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Neither Your Silence (nor your Guns) Will Protect You

It was a rushed marriage for this 19 year old. I had pleaded that he not take this route. Because getting married before one has a life plan and jumping into responsibility before one is mature enough to handle it is, is usually a disaster waiting to happen. But, since getting an abortion would make them feel guilty they agreed to marry (She was all of 18 years), in spite of the fact that they cannot afford a child. The decision to foist poverty and ill-prepared parents upon an infant as a way to avoid feeling guilty is such convoluted thinking I can’t even go there.

But when he learned his new child is going to be a girl his response was, “Now I have to get a gun.” It took me a minute to realize this was a quasi-joke meaning that, as a dad, he will have to protect his daughter’s honor and virginity … as if a vigilante, gun-toting dad is what every daughter needs… as if the best way to protect daughters’ (and sons’) sexuality is by force… as if it would have stopped his own sexual experimentation. He erroneously assumes responsible parenting of adolescents prevents access to sexuality, an impossible task of course, rather than teaching and empowering them to say “no” and “yes” on their own terms in sexual decision-making.  




The poet Audrey Lorde said, “Your silence will not protect you.” The couple lives in the midst of a sexual void that echoes nothing but silence. When they need accurate sexual information and access to effective and inexpensive contraception, when they could benefit from a social conversations about the difficulties of parenting and guidance on building one’s self-esteem and sexual self-confidence as well as life goals, there is nothing for them to hear. But they do hear congratulations from other 18 year olds who believe that by elevating the status of marriage and parenthood it will culminate in an inevitable happy-ever-after ending…and this, before they have even begun to figure out who they are.  No, this silence offers no protection for them.


The silence about sexuality and intimacy in relationships gives no defenses against idealistic romanticism and superficial sexuality so prevalent in our culture leading inexperienced young adults to conclude that constantly available sex leads to heavenly bliss.  It will not save them from the trials of being too-young and too ill-prepared as parents. Instead, too often a poverty of the spirit grows for young adults who haven’t answered the question “Who am I?” before being thrust into the label of “Daddy” and “Mommy.” And, while a gun is hardly a tool for good parenting when there is only silence they reach for anything.





Oh yes, we have the blind leading the blind here. The marriage is ill-advised. The players are unprepared and a child is now trapped in the poverty cycle -- once again. And still, the church says nothing.  So, I want to know from where is the alternative narrative for intimate sexual relationships to come if not from the institution that claims to teach morality? But, unfortunately,  the church is too obsessed with keeping kids sexually ignorant and making sure Body Part A does not go into Body Part B before the State has given the piece of paper to legalize it. But it is immoral to deny sexual information and not teach about relationship and sexual intimacy to young adults but yet allow romantic crapola to fill their brains (which the church generally believes as well I might add!)  In case you haven’t guessed, I am about ready to bring out the whips and knock over a few tables in the temple! We must break the silence if we are ever to address the unhappiness in our homes, the objectification in the hook up culture, the extraordinary high divorce rate, and the unknown number of sexless marriages. We must talk about sex! Go forth and talk!

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