Girls – it’s all their fault!
Posted on May 16, 2011
Loath though I am to expend any more of my energy on Nadine Dorries and the ridiculous things she says and does, I can’t let today’s atrocity from the MP for Mid-Narnia pass without comment.
Here’s what she had to say on The Vanessa Show this afternoon about her proposal to have abstinence sex education for girls introduced into schools:
“I want the emphasis on girls, because it’s girls who lose their education, girls that go on benefits, girls who usually throw in the towel and spend a lifetime on benefits, girls who enter old age in poverty, girls who usually end up with a row of guesting (?) fathers and more babies because they can’t get back into education, and can never get the opportunities that would have been theirs if, maybe, when they were 13 or 14 years old or whatever age they got pregnant, somebody had given them some counselling on the fact that they could say no, and on what might be the options if they don’t.”
And it gets worse.
Because it was at this point in the conversation that Vanessa Feltz suggested that very young children are in fact being taught to say no, that they are being taught these things very sensitively and carefully.
Dorries’ response to this was simply astonishing:
“Well do you know that’s really interesting because one of the reasons for this is that some of the evidence that I’ve heard is that if a stronger just say no message was given to children in school that there might be an impact on sex abuse. Because a lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don’t realise until later that that was a wrong thing to do. Because we are getting into a situation now where sex is so common in society, you know we’ve got high street stores selling padded bikinis to 7 year olds, we’ve got Sheffield NHS Trust giving out leaflets to 11 year olds in schools which are entitled “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, we have situations taking place in schools now in terms of… a teenage magazine last year ran an item on the sexual position of the week, for a magazine which is read predominantly by 13 year old girls. Society is so over-sexualised that I don’t think people realise that if we did empower this message into girls, imbued this message in schools, we’d probably have less sex abuse.”
Here’s a link to the programme, which should be available online for about a week – The Vanessa Show. Mon 16th May. The Dorries bit starts at 12.50, and the bit I’m quoting is from 17.00 onwards.
To be honest, I didn’t actually think Dorries could sink any lower in my estimation until today. I mean, I genuinely thought she’d already scraped the bottom of the barrel with all her nonsense about magical foetuses reaching out from the womb, and the stuff about how her blog is 70% fiction and only 30% fact. But this, today, this “if we teach girls abstinence there’ll be less sex abuse” really takes the fucking biscuit.
Because it’s poisonous victim blaming shite.
Girls are abused because some men choose to abuse them. Girls are neither responsible for the sexual abuses perpetrated against them, nor are they responsible for ending the sexual abuses perpetrated against them. The only ones responsible for either of those things are the men who choose to rape and abuse girls.
And yes, of course empowering girls to say no is important, but to imply that simply by saying no girls, and yes boys as well, could prevent sexual abuse, is not only naive and simplistic nonsense, but it’s also incredibly offensive to victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Understandably Twitter and other social networking sites are in uproar about Dorries’ latest comments. Let’s hope the message gets through to her this time, and she either apologises or retracts.
The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999