, men find it acceptable to take advantage of women or women find it acceptable to take advantage of men.
If PP wanted to make a difference, they wouldn’t suggest to minors that they learn about sex from Fifty Shades of Grey. They would realize that we must teach our young men and women that using another person for any purpose, especially a sexual purpose, even if it’s “consensual,” is NOT OKAY and is NOT LOVE. We live in a culture that doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care, about keeping sex in its proper context, and we’re paying the price for that right now.
Nothing will change until the culture accepts that love is self-sacrificial, self-giving, and seeks the good of the other person; that love gives without counting the cost and expects nothing in return; and sex is an embodiment of this between a married man and woman. Until then, this culture will continue in its self-destructive ways that only serve to leave women (and men) broken, used, and suffering for want of this kind of love.
Planned Parenthood asked what could be done; the above answers likely won’t sit well with them or with their supporters. But while they claim to care about the women affected by heinous sex crimes, they are aiding and abetting all that enables this to happen.
If they’re serious about stopping the use and abuse of girls and women, they’ll get to the root of the problem and stop promoting the things that make it easy and consequence-free for men to abuse women.
This weekend is the 43rd Annual March for Life. Please join me in saying a Hail Mary (or two!) for the almost 60 million souls who have been aborted since Roe v. Wade in 1973, as well as for women facing unplanned pregnancies this very day.