Ab-Only Group Shamed into Changing Victim-Blaming Website

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Ab-Only Group Shamed into Changing Victim-Blaming Website

Joe Sonka

The Ohio program Abstinence 'Till Marriage no longer victim-shames on their website. A small victory -- but now we need to end funding for all failed abstinence-only programs.

Last Friday, we introduced you to the completly screwed up "Miss the Mess" website of the Ohio group Abstinence ‘Till Marriage
(ATM) — a fitting acronym considering that they have received $1.6
million in federal CBAE grants, to date. On their site, you could enter
the "Party Room," where you learn the perspective of four fictional kids
on what happens during and after a party one night. Rochelle tells
about being raped by Jason after the party, but ATM warns it’s young
readers that she is not to be believed, because she is not a virgin and
other kids say she is a "slut." Jason, on the other hand, is shown
sympathy because he was drunk, and hey, boys will be boys, right?

Yes, of all the completely whacked curriculum coming out of
abstinence-only until marriage programs over the last decade, sucking
up more than $1.5 billion in tax dollars, this grantee would have to be
in the running as the most atrocious (which is certainly saying

But last weekend, ATM’s story took a turn. After the internet firestorm
that our post created, receiving coverage at DailyKos, Feministing,
Feministe and Pandagon, ATM was inundated with traffic and angry
emails, letting them know just how offensive and wrong their website is.

On Sunday, ATM decided to completely change their "Party Room,"
apparently ashamed at being outed as rape apologists and
victim-blamers. The Party Room now begins with an extended disclaimer
stating that rape is actually, you know, wrong (shocker!).
They also removed their "correct" answers to questions on the site
asking who was the least credible, now saying that everyone is entitled
to their opinion. Also removed is a large portion of the "slut-shaming"
language of site that not only sent the message that non-virgin rape
victims shouldn’t be believed, but actively taught young people how to slut-shame.

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Just as the case was when Derek the Abstinence Clown
(another Ohio ab-only grantee) was exposed, this window into the
abstinence-only sex education world was not supposed to be peered into
by "outsiders." They knew that if citizens figured out that
their tax dollars were going to stuff like this, their funding would be
in great jeopardy. And just like Derek the Abstinence Clown, the
operation to scrub the internet of the incriminating evidence began
immediately once they were exposed.

While this move by ATM to change their website is to be commended, you
could go on for days picking apart all of the other misinformation
given to young people in their program, as their site is littered with
faux-science propaganda, such as this goodie:

If you have sex before you marry your are more likely to:

1. Breakup before you marry
2. Scare off someone who wants to marry a virgin
3. Be less happy in your marriage
4. Get a divorce
5. Commit adultery after you marry
6. Be fooled into marrying for the wrong reason
7. Be less satisfied with your married sex life
8. Have guilt feelings that may nudge you into a poor marriage
9. Be deprived of the important bonding that sexual intimacy can give a marriage

So, just to reiterate, changing the language of their
website is a victory, but a small one. The big victory that we must all
stay focused on is ending all federal funding for these failed
abstinence-only until marriage programs that have fleeced our
government out of $1.5 billion dollars and endangered the sexual health
of countless young people.

President Obama is making his 2010 budget right now, so if you want end the ab-only insanity, please send him a message to to zero out this funding, once and for all.

This post first appeared on Amplify.