The canary in the coal mine

“[If] you watch any TV at all, spend any time on the Internet, or just shop for groceries or deodorant, it’s virtually impossible to avoid having in-your-face titillation imprinted on your brain.

“And purity? Who talks about that these days? Who (especially in secular culture) even knows what it means anymore? And ads like the one that Lena Dunham made for the Obama campaign, comparing first-time voting to first-time sex, imply contempt for anyone who considers sexual purity to have any value. (‘It’s super uncool,’ she says, ‘to be out and about and someone says, “Did you vote” and “No, I didn’t vote, I wasn’t ready,”’ followed by a smirk that could be read as meaning ‘that’s ridiculous.’) …

“Those who struggle consciously with the fallout of childhood sexual abuse are, I think, another equivalent (like people with environmental allergies) of the canary in the coal mine, which most people know refers to the canaries that coal miners took into the tunnels to use as detectors of the lethal gases, such as methane and carbon monoxide, that could leak into the mine. If the canary died, the miners would know they had to get out of there.

“We would do well to consider seriously the effect that our culture’s (and government’s) overemphasis on, and disrespect for, sex has had, is having, and will have on all of us—before it’s too late.”

The anonymous author of Falling by Faith, a woman who has been blogging her reactions to My Peace I Give You as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Read the rest of her thoughts on the topic here.


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