Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ghosts of Conquests Past

Dakota Voice

The First Annual Northern Hills Integrity Ball was held in Spearfish Saturday night. It was organized by the Northern Hills Pregnancy Care Center and “Stop and Think” of Spearfish. The event provided an evening of fun and fine dining for young men and their mothers, and encouraged young men to make a commitment to abstinence until marriage.

[...] Detweiller told another story about a man and woman coming to the altar, about
to be married, when another guy comes up from the audience and holds the bride’s hand as the ceremony is performed. More guys come forward, until six are holding
onto the bride. When the groom asks her what is going on, she replies, “These are guys from my past. They don’t matter to me now, but I gave them a piece of my heart. What’s left of my heart is yours.”

If the 6 men from the first story were asked about their sexual contact with the bride and told the truth about her so we knew she never exploited any boys or men sexually, while one or two of the men hanging on to her had forced themselves on her is that history worse than a groom's history? What if she said, "What I did with them, I will do only with you from this day forward."?

Imagine if a groom's sexual history were illustrated in the same way:

... told a story about a man and a woman coming to the altar, about to be married, when another woman comes up from the audience and hold's the grooms hand as the ceremony is performed. More women come forward, until thirty are holding onto the groom.

When the bride asks her groom what's going on, he replies, "There are the gals from my past. They don't matter to me now. What I did to them I promise from now on only to do to you."

Let's imagine what might happen next:

The bride then turns to the first woman and asks her about her relationship with the groom. "His friends paid me to have sex with him on his sixteenth birthday. They were all drunk by the time I arrived and in turn his friends jumped on top of me to show him the way real men treat women they aren't going to marry. When it was his turn he got the idea real quick."

The bride then asks the second woman her story. "I thought he was cute and I agreed to go out with him. A month later he drove out of town rather than driving me straight home. He stopped on a deserted stretch of road and told me he wouldn't take me home until I let him have sex with me. I refused at first, but when he reached over me to shove the passenger door open and to push me out, I realized he wasn't joking. I didn't know what else I could do."

The stories continue into his college years ... "I was asleep in my dorm room when I woke up to find him groping at me. He said he knew I had a crush on him and he was going to give me what I wanted. Believe me, you don't want to know the rest."

The stories continue up until the man met his bride. With one exception the groom either paid for sex or pushed himself on women he didn't respect.

So who is the impure one? The bride from the first story or the groom from the second story? And who would you recommend should reconsider going through with the wedding?

The story of a bride's past with no consideration of more than her number is to not see the difference between willing partners and unwilling partners. If the goal is to get children and young adults to act with honor, this story fails.

After I was raped by my boyfriend and had my virginity ripped away from me, I remember believing absolutely that the only man who would ever be willing to marry me was this one man. All the talk about purity by well-meaning people magnified my feelings of shame and contributed to the fear which kept me from telling my parents what happened to me.

Remembering my history, I wonder what impact calls for purity have on girls or boys who were too shamed to tell anyone that they've been raped or sexually abused? Will they see these events as reinforcing the idea that they are impure with less room in their hearts for a spouse?

Hat tip: Feministing Pandagon

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:03 PM   0 comments links to this post


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