Jonathon van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

The abortion of JFK’s children was evil – but it’s also a tragic loss

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
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Did you know that John F. Kennedy had more than four children? That writers Christopher and Peter Hitchens had two other siblings? That Marilyn Monroe actually had a large number of children?

I’m not particularly fond of the argument that I’ve heard many pro-lifers use: “Abortion is wrong because of all the amazing people we’ve aborted. One of them could have had the cure to cancer!” Abortion is fundamentally wrong because it ends the life of a developing human being, whether that human being would turn out to be a drug addict or the president of the United States. However, it is an interesting thought experiment—not least of all because so many people considered heroes by the Left have aborted their children or had their children aborted.

For example, I think of liberal icon President John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy Family is probably the closest thing America had to a royal family, although revelations over the last several decades have rather firmly repudiated the idea of an impossibly happy Camelot, as historians reveal anecdote after sordid anecdote of relentless philandering. Anecdotes of President Kennedy’s devastation at the 1963 death of his two-day old son, Patrick, are well-documented. The Kennedys also lost a daughter in 1956—Arabella, as her parents intended to name her, was stillborn.

Revolutions famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different.

But stories abound of JFK’s affairs ending in abortions. Mimi Alford, a White House intern that JFK had a relationship with for over a year, reported that when she told the president she believed she was pregnant, he “took the news in his stride.” Shortly afterward, she was contacted by a White House staffer named Dave Powers, often assigned to protect the president’s reputation.

“An hour later,” Alford recalls, “Dave called the dorm and told me to call a woman who could put me in touch with a doctor in New Jersey. The intermediary was a necessary precaution, because abortion was illegal. That was pure Dave Powers: he handled the problem immediately, and with brute practicality. There was no talk about what I wanted, or how I felt, or what the medical risks might be.”

Another of JFK’s famous mistresses, Judith Campbell Exner, reported having an abortion in 1963 after becoming pregnant by the president. Not all Kennedys, it seems, end up in Washington, D.C. Some of them end up in trash cans behind seedy clinics, victims of their parents’ sexual ideology.

Another icon of the Left that comes to mind when I think of the human cost of abortion is the late author and columnist Christopher Hitchens. Fans of the Hitch are fierce in their devotion, with his brother Peter, a well-known conservative author, noting that his brother’s fans often burn with fanatical hatred against him, furious that a conservative Christian (who wrote his brilliant book The Rage Against God partially in response to his brother’s philosophically feeble atheist tome God Is Not Great) could bear the same last name as their hero. Both brothers are extraordinary writers and journalists, having collectively written dozens of books and published essays and columns in the most prestigious publications.

What many people don’t realize is that there were originally four Hitchens siblings, not two. As Christopher relates in his Vanity Fair essay “Fetal Distraction”:

I was in my early teens when my mother told me that a predecessor fetus and a successor fetus had been surgically removed, thus making me an older brother rather than a forgotten whoosh.

Christopher noted further that at least two children of his own had their lives ended by abortion, recalling sombrely that, “at least once I found myself in a clinic while ‘products of conception’ were efficiently vacuumed away. I can distinctly remember thinking, on the last such occasion, that under no persuasion of any kind would I ever allow myself to be present at such a moment again.”

Perhaps this was because Christopher Hitchens allowed himself no illusion, writing that, “Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that emotions are not the deciding factor. In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs.”

Although to my knowledge Peter Hitchens has never addressed the fact of his aborted siblings in print, on abortion he has much to say. “Those who wonder what they would have done had they lived at the time of some terrible injustice now know the answer,” he has said. “We do live in such a time. And we do nothing.”

When considering the lives and careers of the Hitchens brothers we know, we cannot help but wonder what the lives of the two that we do not would have been like.

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The list of politicians, writers, and cultural figures who have discarded their own children are myriad. Comedian Chelsea Handler has talked openly about having an abortion. Sharon Osbourne calls having an abortion at seventeen the mistake of her life. According to author Norman Mailer, the tragic Marilyn Monroe had twelve abortions by her late-twenties. Whoopi Goldberg of The View, Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy, Judy Garland of The Wizard of Oz all aborted children. Ava Gardner reportedly aborted two of Frank Sinatra’s children, while the smut-peddling rapper ‘Lil Kim aborted the Notorious B.I.G’s child, which they conceived during an affair. Famed singer Sinead O’Connor had an abortion while on tour in Minneapolis.

It’s especially bizarre, I think, when those on the Left turn out to enthusiastically celebrate any new revelation of a cultural figure having an abortion. The more they admire the person, it seems the happier they are at the “courage” of said person having had an abortion. A bit unintentionally insulting, don’t you think? I admire you so much! I’m so glad you terminated a child that might have had your talent or been a lot like you!

Revolutions, however, famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different, even though we’ve replaced guillotines with Planned Parenthood clinics. The crowds cheered both, and the similarity between a howling mob and a pro-choice rally is striking to say the least. Perhaps it is Peter Hitchens who has the best explanation: “I think that abortion is much beloved by revolutionaries,” he noted gravely, “because they always like the mob to get their hands in blood and commit some sort of crime of their own.”

Abortion is evil because it violently destroys a human being. But one of the reasons abortion is tragic is that it has robbed us of so many who might have given so much to humanity.

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Many professors are aging hippies who abandoned their communes for a more fertile way of disseminating their ideology—academia.

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The lies you were taught about the sexual revolution…that you still don’t know were lies

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

“The most effective way to destroy people,” George Orwell once noted, “is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” In today’s culture, knowledge of history is, itself, fast becoming history.

Late-night hosts sometimes make comedic hay of this growing cultural Alzheimer’s by asking people in the street mundane questions such as “Who were our allies in World War II?” to hilariously cringe-worthy responses. But there is a distinctly unfunny side to our forgetfulness. We are very much at risk, as the old saying goes, not just of repeating history because we have forgotten it, but of repeating it without even being aware that we are repeating it.

It was this point that veteran Canadian journalist and author Ted Byfield emphasized over and over when I spoke with him some time ago. “We are swiftly abandoning many of the fundamental social and moral principles upon which our civilization is based,” he said. “That is, we’re zealously cutting off the branch we’re sitting on…very few people, whether educated or uneducated, know where those principles came from, and how we came to embrace them. We are dangerously ignorant of our own heritage and history.”

Byfield is right. When I began researching the social history of the West several years ago, I found myself consistently stunned by the simple fact that much of what I’d been taught - or at least led to believe - was untrue. While many university professors are lovely teachers and impressive academics that I count myself privileged to have met, there are also many aging hippies who abandoned their communes for a more fertile way of disseminating their ideology—academia. In lecture halls in front of thousands of students, they sell their own version of how history has unfolded, leaving most of us completely unaware of how things have actually happened.

Since I finished my own degree in history, I have often pondered this irony: that Christian parents will struggle against the influences of the culture in order to inculcate their children with traditional values and a Christian worldview, and then pony up tens of thousands of dollars to universities just to give their faculties four years to convince their children to abandon this worldview.

For example, I was taught in first year history that the Sexual Revolution hadn’t actually taken place, and that we knew this because Alfred Kinsey’s infamous 1950s Kinsey Reports had revealed definitively that Americans of all classes were engaging in every imaginable type of sexual behavior. Virtually no one was faithful to his or her spouse, homosexual relationships were common, and even bestiality was supposedly frequent. And this is still the history that is being taught without question, even though, as I’ve written before, Alfred Kinsey’s reports have been thoroughly debunked, and he has been discredited as guilty of everything from enabling horrifying acts of pedophilia to intentionally trying to disprove Christian sexual ethics. Those still lustily engaged in celebrating the aged and disease-ridden Revolution of the ‘60s, however, have much to lose in the dissemination of this disturbing set of historical facts.

So too with anthropologist Margaret Mead and her famous 1928 Coming of Age in Samoa, a book that exploded into Western consciousness by revealing that other cultures rejected traditionalist codes of sexual behavior, and were thriving as the result. The most highly circulated anthropology book every written and required reading in Western universities everywhere, it was later proven to be badly researched and even fraudulent. In fact, Mead’s sources revealed to a professor who followed up on her claims years later that their titillating tall tales had merely been a practical joke. Yet, you won’t find Mead’s work critically examined in most universities—and her work still undergirds much of our society’s attitudes towards so-called sexual liberation.

The web of deceit continued with abortion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a doctor who helped found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now known as NARAL) with prominent feminist leaders such as Betty Friedan, was a key voice in pushing for the largest abortion clinic in the world in New York state. After becoming pro-life as the result of advances in the field of foetology, he revealed in a series of memoirs that the numbers of back-alley abortions used by NARAL and the abortion movement to argue in favor of legalizing abortion were, to put it bluntly, made up. This is corroborated by the fact that no reputable historical source can provide us with any evidence of the staggering numbers of illegal abortions that the pro-choice establishment still claims happened to this day. I still meet dozens of people on university campuses who make the argument that abortion will not decrease if made illegal. And why? Because they’ve never been taught any factual history, just the fictitious narrative created for public consumption.

And these are just three staggering examples among hundreds. Our cultural elites - the media, Hollywood, academia, and even much of the political establishment - are too invested in the horrifying experiment that is the Sexual Revolution to examine the history of this revolution or its tragic outcomes honestly. And thus, we face a constant barrage of “progressive” celebrations. Documentaries and films and conferences celebrate Kinsey, Mead, and flocks of feminists who championed abortion-on-demand. Our history is not our own. The history taught in virtually all of our public institutions is, in reality, an ideology.

The Sexual Revolutionaries didn’t just throw out the book. They rewrote it, because that’s what revolutionaries always do. This struck me vividly a few months back when I was traveling in China, and our tour guide Anna was taking my friend and I from the Forbidden Palace to Tiananmen Square to Mao Tse-Tung’s Mausoleum, where the dead dictator still lies in state in a glass-covered coffin. After listening to Anna praise Mao for hours, I asked her how she could possibly believe he was good for China when, by some estimates, he presided over the deaths of nearly seventy million people. First, she was irritated, and then, agitated. After informing me that Mao was a great leader, she ended our discussion by announcing, “Denying Mao would be like denying Communist Party!” And with that, historical truth was placed firmly in the backseat to ideological obligation.

In order to understand the sex-driven lunacy and carnage that has gripped our culture on virtually every front, we have to put history back in the front seat. We have to honestly analyze and understand how we reached this point, so that we can begin to realize what we can do—not to return, but to rebuild. To equip our children and the upcoming generation with the truth of what has actually taken place, and why it is that we believe what we believe.

This is precisely what Ted Byfield, now in his eighties, told me when I asked him what young people could do to begin the process of cultural renewal. Read history, he told me urgently. People will be stunned to find out what actually happened—“they will be astonished at the things we’ve done in [the last] century that made no sense at all. What should be emphasized in your generation is to find out what happened. In other words, read history.”

And when you do, things finally start to make more sense.

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It made me feel a bit sick and sorry for them, actually, to see young girls screaming and struggling with police and being slammed to the concrete in what surely must have been a very painful fashion.

Bare breasts, and the hammer & sickle: what passes for pro-abortion arguments

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren
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It was a beautiful day in Ottawa for the March for Life. Thousands of people, young and old, packed Parliament Hill. Clergy of every denomination stood in solidarity with the pro-lifers, and politicians emerged from the House of Commons to voice their support for fundamental human rights. With thousands upon thousands of people packing the streets of Ottawa, it was an invigorating day to say the least.

A few observations:

1. The four topless Femen girls, who rushed the stage just as MP Stephen Woodworth began speaking, seem very sad and angry. I’ve never really understood their tactic of going nude as a means of protest, even though I’ve been the target of it a few times now—it seems so counter-productive. I understand that they are pro-abortion and hate the idea of a pro-life protest, but the idea that voluntarily shedding their dignity would in any way promote their beliefs is a bit bewildering. It made me feel a bit sick and sorry for them, actually, to see young girls screaming and struggling with police and being slammed to the concrete in what surely must have been a very painful fashion. I wished someone had some blankets or something to cover them up. I was encouraged to see that as the police grappled with them, most men in the crowd averted their eyes. As Matt Fradd noted, “It is a manly thing to treat a woman who has forgotten her dignity with dignity.”

2. Those who oppose the pro-life movement aren’t even trying to pretend they have any semblance of an argument anymore. The Femen antics aside, I have to say I was actually surprised by the large crowd of pro-abortion protestors near Bank Street, being held back from the marchers by barricades and police officers. Many of them were wearing masks, chants of “F**** the police” rose up occasionally, and the crowd seemed to be seething and hostile. It was not a point-counterpoint situation: they were definitely angry. There were the typical signs, of course—“Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and such—but what took me aback was the Hammer and Sickle flags flapping in the wind. It wasn’t just one, either—there were at least six of them flying throughout the group. The idea that people protesting the March for Life would fly the flag of Stalin, the banner that presided over the murders of millions of people, was just a bit too rich.

3. The movement is growing. I’m not the kind of person who tosses out March for Life crowd estimates as proof of the strength of the movement—it’s results that count. But the number of young people who I spoke to who are there not just because they had a day off school, not just because they wanted to have fun, but because they actually want to get involved in the pro-life movement in some meaningful capacity was very heartening. Many of them stopped me along the parade route to tell me that they’d attended our presentations across the country and couldn’t wait to get involved in day-to-day activism.

4. The time to act is now. This is not news to most of you, surely. But I thought Eric Metaxas, the keynote speaker at the Rose Dinner after the March, put it very well. Eric Metaxas is the author of the historical biographies Bonhoeffer as well as Amazing Grace, a biography of William Wilberforce that I have all our interns read every summer. He used historical examples to inform us that if Christians in today’s day and age do not stand up, then we are in grave danger. Imagine, he asked the crowd, if every Christian would rather go to jail than comply with ungodly policies. The jails would be clogged, the system would shut down, and the next day, we would see a very different country. Some may laugh at this as hyperbole, but there are signs across North America that such principled non-compliance will very soon be necessary. Metaxas used the example of Ronald Reagan’s famous “Tear Down This Wall” speech at the Brandenburg Gate. He was warned not to say such things—but he ignored them, and this voice proved prophetic. Christians have to stand up together, said Metaxas. The rotten wall won’t come down by itself. But if we push together—then we can perhaps succeed. No matter what we have been given—time, treasure, talent—God is calling us to use it. An inspiring and sobering message indeed.

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The West doesn’t export freedom – we export porn, casual sex, and the blood of the pre-born

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

May 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nations and cultures are fragile things. I was reflecting on this some time ago, reading through the work of that great Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who saw with rare clarity of vision what the nihilist secularism of the Soviet state had done to millions of people. Signs of this fragility are everywhere, especially in the former Eastern Bloc, to which I’ve had the privilege of traveling a number of times. These visits are always deeply moving, especially as the scars of history’s destructive rampage are still so visible there. It always forces me to think about our own country, our own past, and our own future. It is not just culture that is a fragile thing—it is also the consciences of the people. Bloodshed has a way of congealing and sealing our consciences and hardening our hearts.

On a crisp but beautiful day a few months ago, I was walking the streets of Belgrade, Serbia. A local, Jorge, had agreed on short notice to take myself and two friends around the city. We tromped down cobblestone streets from castles to museums, noting the architectural signs of the eternal struggle this region has tenaciously survived—Yugoslavian, yes—but always, Turkish remnants of the centuries-long battle against Muslim invaders creeping through. Jorge, an unemployed engineer, points out a wall in the Belgrade Museum embedded with 2,000 skulls—the leaders of a peasant revolt against the Ottoman Empire, still grinning their defiance. “We lose half of every generation fighting the Turks,” Jorge says matter-of-factly.

More recently, bombed-out buildings fronted by black gaping mouths lined with jagged brick teeth reminded us that not so very long ago—I can still remember reading about it in the newspapers, after all—Western countries unleashed their bomber payloads over the city. Jorge doesn’t want to talk about it much. He was in the Serbian army in Kosovo, and all he’d say was that he saw killings--“Lots of them.”

It’s not like other European cities. Some buildings are decaying and broken, with signs in the window announcing that local businesses still exist here—those are contrasted with shiny, flashing modern buildings owned by Western companies like H&M. The Western influence here is regarded suspiciously—it’s not just frivolous material goods that are being brought here. It is our uniquely decadent moral relativism, too. Jorge complained loudly that Pride parades and “LGBT values” were being forced on Serbia by the universally-despised European Union--“I have no problem if you like sex with whoever, but why this is what the West wants us to have? It is bulls**t.”

Abortion is taking its toll, too. “We are now old country,” Jorge noted somberly. “All old people.” And of course, promises of a future are hollow without children to populate it.

It doesn’t matter where you travel, it seems. Humanity’s suicidal civil war has crept in everywhere. Sometimes, it’s visible—Jorge points out the scars and craters left by invaders. Black lamp posts that can still be seen in fuzzy black and white photographs with World War II resistance fighters dangling from them stand solemnly on street corners. And there is the Saba River, where one cold spring day the residents of Belgrade saw thousands of frozen Jewish men, women, and children floating by one by one, two by two, as they thawed out of the ice at their place of execution upstream by the Croats and Nazis and quietly trickled through the city like shrieking accusations.

“Too much dying in this country. Too much,” Jorge says quietly.

It makes me think of my own country, so beautiful and free of the battles that erupt in places like this with morbid frequency. It reminds me that not so very long ago, my own grandparents in the Netherlands saw people shot down in the streets, and saw blood trickling slowly through the gutters. Their people. Our freedom is something we barely notice, and no generation has experienced a peace like ours.

And we don’t deserve it.

We don’t bring our freedoms or our free market to battered countries like this. We are glutted on porn and casual sex and the blood of pre-born children, who are executed for the crime of violating our sacrament of sterile sex. These are our exports. We have forgotten what Solzhenitsyn once said: “Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing what is cheap.”

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We Westerners think of places like Serbia and Bosnia with a condescending solemnity. So much conflict, we think, so much killing. And we ignore the fact that our booming free-market abortion industry has turned our bedrooms into battlefields where new casualties are created only to be shredded into tiny corpses. I wonder, as I walk, whether we would think differently about our own sex-driven massacres if we had to see the little frozen bodies float one by one, two by two down the Ottawa River, the Fraser River, the Bow River. We are not better than those people who live in places rocked by warfare, than those men and women on the receiving end of NATO bombs. We’ve simply gotten better, less messy, at killing than they have. Our Revolution has its own victims, but we simply do not recognize them as such. We bury the knowledge of their humanity deep within us, and try to avoid the glaring truth that what we do is kill our own children.

We can’t escape it forever, though. That is why, as Jorge said, so many countries are becoming countries populated by old people, who traded the future for the century of the self. That is why some European countries are changing their “sex education”—to reteach people that the act of reproduction should sometimes result in reproduction, the beginning of the reckoning that Solzhenitsyn knew must come. “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface,” he wrote, “we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” 

If only people still read Solzhenitsyn.

As Belgrade got darker and it began to get cold, I threw on a coat. “Are you okay?” Jorge asked with concern.

“Of course,” I told him. “I’m Canadian. This isn’t that cold.”

He smiled. “Good,” he said. “I do not want to carry you on my soul after.”

Carry you on my soul after. What a beautiful way of putting it. In broken English, Jorge had found the perfect way of encapsulating our responsibility to one another. Shared humanity means shared responsibility. We have to bear one another’s burdens. Love our neighbors. Carry the responsibility for those around us on our souls. As soon as I could, I wrote those words down in my notebook to remember and reflect.

Nations and cultures are a fragile thing, especially when we forget the urgency and necessity of our responsibility to our society’s victims. In some places, the killing is loud, brash, and obvious. In others, we murder softly and tiny humans pass from this life with barely a whisper. But in every place, we must not allow the voices of our consciences be overwhelmed by the enormity of reality. In every place, our duty is the same. For the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn are still as true as they were all those years ago: “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties—but through every human heart.”

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Porn is fuelling a new, violent sexual ideology in our teens. It has to stop.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

April 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- I’ve been saying for quite some time that pornography is dangerous for more reasons than those that we typically discuss. Pornography is not dangerous just because it is spiritually dangerous. Pornography is not dangerous just because it is addictive, unhealthy, and unrealistic. Pornography is dangerous because it is becoming a new ideology of sex, in which women are objects to be abused and consumed and men are sexual aggressors, using the girls and women to physically extract as much so-called “pleasure” as possible.

When I first spoke on this issue at the University of Ottawa with my fellow anti-porn colleagues Daniel Gilman and Peter Mahaffey, many people showed up angry, desperately wanting to refute the idea that porn fuels rape culture. But when it came time to take questions, there were none. As we heard from many people afterwards, the fact that pornography is a celebration of degradation was just too obvious.

I’ve had this sick and disturbing fact confirmed by expert after expert. When I talked to Dr. Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, she explained to me that the sexual exploitation industries teach men something very simple: If you can buy something, you can steal it. And in ten years of working with sexual trauma victims, she’s discovered that pornography played a part in every single situation. Dr. Paul Jensen of the University of Texas told me that when he speaks to men, he just asks them a simple question: Does porn help you become the man you want to be? Men know instinctively, he says, that pornography does something dark and awful to them.

My personal conversations with hundreds of high school students across the country have given me a heart-breaking and personal glimpse of how this generation struggles with the virus of pornography that has spread through their homes and their schools, their social networks and their entertainment. And thus, an article in the Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom this week called “Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition” did not surprise me at all, in spite of the appalling details it revealed.

Columnist Allison Pearson was describing a recent conversation between herself and a number of other parents. “Porn has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition,” she noted. “Like other parents of our generation, we were on a journey without maps or lights, although the instinct to protect our children from the darkness was overwhelming.”

It was when a doctor in the group spoke up that the group was stunned into silence. According to Pearson:

A GP, let’s call her Sue, said: “I’m afraid things are much worse than people suspect.” In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to. “I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”

Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress. When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.

And where are these brutal expectations coming from? Every adult knew without asking: From pornography. Anal sex, especially of the violent variety, is now mainstream in porn, as the research of Dr. Gail Dines and others show us.

This is resulting in a sharp upswing in emotional problems among girls, something I’ve seen time and time again when interacting with high school students as well. Researchers with the Journal of Adolescent Health, Pearson reports, have been shocked to see a 7% spike in emotional issues in a mere five years—and in girls between the ages of 11 to 13. In a culture saturated with pornography, girls especially feel the pressure to conform to the fantasy that has consumed the minds of the boys and spilled out to invade their reality.

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All of these problems are interconnected. “Take female insecurity, warp and magnify it in the internet Hall of Mirrors, add a longing to be ‘fit’ and popular, then stir into a ubiquitous porn culture, and you have a hellish recipe for sad, abused girls,” Pearson writes. “It explains why more than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts, according to one of the largest European polls on teenage sexual experience. Recent research by the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from their teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five boys harbouring “extremely negative attitudes towards women.”

Up until now, the response has been a feeble attempt at further sex education, which many experts think may have a hand in the problem to begin with—once you open the Pandora’s Box of teen sex, it’s very hard to unring that bell. And once those teenagers start taking their cues from an increasingly misogynist entertainment culture, a hypersexualized marketing industry, and violent pornography, you have all the ingredients you need to create a rape culture. The sex education being used now is not working, Pearson writes angrily—“not when tens of thousands of girls are revealing ‘serious distress and harm following abusive behavior from boyfriends.’”

The result? That is what Pearson’s doctor friend deals with, the medical treatment of young girls who got treated like porn stars—brutally abused and coerced into things they didn’t want to do. “Young girls—children, really—who abase themselves to pass for normal in a grim, pornified culture,” says Pearson. “Another study of British teenagers found that most youngsters’ first experience of anal sex occurred within a relationship, but it was ‘rarely under circumstances of mutual exploration of sexual pleasure.’ Instead, it was the boys who pushed the girls to try it, with boys reporting that they felt ‘expected’ to take that role.”

In times past, porn theatres and smut shops were labeled “for adults only.” But the sad reality now is that children, adolescents and teenagers are being forced to grow up in an adult world—and those adults have unleashed a tsunami of depravity unrivaled in human history for sheer accessibility. The Sexual Revolution is a revolution no longer, with all of its central tenets institutionalized by the authorities and educational system.

But I have to wonder—does nobody think that when we have to teach teens not to hurt each other through violent sex acts that we may have done something terribly wrong? I feel pity for those who have reduced sex to “consent.” Humanity once knew that we could transcend mere consent. Consent, yes. But also dignity. Love. Compassion. When we revisit those timeless values, then we will start to recognize our new ideology of sex for the crude and insidious imposter that it is.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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