Premarital sex can result in a life of drugs and crime, and even death, according to an event co-sponsored by the Las Vegas Police Department.
In a Sunday story, the Las Vegas Sun detailed a Saturday event titled "Choose Purity" and spoke with a professional sex educator who was skeptical about the event's message and the involvement of the police department.
Officer Regina Coward, the president of the Nevada Black Police Association, organized the event after her church, Victory Outreach Church, asked her to put together an event with an abstinence message, Coward told the Las Vegas Sun.
Presenters assured a group of about 100 children and parents that in order to avoid drugs, sexual assault, sex trafficking, gangs and prostitution, all they had to do was wait until marriage to have sex.
The girls in the audience watched pre-recorded interviews with a pimp and prostitutes and saw gruesome images of a woman who lost her limbs in a methamphetamine lab explosion and of a man whose face was chewed off by a meth user.
Officer Coward recruited two girls to perform the "Toe Tag Monologues," during which they told cautionary tales warning the young women in the audience against sex. One of the performers said she died from abusing diet pills; the other said she died from contracting a sexually transmitted infection as a prostitute. And at the end of each grim performance, the performer ended up in a body bag on a gurney.
The Sun asked Coward if she had "Toe Tag Monologues" perform at the event to warn that women would risk death if they engage in premarital sex. Coward made it very clear that she felt sex could lead to drugs and death.
"Yeah, because that’s what’s happening," she responded.
In an attempt to empower the crowd, not just terrify them, Adrienne Henry, Ms/Mrs Nevada US Continental, had the girls try on her tiara.
Coward told the Sun that the Las Vegas Police Department did not fund the event, and that any officers that participated did so on their own time. The event was funded with donations from community organizations. The Sun also noted that "speakers didn’t make a large effort to correlate premarital sex and the horrors relayed in their presentations." The Southern Nevada Health District was also at the event offering condoms and STI testing.
Gwendolyn "Lou" Pascoe, director of the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force, who gave a presentation on sex trafficking, said that she didn't necessarily support the message of "purity."
“I’m not speaking as a perspective from purity and all that," she told the Sun, adding that she gives her presentation whenever she has the opportunity.
Laura Deitsch, a health educator who attended the event, told the Sun that the presentation given by uniformed police officers may have been confusing for the children.
“I wonder if anybody came away with the idea that premarital sex is criminal,” she said.
Coward said that she's working on a "Choose Courage" event for boys, but it's not clear whether the message of "courage" will also include the message of "purity" sent to the young women on Saturday.
May 5, 2014
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