Not enough talk about chastity at SLU

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On Wednesday, Aug. 31, all students in any U101 or BIZ 1000 course were required to attend an event entitled “Can I Kiss You? Date Safe Program.” The purpose of this event was to address dating, sexual assault and the issue of asking for and receiving sexual consent. Although I am a junior and I am gladly not in any U101 or BIZ 1000 courses, I was curious about this event, so I decided to attend.

The speaker, Mike Domitrz, gave an engaging, funny, touching and occasionally heart-wrenching presentation. He easily had students laughing, boisterously begging to be chosen as a volunteer, energetically responding to his questions and taking pictures of the slides of his presentation for later reference.

Not only was his presentation entertaining, but it also conveyed some powerful points (some of these are direct quotes from his presentation). “Every person deserves dignity and respect. We intervene in questionable situations because every person deserves dignity and respect. Every survivor [of sexual assault] is strong, courageous and incredible. You are good enough as you are. Each person is a gift and should be treated as such.”

Unfortunately, sexual assault is common on college campuses, and it’s unlikely that SLU is much different. Terefore an event like this one is pertinent. However, I can’t help recalling this event and thinking, why cannot SLU do better?

We are a Catholic, Jesuit University, yet chastity was not mentioned once at this event. Chastity is the virtue that calls all Catholics and Christians to abstinence, not just from sexual intercourse, but from all sexual activity until marriage. Knowing that each person’s sexuality is an intimate part of who they are and that sex by nature suggests an unconditional promise, chastity must be emphasized. Not only that, but chastity is rarely ever spoken of by the University or its representatives. It is common at SLU to see posters , displays and programs that define what sexual consent is and is not and give instructions for how to intervene in instances of potential or apparent sexual assault.

On the other hand, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that challenges students to live chaste lifestyles or that provides tips for practicing purity. How can we, as a university, claim that we are pursuing truth when our basic sexual dignity is never spoken of or taught to our SLU community?

I’m not saying that teaching chastity on campus will dramatically change the environment at SLU, or any college campus for that matter. Teaching chastity at SLU will also not magically convince all in our community to live chaste lifestyles. However, I do believe that SLU is selling its community short when its posters, programs and displays suggest that there is no more to sex than mutual consent and pleasure. Furthermore, I believe that teaching chastity would be getting at the root of the problem of sexual assault.

And lastly, I believe that in teaching chastity to the great S L U community we will be teaching a value that will not only prevent harm to bodies, but also prevent harm to souls.

The pursuit of truth is not about achieving truth, it is about putting forth our best efforts to reach that truth. The truth is that our God and our very nature call us to chastity in all relationships outside of marriage. If SLU is honestly committed to the pursuit of truth it will teach chastity and teach it loudly.