Advice the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy thinks you should know
In a recent LifeSiteNews article, Rita Diller of Stop Planned Parenthood writes about the University of Maryland’s “Sex Week,” held October 15-18.
In it she mentions that one of the sessions held on campus during the week was being conducted by the school’s student representative for Bedsider, a college outreach program sponsored by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (NCPTUP). Their name sounds innocuous enough, of course, but most people don’t realize that Dr. Vanessa Cullins—vice president for medical affairs of the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood—is on NCPTUP’s board of directors.
Bedsider calls itself an “online birth control support network for women 18-29.” True to form, if the content on the NCPTUP website is PG-13, then the content on Bedsider’s website is definitely rated “R.”
One of the site’s features, “Frisky Fridays,” is a bit of sex advice sent out weekly. It’s advertised with the words, “boom chicka chicka wow wow… I want those mad hot sex tips you send out.”
The most recent installment, on October 25, is titled “Party Sex. Drunk Sex. Safer Sex. Having it all.”
Last week’s “mad hot” advice begins thusly:
Does the party season ever really end? No. It just gets more ambitious. This time of year, invites start to double. Then alcohol consumption doubles. Then our search for hangover cures doubles. That’s why it’s important to make sure you and your birth control can handle the festivities.
In other words: more opportunities to get drunk inevitably results in actually seizing said opportunities to get drunk.
As the gravitational-like pull to abuse alcohol becomes ever stronger, the right response for teenagers and college students (and, for that matter, anyone of any age) is, “No thanks—getting drunk is a stupid idea.”
But that’s not even on Bedsider’s radar screen as an option.
Then there’s the section on “party-ready birth control”:
Take a look at the birth control that works best if you plan to drink and possibly hookup. Ideally, in this situation you’ll want something that works without you having to remember it in the moment.
Then take a look at the methods that prevent STIs. You’ll want one of these too, in case you spontaneously wind up in bed with someone. So get on a reliable, no-fuss method and carry condoms when you go out. That will keep you covered if party sex—or drunk sex—happens.
Remember how Bedsider calls its sex tips “mad hot”? Well, they definitely got the “mad” part right.
For a whole slew of reasons, having sex with a complete stranger when you’re drunk is, not to put too fine a point on it, a horrifically bad idea.
But according to the editors at Bedsider, it’s only inadvisable if the sex—which, like a car accident, or an unexpected thunderstorm, just “happens”—isn’t
Then, the conclusion, which is beyond parody:
Why do we sound so stern? We just really care about you and want you to have fun without any worries. We’d even be your designated driver if we were going out together. (BTW, make sure you have one of those too.)
Here’s to enjoying every event you go to!
“We just really care about you and want you to have fun without any worries.” Really?
You see, the problem with a Cyndi Lauper-esque worldview is that quite often, what you think will be “fun” turns out to be very, very different from what you expected.
Slate Writer Offers a Very Different View
Contrast the stupefyingly bad advice given by Bedsider, above, with an article by Slate advice columnist Emily Yoffe that was published the previous day.
Titled “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk,” the lead-in reads, “It’s closely associated with sexual assault. And yet we’re reluctant to tell women to stop doing it.”
A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that by the time they are seniors, almost 20 percent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. Very few will ever report it to authorities. The same study states that more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol. Frequently both the man and the woman have been drinking. The men tend to use the drinking to justify their behavior, as this survey of research on alcohol-related campus sexual assault by Antonia Abbey, professor of psychology at Wayne State University, illustrates, while for many of the women, having been drunk becomes a source of guilt and shame. Sometimes the woman is the only one drunk and runs into a particular type of shrewd—and sober—sexual predator who lurks where women drink like a lion at a watering hole. For these kinds of men, the rise of female binge drinking has made campuses a prey-rich environment. I’ve spoken to three recent college graduates who were the victims of such assailants, and their stories are chilling.
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.
Common sense, no?
She goes on to say:
The three young women I spoke to who were victims of such men attended different colleges, but their stories are so distressingly similar that it sounds as if they were attacked by the same young man. In each case the woman lost track of how much she’d had to drink. Then a male classmate she knew took her by the hand and offered her an escort. Then she was raped by this “friend.” Only one, Laura Dunn, reported to authorities what happened, more than a year after the fact. In her case she was set upon by two classmates, and the university declined to take action against either one. …
[One victim] laments the whole campus landscape of alcohol-soaked hookup sex. “Women are encouraged to do it, which ignores all the risks for us,” she says. “You get embarrassed and ashamed, so you try to make light of it. Then women get violated and degraded, and they accept it. Who does this culture benefit? Alcohol predators. It doesn’t liberate anybody.” [emphasis added]
Yoffe’s article is excellent, and should be read in its entirety.
She knew full well that her article would “result in a torrent of outrage,” and indeed it did. The following day — interestingly, the same day that the aforementioned bit of bad advice appeared on Bedsider — she published a response to her critics. In it, she writes:
Because of the strong evidence that intoxication and sexual assault are linked and that a kind of predator seeks out intoxicated women, I concentrated on informing young women that avoiding incapacitation could help them stay safe. But there was extreme offense taken to the idea that women should change their behavior in any way to protect themselves. One college professor summed it up when she wrote to me, “to reiterate the old Puritan line that women need to restrain and modify their pleasure-seeking behaviors is a big step backward.” Apparently I was mistaken that it is common sense to acknowledge that part of growing up for all is recognizing dangers and learning to restrain one’s pleasure-seeking behaviors in order to better avoid them.
Toward the end of her response, she also says this:
Since the initial backlash against me, there’s been a growing backlash to the backlash. I am starting to hear from people who agree with me. One mother wrote, “My gut was to scream ‘victim blamer,’ then I read the article. I’m putting it aside for my girls when they get older.” Another woman thanked me and said she has to keep quiet about her reaction. She is a rape crisis advocate who’s worked with many intoxicated victims. She wants to warn young women about the perils of getting drunk but doesn’t know how to tell students “such risky behaviors can get them into trouble.” She says, “It shouldn’t be a controversial message, and the fact that it is disturbs me so much.” She acknowledges, “It’s an issue that’s so fraught with defensiveness and fear that it makes me feel like I’m walking on eggshells mentally.”
If this woman were to speak up, she’d be accused of being part of the “rape culture”—one of those elastic terms that’s used as a cudgel to shut people up. But when a woman who is counseling victims of rape feels constrained from giving practical advice to young women about the beneficial effects of keeping their wits about them, we really have a problem in the culture.
Make no mistake, Emily Yoffe is by no means pro-life. (On the contrary, she styles herself “an ardent proponent of abortion rights.”) But give credit where credit is due.
And once again, note the contrast between a writer like Emily Yoffe on the one hand, and on the other hand, Bedsider-slash-the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, on whose board of directors sits, let us not forget, Planned Parenthood’s own Dr. Vanessa Cullins.
All parties would call themselves vigorously pro-choice, yet while Emily Yoffe makes the plain-as-day observation that young women ought to exercise serious caution when it comes to drinking, the Planned Parenthood-backed Bedsider/NCPTUP is busy advising young women how to “have fun without any worries” while they’re having drunk sex with complete strangers.
And Yoffe is the one getting lambasted.
What’s wrong with this picture?