Page-2 | Sex in the news: Quanitta Underwood gets tip of the hat, Rick Santorum wag of the finger | Style | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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Sex in the news: Quanitta Underwood gets tip of the hat, Rick Santorum wag of the finger

In a 2011 interview he said, “[Contraception] is not okay because it is a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. [Sexual relationships] are supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal…but also procreative.”

Colbert often gives “a wag of the finger” to people whose ideas he doesn’t like. I would definitely give Santorum a wag of my finger, because he assumes that his views about sex, contraception, and pleasure are right for everyone.

A story about sexual abuse that will stay with me long after this tidal wave of stories goes out to sea is “A Living Nightmare,” by Barry Bearak. It recounts the life of Olympic boxing hopeful Quanitta Underwood, who was sexually abused along with her sister by her father, Azzad, beginning at age 12. Azzad had been president of the parents’ association at the girls’ school and was among the most active members of a local Church of God in Christ.” (A fact that turns any link between “stranger danger” and child sexual abuse on its head.)

Quanitta, now 27, survived this trauma to become a successful lightweight boxer and possible candidate for a gold medal at next summer’s Olympics. The story shows that the “abuse is still an albatross” around her neck, even as the future she dreamed of comes into focus.

We wouldn’t be captivated, saddened, and enraged by the story if it weren’t for Quanitta’s courage and willingness to share it. “I want to be a symbol of hope to anyone who has ever been abused,” she says.

Her powerful words bring me back to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which I’ve routinely criticized for presenting women solely as sex objects (and feeding into many women’s insecurities about their bodies). This year, I’m simply going to say that I wish the 70 million people that see the Swimsuit issue would read about Quanitta Underwood’s story of survival instead. And I wish those readers would rally against child sexual abuse, which is rampant in our society.

We can take action through required school sexual health programs in the early grades; the new National Standards for Sexuality Education has a core content area for grades K-5 for ensuring Personal Safety, which could be implemented in every elementary school. If schools would use the content standards in this area, girls like Quanitta would feel more empowered about talking to a trusted adult about sexual abuse should it happen to them.



 

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