Young girls: Choose abstinence, or face a downward spiral into sex abuse, prostitution, and death.
That, at least, was the choice some members of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department presented to about 125 people Saturday at a community center. Parents and their children had come for "Choose Purity," an event touted in press materials as a partnership between police and Victory Outreach Church. The press materials claimed the event would be about bringing "awareness to the problem of teen pregnancy."
But Laura Deitsch a counselor with Browning Psychological Services said the event really included "a lot of shaming and a lot of fear" for those who don't choose "purity." Deitsch said audience members saw pictures of a Florida man whose face was eaten off by another man, along with tales of eating disorders, abuse, and prostitution.
A staging of the "Toe Tag Monologues" was particularly confusing to the children in attendance, Deitsch added, who didn't initially realize the graphic stories being told on stage were not literal.
There was a "tacit link" between the horrors described by presenters and sex, Deitsch said.
Las Vegas Metro Officer Regina Coward organized the event, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Coward told the Sun she was tasked with putting together an event that matched the church's abstinence message.
Coward confirmed to the Sun that she booked the "Toe Tag Monologues" to draw a connection between premarital sex and a risk of death "because that's what's happening." The monologues included girls discussing diet pill abuse, sexually transmitted disease, and prostitution. Each performance ended with a girl getting into a body bag.
Neither Coward nor the police department returned calls and emails seeking comment Monday. However, a police news release says organizers were "hoping to get attendees to make a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage."
Coward also told the Sun that while the police department sponsored the event, they did not spend any money on it.