You Want to Fight Rape Culture? Great. Teach Chastity.

To say our culture is sex-saturated is the understatement of the century.

By Jennifer Hartline Published on October 22, 2017

The massive numbers of women saying “Me too” is heartbreaking.

To say our culture is sex-saturated is the understatement of the century. Sex is used to advertise everything from detergents to cars to cheeseburgers to toilet paper. Almost every magazine in the grocery store checkout lanes features barely-clad women with a pouty, come-hither look, and headlines about how to have the most mind-blowing orgasm ever. Teen Vogue is selling sodomy to our daughters as a “safe” way to have great sex.

Popular music today blasts sexually-explicit, vulgar lyrics set to a mind-numbing thumping of bass and synthesizer. A movie without nude sex scenes, or nowadays a homosexual sex scene, would be downright puritanical. Instead, bestsellers glorify and celebrate sexual violence and manipulation. Look at Fifty Shades of Grey.

The rates of sexually-transmitted diseases are exploding. The culture’s answer? “Here’s a condom, kid. Be safe out there.”

Contraception must be free, and distributed like candy. When the contraception fails, abortion must be free and on demand.

Drag queens in full getup are reading stories to 5-year-olds at the public library. Perverted sexuality in live, technicolor, frightening display is now considered appropriate for kindergarteners.

Pornography is the most destructive epidemic in human history. Most sickening of all is the pervasiveness of child porn. Porn more than anything illustrates how truly depraved and wretched our culture has become.

What ought to be the beautiful intimate union of a man and a woman as husband and wife is treated as it were nothing more than two animals grunting and groaning. We are suffering, in our minds, bodies, and families all the pernicious effects of our sexual immorality — even those of us who try to keep ourselves unstained by the world as St. James tells us.

We are all reaping the terrible crop our culture has sown. Anyone who dares point out the debauchery will be viciously mocked and heaped with scorn for being judgmental and uptight.

That’s the culture that helps explain why so many women say “Me, too.” Yes, some men have abused women since the beginning. But a culture that treats sex as a right and a leisure-time activity is going to have the exploding rates of rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse we’ve seen. That’s the rape culture.

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Virtues Require Cultivation

In this corrupted environment, people tell men to denounce “rape culture.” They demand that all men list the tangible things they commit to doing in order to end sexual violence. But tell me, how is a boy who:

  • grows up without a father, or grows up with a small parade of boyfriends in and out of Mom’s life;
  • has marinated for years in sexually-explicit “entertainment”;
  • has never been told he is capable of saying no to his groin-area urges;
  • sees virginity mocked, while “getting laid” is not only a badge of honor but a part of normal life;
  • has never heard the word “chastity” or seen restraint shown as heroic;
  • listens to “music” that routinely calls girls “bitch” and “ho” and sees the males who produce this garbage rewarded with fame and fortune,

Please tell me, how is this boy supposed to have the slightest idea how to treat a woman with respect and dignity, or even why he should? Especially that he’s now an adult male?

Further, how is he supposed to have a clue what it actually means to be a real man?

Do you actually expect him to know it’s harassment to make crude jokes about a woman’s body to her face, or with his buddies? You think he ought to know that it’s wrong for him to grab her breasts, or grope her uninvited?

You honestly expect him to be a gentleman? You think he should just understand that his crass comments, and use of manipulation or outright force to get what he wants is unacceptable?

From where, from whom was he supposed to have learned this?

You want men to reject the rape culture? Great. So do I. It’s not enough to simply put the onus on men to solve this. Men are not guilty simply for being male. It’s the whole of our sex-saturated, depraved culture that needs purifying.

Let’s start with chastity education rather than sex education. Make the sexual act the marital act again, as it ought to be. Do everything you can to teach and model virtue again. Restraint, chastity, respect, and honor are virtuous behaviors that don’t materialize from nothing. Virtues require cultivation and careful tending. That means a moral and societal code of behavior that reinforces, not contradicts virtuous living.

Is that really so hard to understand?


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  • Charles Burge

    Amen, sister.

    If you didn’t see it, you may also be interested in a recent article that David French wrote on the same topic.

    nationalreview com/article/452683/sex-consent-morality-culture-ruined-sexual-revolution

    • mary711

      can’t find it

  • tz1

    you don’t understand. If she regrets what she did 2 weeks or 6 months ago, it’s rape. But the hookup culture must be preserved.

    • Andrew Mason

      You forgot your sarc tag 🙂

  • jgmusgrove

    Thank you for stating the obvious, for suggesting the promotion of the right approach to interpersonal relations. The current rape culture is part of what led everyone on the Left to mock Vice President Mike Pence for his careful, circumspect approach to working and dining with women.

  • Nancy White

    It’s so much of a “me” society, nobody thinks sex acts to be wrong – of any kind. If it DOESN’T hurt anybody else what’s “your” problem. Well people do get hurt- badly. Sexuality in all its forms ( physical, intimate, loving , cultural, social, politically correct, between a man and a woman in marriage), is a beautiful thing. God made it to be so.
    It has become totally perverted today and has nothing to do with God.
    Both men AND women, boys and girls are shamed into NOT being a virgins before marriage.
    Kids are not being taught that at home, relative’s homes, churches, schools. You learn it on any social apparatus and schoolyard teaching.
    “Sex education” used to be taught with parental consent after learning what would be taught to their age group. That was stopped even in Christian schools.

    So, you’re correct in the ideas here. Where can they happen and how. How do we get humans to respect themselves and then others.

  • Stephen D

    In my experience many boys are struggling to cope in a subculture where girls are actively seeking sexual experience and often are not interested in a boy who will not have sex with them. The teenage girl is not necessarily a shrinking violet in danger of being exploited by boys who want to act out porn. She is very often the exact opposite. Very often she is the exploiter. She is the one seeking sexual adventures. Most boys cannot cope with this psychologically, unless they are particularly hard cases. Boys, contrary to popular belief, are easily damaged by being sexually exploited for the transient pleasures of girls. At a time when the average boy will normally be interested in hobbies and study and sport, the average girl will often have only one interest, namely boys. She becomes an expert manipulator of the male ego, and the boy stands no chance. Sure boys need to be taught restraint, respect and so on. But they also need mountains of support, guidance and encouragement in the matter of finding girl to marry. And in particular they need to be warned to avoid like the plague any girl who is having casual sex or is involved in promiscuity.

    • Tim Pan

      Stephen I completely agree with your analysis .

    • Nancy White

      I agree for the large majority of both sexes. Too much out there to confuse both and tv, videos, movies…all use sex NOW or you are a nobody.

    • Getitright

      This “hook-up” culture destroys both men and women. Both sexes become emotionally hardened as they seek to satisfy their own egos and personal gratification. They give no love, but they don’t receive it either.

  • Matt Federoff

    It does go both ways. By the time a modern young woman reaches her 20’s, she has been interacting sexually with boys for over 10 years. She has bedroom skills that would make an 19th-century prostitute blush. But she does not know how to fall in love. The entire concept of love is at best an abstraction. And if she doesn’t know how….the men in her life are certainly not going to know how.

  • Andrew Mason

    You missed noting that those who act as gentleman are regularly reviled and called sexists or worse. While rape culture may be denounced, so too is the culture that would reject it.

  • James

    This is the conservative version of “Teach men not to rape.”

    Those who will listen don’t need it and those who need it don’t listen.

    • Charles Burge

      It’s more than that. It’s also “Teach women how to bring out the best in men”. Liberals will deny it until they’re blue in the face, but the simple fact is that hook-up culture creates in young males the expectation that they are entitled to sex whenever they want it. That is the root cause of so-called “rape culture”. Women have the power to shape male behavior, but most of them wield that power extremely poorly.

      • James

        Women don’t necessarily have all the power. In the hookup culture, high status males have all the power.

        In many colleges, women significantly outnumber men. Desireable men are an even smaller number. Therefore, based on simple supply and demand, these men set the rules.

        I went to an engineering school, and the dating scene was quite different. The women set the rules because there weren’t many of them. Again, supply and demand. There was little “hookup culture”. The dating scene was a lot of long term relationships.

  • Ian

    I clicked on this genuinely interested in why you thought teaching chastity was the answer. I agreed with most of what you said, waiting for the explanation for your solution, but then you glossed over it as if it were obvious. As you put, how is a boy experiencing a culture that glorifies sex supposed to learn how to respect women; but likewise, how is that same boy, once they’re of age, supposed to take seriously someone now promoting a practice that’s the exact opposite to a culture they’ve grown up with (always avoid sex vs. always have sex)? I’m genuinely curious.

    • Jennifer Hartline

      Ian, first we have to identify the problem, and get people to realize it is indeed the problem. The solution is simple, just not easy. People have to start living the virtues of chastity, purity, prudence, temperance, humility, and fidelity again. The adults have to model those virtues for their children. And we must make the sexual act the marital act again. Apart from God, we can do none of this.

      • Ian

        Thank you Jennifer for the very kind response. However it still feels like a leap over the problem to another extreme. Why is chastity necessary to combat the rape culture beyond teaching restraint, humility, and how to truly respect one another (women especially in this case)?

        • Jennifer Hartline

          Ian, you believe chastity is the other extreme? Is that right?

          • Ian

            In the context of this discussion about rejecting/repelling the rape culture, yes, chastity is what I was referring to by the other extreme on the spectrum of sexual behavior. Thanks again.

          • Jennifer Hartline

            Great, thanks. This is where we’d disagree, then. Chastity is not an extreme at all. Everyone is called to chastity. As a married woman, I am still called to chastity. It is simply a correct understanding of what sex is for, and how and when sexual intercourse is properly experienced. I’m Catholic, and Catholic teaching has a marvelous and thorough explanation of chastity in the Catechism: “Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.”

            This is just a sampling of the rich and thoughtful teaching on the subject. Chastity is hardly an extreme to be avoided, but the duty and responsibility of each of us, and of our society for the common good.

            Also, be sure you’re not reading “chastity” and thinking “celibacy.” Two completely different things.

          • Ian

            Thank you, Jennifer! I believe I was conflating chastity with strictly remaining celibate before marriage. Thanks for correcting me. You’re right, we still disagree on the “correct” understanding of sex, but I am all for teaching self mastery to avoid being dominated by our passions. I also did not mean to suggest chastity as something to be avoided (my poor phrasing with “extreme” there, sorry), but rather observing that on the spectrum of sexual behavior, it’s pretty close to the celibacy end of it and thus a challenging waypoint for those on the hookup culture end of it.

            Thank you again. Full disclosure, I’m an east coast liberal agnostic trying to reach out and understand perspectives I don’t share. You’ve shown me nothing but kindness and thoughtfulness without sacrificing the profound passion you have in your beliefs. And that’s awesome! I wish you the best.

          • Jennifer Hartline

            Thank you, Ian. I have enjoyed our conversation very much. Thank you, as well, for being kind and thoughtful.

            And just one more thought: I’m married, and I’m hardly celibate or anything close to it! But I am still called to chastity within my marriage and my life. To a hook-up culture it may seem like only a step away from celibacy, but it’s not. Chastity isn’t about deprivation or shame. It is actually about great freedom.

            I hope you won’t mind if I include you in my prayers tonight, just to thank God for your kindness and honest seeking. I pray all the best for you as well.

          • mary711

            Actually, as a Catholic, I’ve never had sex, only in one point in my life been really tempted to it. But I never married and that’s the way it goes. Do (did) you really go around to bars and pick up just anybody? Yes, some people are lucky, and really find Mr(s) Right, but how many dead people came out of that culture we’ll never know. Why do you think gays have demanded to be accepted as a norm? They discovered AIDS. But as a friend once told me in college, “Don’t start and you can always do without.” Pity she couldn’t follow her own advice.

        • mary711

          I must say that restraint and humility and respect were certainly more prevalent in the chastity culture than they are in a free sex culture. It just seems to go that way.

  • Getitright

    “Is that really so hard to understand?”

  • mary711

    One of my professors used to say that a culture does not create the morals of its society, only reflects it. Sadly, I have come to believe that this is in large part true. Changing music and movies is not the answer. We should perhaps go back to fear of mortal sin, as it is called, and perhaps find that people would be more reluctant to get started in the first place.

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