Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Testimony in Opposition to SB 777 - Defunding of Abstinence Education in the State of Hawaii

The following testimony is posted with permission.

DATE: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TIME: 3:00 PM

PLACE: Conference Room 016

Testimony in Opposition to SB 777


My name is Coreyanne Armstrong, and I would like to relate my personal experiences to you in order to encourage you to oppose SB 777. I was raised as a typical public school student in Texas, outside of Houston. I was abstinent until my wedding night. It was not due to any religious brainwashing nor was it due to the health education I received (since I took health through a correspondence course that basically covered the sex organs but not sexuality). It was due to COMMON SENSE, and the importance I placed on my future, my life, my person, and my feelings. I was as egocentric as your typical teen; however, rather than caring what everyone thought of me, I cared about being able to approve of myself.

What should we teach children and teenagers about contraception, sexuality, STDs, etc? We need to teach them the truth that every adult knows, and most kids know in their heart already from observing the world around them. If they engage in sexual activity, there is a chance they will contract an STD or become pregnant. Period.

There is no disputing this fact.

What it comes down to is whether or not these kids care enough about their futures to do something about this fact and make wise decisions. I have to be honest in saying that my parents neglected to give me “the talk.” They didn’t really take us to church. I didn’t sit through “Sex Ed.” Yet, I went to college when I was sixteen and lived in a dorm. I went to the Naval Academy when I was eighteen and lived next door to 4000 young men. I then went into the Navy for two years before I was married.

How did I remain abstinent through all of this? Why did I insist that men “stop” before going too far (when I was definitely in quite a few sticky situations.)? WHAT WAS THE BIG DEAL? AFTER ALL, EVERYONE IS DOING IT!!

Here it is: I cared about my future. I had a goal. Maybe all young people do not have the same goal, but can you, as legislators, say that you do not have this same goal for our children?

My goal was to finish high school, go to college, and have a successful career.

It can safely be said from all the rhetoric that comes from our government about education that FINISHING HIGH SCHOOL is a goal legislators and parents have for every child. Pursuing further education may be a goal as well, but that is not the point. The point is that if you want to help these children succeed, convincing them that “using protection” will help them achieve their goal is folly.

We all know this. We’re all adults and know that even “responsible” grown men and women get STDs and become pregnant while “using protection” of various sorts. Why should kids be any different?

There is only one truth, and that is that abstaining from sexual activity will keep them free from STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Nothing else has been proven effective. I can give my 5 year old knee pads and a helmet and then tell her to “watch out for cars,” but the only thing that will DEFINITELY keep her from being killed by a car in the middle of the street is to KEEP HER OFF THE STREET.

Where did I receive my “education?”

The media and movies, and those living around me taught me the TRUTH about sex – that to have sex can lead to consequences which could derail my future plans. As long as we are teaching kids something that is hypocritical compared to what reality teaches them, they will just ignore it. Don’t underestimate their ability to learn the truth from their environment.

The consequences of “using protection” are all around them. Teach them the truth!

I am thankful that I had a strong personality and enough confidence in my own knowledge of the truth to face up to all the men who tried to get me to have sex with them through the years. Believe me, the pressure for sex started early, and it was persistent, coming from all directions. (Even my mom cornered me at one point to tell me to use a condom with my boyfriend. Thankfully, I told her I had chosen to not have sex until I was married because it was the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and disease.)

Please, stand with these kids.

Be right beside them giving them the information that they need to fight back, to fight for their own self-worth. Keep funding the abstinence-only programs because WE ALL KNOW, AND SO DO THE KIDS, that only abstinence can keep them on the track to finishing high school and being self-confident adults who don’t rely on sex (like our culture would have them do) for approval. Knowledge is power -- let’s give these kids the power to put themselves and their goals first.

Very respectfully,

Coreyanne Armstrong

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