Controversial Pro-Abstinence Speech at Public High School Deemed ‘Slut-Shaming’ by Student

Some parents and students at two public high schools in West Virginia are up in arms over a sex speech that one student called “slut-shaming.”

(Photo: pamstenzel.com)

Pam Stenzel, who presents the consequences of premarital sex with a pro-abstinence edge in her assemblies, spoke with students at George Washington High School and Riverside High School in Kanawha County earlier this week. The West Virginia Gazette reported George Washington student Katelyn Campbell saying she felt Stenzel’s speech was meant 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 said.

George Washington parent Cheri Callaghan, according to the Gazette, posted on Facebook that she was hopeful when she first heard there would be an assembly about safe sex, but when she found out it was abstinence driven, she considered protesting with free condoms.

The Gazette reported students saying Stenzel’s tone and accusations made some girls in the audience cry. Campbell claimed Stenzel said things like the following:

“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.”

Laura Beck for Jezebel picked up the story too, calling Stenzel a “convincing speaker” who “orates with such fervor and humor that it’s easy to get caught up in her bullsh**.” (editor redacted)

School administrators though said they don’t think any of Stenzel’s comments were offensive or out of line. Here’s more from the Gazette regarding administrator’s thoughts and those who favored Stenzel’s speech:

“I didn’t hear anything like that. Anytime you talk about sex with any teen student, it can be uncomfortable,” [Principal George Aulenbacher] said. “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.”

[…]

“As a parent and a board member, I was glad she was there. Kids all over Kanawha County need to hear her message,” [county school board member Becky Jordon] said. “I’m just sad it couldn’t have been in all high schools and middle schools. Kids need to understand that what they think is one night of fun can change their lives forever.”

Jordon said she could understand how Stenzel’s presentation could be considered aggressive.

“It was a little rough, but I’m not complaining,” she said. “The audience wasn’t the most polite, either. It was very sharp and loud, but if she just stood there passively, she wouldn’t be heard.”

So far no videos of this speech specifically have emerged on YouTube, although the Gazette reports students saying they filmed it. But there are numerous videos of Stenzel’s other talks over the years on YouTube.

Stenzel said she began giving such talks to teens after her nine years working in a pregnancy crisis center and seeing girls who said if they had known certain things would happen to them, they might have made a different choice. Stenzel also reveals she herself was put up for adoption after her biological mother was raped, conceived and decided to carry her to term.

“My goal today is that no one will be able to leave this place and ever again have to say to a physician to a counselor to your future husband or wife ‘well nobody told me,'” Stenzel said in a speech posted on YouTube.

Stenzel goes on to say that if you have sex outside of a single monogamous relationship “you will pay.”

“No one has had sex with more than one person and not paid,” Stenzel said.

Stenzel discusses the concerns teens have over pregnancy and their seeming lack of concern over all the diseases they could get. Women taking birth control, Stenzel said, are “ten times more likely to contract a disease and if she were not taking it that drug this girl could end up sterile or dead.” In this latter scenario, Stenzel is referring to abortions that could go wrong. She goes on to detail some of the emotional effects, like anorexia, bulimia and depression, that she has counseled girls on who regretted abortions.

Watch this segment of one of Stenzel’s speech:

Here’s the second segment where Stenzel goes into the consequences of pregnancy that include child support and the emotional consequences of adoption, as well as STDs that can be contracted from sexual activity:

Stenzel’s speech above doesn’t mention “impurity” or “God.” Beck with Jezebel though pointed to the description of Stenzel’s speech — The High Cost of Free Love — which stated:

In a captivating and inspiring talk, Pam tackles the tough issues of sex with candor, insight, and humor while challenging young people to embrace God’s plan for sexual purity.

To Jezebel’s writer this shows Stenzel’s “game plan [is] clear as a commandment.”

According to the state’s sexuality education law, sex education is not a requirement in schools but HIV/AIDS-prevention education is required in grades six through 12. An article last year in the State Journal confirmed that the education has to be medically accurate, but can be abstinence-based.

“If that is a focus in the community, you can do abstinence-based, but you cannot do abstinence-only. If they are, they are not following policy,” Mary Weikle, coordinator with Office of Health Schools, told the State Journal.

According to the Gazette, Stenzel’s speeches, which can cost between $4,000 to 6,000, were not paid for by the school but through private donations.

TheBlaze contacted Stenzel’s spokesman and Principal Aulenbacher with George Washington High School for a comment but have not yet heard back.