Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Was a 15 Year Old Slut

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There's been a lot of raging on the internets this week in regards to a mother writing a letter to the teenage girls of the world, begging them to put their clothes back on lest they tempt her sons into lustful thoughts and behaviors. Once again, someone is putting all the responsibility and blame of sex and sin on the women. After all, if the guys think, feel and then act sexually toward a girl . . . it probably had something to do with what she was wearing. Or you know, it's just another part of a world filled with rape culture and slut shaming. This mother I'm certain had good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with ____ __________?

There have been some great responses to this post so far. Written by parents of sons who will be taught to respect women regardless of appearance. Written by parents of daughters who are taught the meaning of consent, personal accountability and free agency. And since I am not a parent, I thought I'd try and chime in from the perspective of someone who hasn't had a moment to speak out.

Hi. I'm Jia, and I was a fifteen year old slut.




I say that because many would assume as much. I was certainly not a virgin when I got married. In fact, I'd had sex with five men before my wedding day. Four of them before I turned fifteen years old. Before you go back to putting blame on these young girls who dress in revealing clothing and have sex at a young age perhaps you should ask yourself a few questions:


Why are they sexualized at this young of an age?


I can't speak for all the girls in the world, but the first time I had sex taught me that the worth of a woman was in her ability to provoke desire. When I had sex for the first time I learned that my body was not my own to control. It was an object only worthy of lust or shame, sometimes both at the same time.

And I learned this because I was raped.

Much like the teen girls that are shamed over their appearance and behavior, I'm sure at least one reader is saying, "Well, what were you doing/saying/dressed like?" And I can assure you, at the time, I was doing my very best to be the least sexual person I could be. After all, I was ten years old when I was raped and immediately introduced into the world of negative sexuality, modesty rhetoric and rape culture. 

Some girls are sexualized early on because it's not their choice. It's in fact completely against their choice. But because of the rape culture that we live in (and often cultivate by shaming the impure non-virgins) girls grow up believing that their bodies are good for only one thing, and when that one thing is used up by the first person who comes along (whether consensual or by force) their worth is lost. I know I did. Which is why I had sex with two of the partners that followed my rape encounter when I was only fourteen years old. After all, what good was I now? I was no longer a virgin. Impure. Worthless according to the world. And according to the Mom who wrote the original blog post, I was not worthy of a second chance. 

I was - by some opinions - easy. But I also had a 4.0 GPA. I also had dreams of helping people. I also was an artist, an actress and a singer. I had good friends, a loving family and support system.

But according to some who praise the idea of a false modesty and rape culture, I was not good enough.

Is it really your business? 


The short answer here is no. Do you know why? Because it's not your body. It's their body. Certainly you may worry about the future of your own children and how they interact with these "dangerously immoral" girls. Perhaps they will be seduced to the dark side. Perhaps they will have sex before marriage. Perhaps they will do all of this because how could they NOT? The girl had taken a picture of herself in her bedroom, wearing pajamas and then posted it on Facebook. She was clearly asking for it. 

Or . . . and this is just a thought . . . you could better the world. 

Parents of boys, teach them that all bodies are to be respected regardless of clothing. Teach them that they are not ordained modesty monitors. That their thoughts are their own and they are given the choice to act upon them, but the responsibility and consequences are individual. 

Parents of girls, teach them that their bodies belong to them and only them (in fact, teach this to the boys too!). That they are NOT responsible for the thoughts of someone else. Teach them that sex is wonderful, beautiful, nothing to be ashamed of and that they don't need to use it to get love. And that if they make a mistake (according to whatever standards you have instilled in them culturally, morally or religiously) that they are not suddenly worthless. 

Teach them safety. Safety in sex and in love. Prepare them for heartbreak. Prepare them for when they make their own choices, because eventually they will and their choices might not always be the ones you want them to make. 

Oops! Now what?


Your son is in love with an immoral Facebook whore, now what? Should we home school him immediately to protect him from the many harlots? Should we break out the old fashioned chastity belts? How about publicly shaming the girl for her actions? Clearly something needs to be done.

If you claim to be Christian (or a decent human being with the capability to love and forgive) you could give the girl a chance (not a second chance mind you, because she hasn't wronged you personally just by being attracted to your kid). Give her a chance to show that she's more than the mini skirt. To show that her clothing, sexual history and Facebook photos do not define her worth as a human.

I had a handsome boyfriend in high school and I was ridiculously in love with him. Because I was no longer a virgin, the prospect of sex was not off the table. After all, I'd learned that I didn't have anything left to save for anyone, right? One afternoon I went to his house to hang out and discovered that his parents weren't home. Regardless of whatever we might have done (or perhaps wanted to do) his parents suddenly showed up and I hid myself in his bedroom, afraid of the fallout. When his mother caught me crawling out of his bedroom window, I was instructed to come back inside. I was not thrown out of the house. I was not called a whore and told "no second chances". I now share a breakfast table with the loving mother who looked beyond my past and perhaps saw a bit of the future.

Before you judge the girls in outfits you feel are outrageous, pictures you think are too revealing and behavior that you deem risque . . . remember that they won't stay girls forever. That they'll grow into women who will become your daughters-in-law. The mothers of your grandchildren. The wives of your sons. They'll be doctors, teachers, homemakers, and they have the chance to make the world a better place.

And to you girls out there who feel you are being attacked by the mothers of the world . . . you'll be okay. Just remember that your body belongs to you and shouldn't be controlled by a boy . . . or his mother. Love yourself. Respect yourself and others. And don't ever let anyone tell you you're not good enough.

Sincerely,

A Former Slut Who Refuses to Let Children Be Shamed


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Update: There's a great post at Patheos featuring a lot of amazing responses to the original blog post.

44 comments:

amandab_mc said...

Fantastic response. Thank you for posting this.

Nichole Smith said...

Coming to you from Content Brew - I love this and I adore you for sharing what I've been saying about this all topic all day long. I'm so glad his mother had the grace and the good wisdom to know that you were a wonderful person despite what you might have thought of yourself at the time.

Untypically Jia said...

The thing that bothers me the most now, is that I had no reason to think poorly of myself because I was no longer a virgin. Should I have waited longer to have consensual sex? Maybe. It's not something that we'll ever know. But I know that I wasn't a bad person for doing it. Had I wished that I'd been in love with them? Certainly. Had I wished that it was at least good sex the majority of the time? Absolutely! But it is what it is and I spent too many years guilting myself over it.

Just because a girl is sexual doesn't give men the right to treat her like an object, and doesn't give others the right to judge her. She's a person. We're all people. Judge us on how we impact the world for the better.

Or you know, don't judge at all.

Risa said...

Tears streaming down my face. This was beautiful. Thank you!

Lessa said...

Very poignant. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

Jasamine said...

Can I just be your best friend?! lol Everything you said, times 10. I hope people read this and it really gives them an eye opening.
Keep radiating love.

Crystal Rutherford said...

Thank you.

earthchick said...

This is wonderful, thank you for writing it. As the mom of two 9 year-old boys, and a minister (a portion of my work is with teenage girls and boys), I was so troubled by the post you're responding to. I really love what you've written here - so much wisdom, so much grace.

V Lizzle said...

Excellent post - good for you!!!

Marni Zollinger said...

THANK YOU for posting this. This is a good antidote to the poison of the original post.

Karen said...

Best response I've read so far. You walked a very nice line between roundly and negatively judging the mom who wrote the OP, and telling your own story.

I was raised in a situation where "once it's gone, it's gone, and so are you." - or so I thought. I learned as an adult that I should have given my parents the benefit of the doubt.

There are two reasons girls are doing what the OP describes on social media; 1) stupidity - i.e., momentary lapse of judgment. Who ISN'T guilty of that on occasion? and 2) Pain. It's worth it to me to find out which one and counsel accordingly.

Untypically Jia said...

What really bothers me the most about the OP is that these are problems by HER standards. Who knows how these girls have been raised. Maybe they were raised in a very sex positive household and they know and own their bodies. Maybe they're trying their hand at being models. I know my sister and I used to do "modeling" sessions all the time, of course back then we didn't have digital photos or camera phones or social media. So who knows what we would have done.

Untypically Jia said...

Love this! Love you! Honestly while writing this post I did keep going over in my mind, "But wait, this isn't just about girls being victims and boys being aggressive," but I kind of tried to stay on topic because the original poster had it out for the girls.

Thank you for this comment though. It's perfect and I hope everyone reads it!

Untypically Jia said...

Here.

Untypically Jia said...

How could I refuse? ;)

Suniverse said...

Wow. Thank you for this. Really. Thank you.


Reminding yourself of your inherent worth is hard enough without having to navigate such negativity. Thanks for sharing your perspective.



You're awesome.

Jessica Lyle said...

Linked here from another blog...this gave me goosebumps. This was perfectly written and exactly the point I wanted to make (much less eloquently) when I read the original blog to which you're referring. I have bookmarked this. Right now, my son is 6 and my daughters are (almost) 4 and (almost) 2, so this conversation isn't for right now, but when I DO have this conversation, I have bookmarked your post to show them...because this is beautifully expressed.

Untypically Jia said...

Thank you! While this particular conversation isn't for right now, I always encourage parents to really talk about consent with their kids. I was taught at a very young age stranger danger, but my rapist was someone I knew. Was basically like family. I was not prepared for that. It's sad and horrible that kids need to learn things at a very young age, but it's the unfortunate world we live in.

Kristin said...

This is an incredibly thoughtful, well-written, and poignant response. THIS is the message young girls need to hear.

Jody Kristina said...

Amazing post. It made me cry! Love + sharing. More people should think like this, thanks for being transparent. Lots of love!!

Paulette Carles said...

That was beautiful, thank you. I've saved it for my daughter to read.

NicB said...

Thank you for saying this. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


It took me 10 years to understand that when I was raped, it wasn't my fault. Heck, it was years before I could even call it what it was, I was so convinced I had gotten myself into that situation. There were a string of guys after that that I got too heavy with too fast, and I remember consciously thinking, "Well, might as well- not like it matters any more." I still see sex as more of a weapon than an act of love, but am working through it with a great therapist.
A family member of mine posted the original blogger's article and agreed with it, I tried my best to explain my experience to her, for the sake of my young nieces. I never want another little girl to feel the way I did, to go through what I did, and that kind of thinking is, I think, how it begins.

Susan said...

Beautiful.

Heather McCallon Guymon said...

Absolutely beautiful. I stand behind everything you said 150%.

Mahalia Druhot said...

Wow, that was POWERFUL! Thank you SO much for posting that!

Axel Howerton said...

Bravo! Nice to see a sensible, personal and heartfelt view on this issue that is not blown out of proportion with rage, self-righteousness or indignation. Thank you.

leslea said...

Well said.

Camille said...

This is so real and open and amazing. YOU are fantastic!

Dionne Baldwin said...

Before reading your post I did not really think of the mother's letter as anything but good intentions, as it well may have been. But on the other hand, if only allowing young men to see fully clothed pictures of women is that reality? What happens when they are grown, out on their own and see that some women do show more skin than others? You have helped me to see the other side that young men CAN be encouraged to appreciate beauty in women no matter what the appearance. And it is certainly never the fault of the young girls for any unwelcome advances. Attire or behavior should not be a question and this world needs to stop favoring men. Why should it matter what you were wearing or acting like?? There is never justification for that. Thank you for helping me see even deeper into this because I have a daughter and a step son that can benefit from this. I will have them read both the mother's letter and your post.

Thank you for sharing this with us. I know it will help encourage anyone that can relate to your story.

Untypically Jia said...

Exactly. No girl should feel that she's only her body. She should never feel that her virginity or lackthereof defines her worth. It's sad because so many girls (and boys mind you) are raped and suddenly feel like they've lost something important in regards to their virginity.


But even if these girls aren't raped, aren't abused . . . they still deserve respect. Even if people think that they aren't respecting themselves. It's not their decision. It's not their job to monitor the actions of others if they aren't harming others.

Untypically Jia said...

A minister? Well hello ACTUAL Christian who acts like a Christian!
*hugs the unicorn*

Untypically Jia said...

No cries.

Untypically Jia said...

Pulling in the rage was difficult, I'll admit that.

Untypically Jia said...

Thank you. As a blogger, writing about anything this personal all I can hope for is that it betters someone's life. I appreciate your comment a ton!

earthchick said...

Thanks for the hug - and many back to you!

KEZ said...

You're amazing Jay Bee. I will be doing the exact same thing with my future children.

I take my hat off to you!

Amelia_J said...

WOW. I relate to this more than I have words to express. Awesome post. I sincerely wish the world would read this.

diana boxall said...

If a shop owner displays his goods openly, does that mean he is to blame if someone steals them? Of course not! I am appalled at the way our culture is teaching our children, both girls and boys, that a girls only worth is in her sexuality. When young - very young - girls have clothes which make them look 'sexy' pushed on them, what are we thinking of in allowing it to continue?? A lot of video games, films and TV also portray women as sexual objects, which again is appalling. If a man cannot control his sexual impulses, then he should seek medical help - not blame women for his failings. And boys should be taught that when a girl says no, it is NO, not well if you keep going I will give in!!! Girls should also be to taught self esteem, so that instead of thinking if they don't let a boy have his way she will never get a 'boyfriend' she will regard boys who are like that as stupid and infantile and not worth the bother of even speaking to! Both sexes should be taught respect and consideration for other peoples feelings, not just 'I want so I must have'!! And if a girl is attacked and sexually abused, she should be made to feel that she is indeed the victim. Conversely, girls who wrongly cry rape to either get back at some one or for some sort of fame or financial gain should be heavily punished, because they just make it all worse for those of us who have actually had to deal with unwanted physical sexual attention. Well done for bringing this up.

Kat Emralde said...

I wandered over from Libb-Anne's summary post. I just wanted to let you know, your response is just as awesome as hers.

Untypically Jia said...

The only problem with this is the girls wrongly crying rape. Because if rape isn't reported immediately, there is virtually no investigation, and a lot of the times it's half assed even when it is reported. When there is little evidence, it becomes quite the he said she said thing. So at that point, who is to say that the girl is wrongly accusing? Does it end up being someones opinion?

Plus, even when girls honestly accuse their rapists they can still be punished. Look all over the college campuses for proof of that. Rapes are settled out of court (or they never even get that far), swept under the rug and the rapists walk away free. But the story is out there and instead of support for the raped, they are attacked for "wrongly accusing", "seeking attention", or "being jealous". They are called whores and liars and become pariahs.

Here's some information on the ratio of reported rapes: http://theenlivenproject.com/the-truth-about-false-accusation/



I think you have a good point, but instead of heavily punishing girls who wrongly accuse, we need to heavily punish rapists. People should never be afraid to come forward and talk about being raped, but rapists should be fucking terrified of raping someone.

Jessica Lyle said...

You bring up a very important point. This discussion will be ongoing as the kids get older, but for now, we are teaching our kiddos about watching out for tricky people - and those people could be anyone, even someone you know and love - not just stranger danger (from Pattie Fitzgerald of safelyeverafter.com). I am really, really sorry that happened to you <3

kat said...

Followed you over here from XOJane and I just wanted to say thank you so much for this post. You said everything I wanted to (but was largely incapable of since I was mostly sitting at my desk making garbled rage noises after reading Kim Hall's original post) but so much more succinctly and thoughtfully.


I actually censored myself when I was younger; I developed breasts in grade five and spent the rest of the year wearing my dad's sweatshirts because I didn't want anyone looking at my (negligible) chest but I didn't want to wear a bra either. I still remember being so, so thankful for my mom and her infinitely pragmatic child rearing ways though because she never shamed my sister and I in any way. Any warnings that were given were strictly for our own safety and she was always open to discussing her decisions (we joke that we lived in a benign dictatorship). I honestly wonder what Kim Hall's feelings are going to be when her daughter gets older though or if they're going to continue on the same path, but focus on those 'nasty, lustful' boys who want to corrupt her perfectly pure daughter instead?

Untypically Jia said...

Garbled rage noises needs to be a hashtag immediately.


I lucked out too in the being raised department. While my sister and I never got the official sex talk, our house was very open and we joked a lot, which instead of taking away the seriousness of things, it made it easier to be open and honest with our parents. Sure we could have been taught more (and at this point no one knew about my previous abuse) but Motherly was open about safety first and foremost and now I'm so grateful to her for that.

When she found out (because we told her) that my sister and I were having sex, we weren't shamed or ordered to start dressing/behaving differently. She wasn't stupid. She knew that we were going to do whatever we wanted regardless of whatever rules they put in place. So she took the next step and got us to doctors for birth control and let the professionals do their jobs.

Gman said...

I think you took it a little to far.

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