Elizabeth Smart Felt Like ‘Chewed Gum’ After Her Rape Because of Twisted Church Purity Lessons Like These

Adriana Velez | May 7, 2013 Love & Sex

white roseA girl who loses her virginity is like a piece of chewed gum no one wants. That's one of the sexual purity lessons rape and kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart learned growing up as a Mormon girl. "After that first rape, I felt crushed. Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy. I understand so easily all too well why someone wouldn't run because of that alone."

Even though she lost her virginity through no fault of her own, she still felt like a lesser human being because she'd lost something supposedly more precious than her freedom or safety -- her virginity. I remember those awful lessons growing up as a Mormon, too (although I know they're not unique to Mormondom). I was taught it would be better to be shot and killed by my rapist than "allow" myself to be raped, like I'd have an effing choice! And there's more where that came from. Here's a few of my favorite insane sexual purity object lessons. Can we please stop telling our girls this nonsense?

  • Chewed Gum



    Elizabeth recalls the chewed gum object lesson in which a girl who has lost her virginity is like a piece of chewed gum: "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.' And that's how easily it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value. That's terrible. Nobody should ever say that."

  • Nailed Board


    If you make the dreadful mistake of having sex before marriage, it's like pounding nails into a board. You can pull the nails out (repent), but those holes are still there. WTF?!? I think this was originally supposed to be about the wounds of Christ (there's one you do with paper where you nail in the image of Jesus), but people decided instead to use it as an abstinence lesson.

  • Licked Cupcake


    Imagine someone licks a cupcake and then offers it to you. Would you still want it? You are that licked cupcake, non-virgin girl. And here is the best part! I hear the boys were taught not to choose the licked cupcake because EW. Never mind that they might be a licked cupcake themselves.

  • Piece of Bread That's Been Passed Around


    Miss Fandango/Flickr

    If you've had sex with more than one guy, you're like a piece of bread that's been passed around. Who wants to eat that, now? Yes, another food analogy. Virgins are edible, did you know? Not so the sluts, apparently.

  • White Flower Dunked in Paint


    Ali Smiles :)/Flickr

    I remember a lesson where the teacher took a white rose and praised its pure whiteness. Isn't it beautiful? Then she turned it upside down and dunked it into a bucket of black paint. Oh noes! It is ruined! This is you after you've had premarital sex: A rose with paint all over it. See also: Teacher hands around a white rose and invites each girl to pull off a petal. What you end up with is a sad, half-plucked rose, i.e. slutty girl no one can love.

  • Peppermint Candy


    Would you like this piece of peppermint candy? Well, what if I take it out of the wrapper and throw it on the ground and stomp on it? Do you want it now? This is you after premarital sex.

  • The Shame Blanket



    Thank goodness I didn't experience this one first-hand, but here's how this one works. The teacher lines up all the girls in her class by skirt length. The girl with the shortest skirt has to wear a "modesty blanket" over her lap through the whole class so she'll remember not to dress so slutty next time.

  • Defiled Apple Juice


    Amy Loves Yah/Flickr

    I have to tell you this one in my friend's words because she tells it best. "Most memorable was a high counselor who stood at the pulpit and poured a lovely goblet of apple juice, held its sparkly gorgeousness up to the light lovingly, and said wouldn't everyone love a sip of this, mmm good. Then he loudly, right up by the mic, HAWKED UP A LOOGY AND SPIT IT INTO THE GLASS. 'NOW who wants a drink???!' Nice. Big glass of misogyny, contempt, and phlegm anyone?? Bonus points for making me totally gack in the chapel. Feckin eejit."

  • Spoiled Milk



    This one is from a non-Mormon friend: A girl who has lost her virtue is like spoiled milk. You can't un-spoil it, can you? No. You cannot. Gulp.

  • Stars


    John Lemieux/Flickr

    Here's an object lesson I WISH we'd gotten as girls: You are all stars in the sky. No matter what happens, no matter what you do, you will always be resilient and beautiful. You will always shine. Also -- please check out this mini-sermon, Jesus Wants the Rose by Matt Chandler. It's amazing. Hat tip to Rage Against the Minivan.

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