In an effort to promote abstinence, Nevada Metro Police officers took part in a community event. Held this past weekend, the event was called “Choose Purity." The speakers and displays described to young girls the “detriments” of premarital sex. 

According to a news report by the Las Vegas Sun, officer Regina Coward, president of the Nevada Black Police Association, told teens at a conference center that girls who have sex before marriage were typically victims of sexual assault, drug addictions, and prostitution.

“I don’t care what you are; my message is be safe. I would like [young girls] to wait until they are married,” Coward said.

The girls who attended the event were shown images of drug users and watched performances from the Toe Tag monologues, which are monologues that show present, real life and death situations that children face. In one scene, they show a a girl who passed away from a sexually transmitted disease caught during prostitution. To add more flair and dramatics, she climbed onto a gurney and into a body bag at the end of her skit. 

“Drugs are real; sex trafficking is real. I don’t know what is real about linking purity with those things” said Laura Deitsch, a health educator for a local reproductive health organization for more than a dozen years, who attended the event. “It was a hodgepodge of unrelated fear mongering.”

While having sex when one is not mentally or emotionally prepared does have its downfalls, purity pledges aren’t effective in promoting abstinence either. According to research out of Johns Hopkins University, taking a pledge doesn’t influence sexual behavior, said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. However, “it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking,” she continued.

The event was held using donations from the community, volunteers, and other officers. Coward says her passion for this issue stems from the fact that she got pregnant at 16. She says she wonders if her life could have been different if she was taught to say “no.”

A second event, called “Choose Courage,” is being developed for boys, according to Coward.