According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas' police co-sponsored an event for girls and their parents this weekend called "Choose Purity." The event, which wasn't exactly widely attended, preached abstinence and made it clear that premarital sex can lead to rape, prostitution, and a life of hard drugs and meth lab accidents.
Officer Regina Coward, the president of the Nevada Black Police Association, organized the event on behalf of the force and the Victory Outreach Church. She noted that the force did not contribute money to the event, but officers, dressed in uniform, donated their time. According to the Sun, the message of "Choose Purity" was clear: "Girls who 'get promiscuous' can wind up dead."
Participants were treated to "Toe Tag Monologues," where actresses "gave dramatic performances told from the perspective of one girl who had died after abusing diet pills and one who had died after contracting a sexually transmitted disease as a prostitute. The monologues concluded with each girl getting on a gurney and into a body bag." Participants also watched recorded interviews with pimps and prostitutes, as well as one woman who lost her limbs in a meth lab explosion.
Coward told the Sun, "I don’t care what you are; my message is be safe. I would like [young girls] to wait until they are married." That message is fine, but it doesn't have much to do with the crimes that were discussed during the event. As Ian Millhiser at Think Progress points out, studies show that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. The percentage of American prostitutes and meth addicts is much smaller.
Purity pledges aren't even effective in delaying sex, according to research from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Teens who promise to eschew premarital sex are just as likely to have sex as other teens, but they're less likely to practice safe sex when they do.
Coward told the Sun that a second event, called "Choose Courage," is being developed for boys.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.