Kirsten Andersen

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‘I never said that.’ Pro-abstinence speaker accused of ‘slut-shaming’ speaks out (LSN exclusive)

Kirsten Andersen
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CHARLESTON, WV, April 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Liberal pundits have been slamming pro-abstinence speaker Pam Stenzel over remarks a young girl claims she made at an assembly at George Washington High School in Charleston last week.

GW Senior Katelyn Campbell told the West Virginia Gazette that she planned to file a complaint with the ACLU after Stenzel engaged in what Campbell called “slut-shaming,” including offensive remarks like ‘If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you’ and ‘I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.’

But Pam Stenzel says none of that ever happened.

“I never in my life said that,” Stenzel told LifeSiteNews in a phone interview.  “I say the same thing over and over again, you can go listen to it yourself.  My talks are all over YouTube.  What I said was that if you are on birth control, you are at a greater risk of becoming infected with an STD.” 

Stenzel doesn’t deny that the GW presentation was “a little tough.”  She said the crowd contained a lot of upper-middle-class kids who “are used to doing whatever they want.”  But she said most of the students received her message well.  “About eighty percent of the kids were fine,” she said.  “It was maybe twenty percent who had a problem with what I was saying.”

One of those was Katelyn Campbell, who told the Gazette that she thought Stenzel was trying to “scare students into abstaining from sex.”

“Stenzel’s overall attitude was that any type of sex will guarantee the contraction of an STD or an unwanted pregnancy,” Campbell told the paper. 

But George Washington principal George Aulenbacher told the Gazette he attended the program and “didn’t hear anything like that.” 

“Anytime you talk about sex with any teen student, it can be uncomfortable,” Aulenbacher told the Gazette. “The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence. Sometimes, that can be a touchy topic, but I was not offended by her. The intent was to educate and talk to kids about making good decisions.”

Stenzel is unapologetic about speaking in frank terms about the risks of promiscuity to her teen audience.  As a former crisis pregnancy center director, she has seen firsthand the effects of teenage sex.  She calls young sexual activity “a perfect storm” of risk for pregnancy, poverty, incurable diseases, future infertility, and even death, in part because developing bodies are more prone to injury and infections, but also because of ignorance of the risks. 

“Having worked in pregnancy centers for nine years,” Stenzel told LifeSIteNews, “girls would tell me, ‘Nobody told me this!  I didn’t know!  If I had known that infertility was a risk, that chlamydia could cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can make me infertile, if I would have known that out of the 30 major STD’s we’re dealing with, 26 of them primarily damage women?’”

“What does that mean?” Stenzel asked.  “It means the boy has very little to lose, and she has everything to lose.”  

Stenzel said that most people who condemn her talks do so because they see her as an “anti-choice” speaker for sharing her personal history.  Stenzel was conceived in rape and placed for adoption by her fifteen-year-old mother at a time when abortion was legal.  She is grateful to her mother for that choice and tells students at her talks that she “didn’t deserve the death penalty for my father’s crime.” 

Because of her outspokenness about the issues surrounding rape and abortion, she is seemingly on the watch list for pro-abortion groups who object to her message being shared in schools.

Stenzel said that certain people in the community seemed to have been tipped off that she was coming.

She says that when she arrived at GW High School to give her presentation, she was standing in the office when a woman called demanding information on the assembly.  When a school administrator informed the woman that Stenzel was the speaker and the focus of the talk would be abstinence, the caller became angry and said she would be outside picketing.  The woman was not a parent of a student at the school.

Likewise, the Gazette reported that George Washington parent Cheri Callaghan considered protesting the assembly with free condoms for students.   Callaghan, a realtor in Charleston, took to Facebook to complain about the pro-abstinence speaker, writing: “The nurse at the school is not even allowed to talk to the girls about the specifics of birth control in a class setting. Rumor has it that the assembly today is on safe sex and STDs. I thought, ‘Wow, now we’re getting somewhere.’ Come to find out it’s ‘a motivational speaker’ on abstinence.”

The Gazette also quoted school board member Becky Jordon as saying that many of the students who left the assembly “complained before they even heard [Stenzel] speak.”  

Stenzel’s talk was sponsored by Believe in West Virginia, a Christian group that brought Stenzel to Charleston to speak at a local church and offered to pay for her to speak at two public high schools while she was in town.  The other high school was Riverside High School, where Principal Valery Harper reported there have been no complaints.

“[Stenzel] shared a message that expresses her opinion, and it’s one that we were in support of,” Believe in West Virginia executive director John deBlecourt told the Daily Mail. “It's not a particularly religious message. Her message is that abstinence is the safest.”



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