Why I Teach Sex Ed: Las Vegas, NV

Laura Deitsch
On a Saturday night in late August 1984, my best friend was babysitting at her regular gig. Afterwards, the dad drove her home and as he pulled onto her block, it was instantly obvious that a big party was happening at her house. Her older sister had taken advantage of the fact that their parents were out of town and was throwing a costume party. It was the weekend before they started 9th and 12thgrades, respectively.
She went inside, wide-eyed and nervous, but quickly found someone willing to hand her a beer and talk with her. She went for a walk with him and then they went back to the house. It was loud and crowded and he suggested that they go to her room to talk. She said OK. She was starting to feel a little buzz from the beer. They lay down on her bed and before she knew it, clothes were off and things were happening. Way too late, she realized that his penis was inside of her. She yelled at him to stop, but he didn’t. He was 19, a high school wrestler, and had been drinking.
Afterwards, she didn’t even have a word for what had happened. She knew enough to know that she might be pregnant, and waited eight anxious weeks for her period. In that time, she investigated how much money an abortion would cost, and found someone who would help her gather the money for it by helping him sell guns. It sounded feasible if it came to that. She had no one to turn to. No helpful teacher, no approachable parent, no reliable sibling, no one. Thankfully, her period came.
It took years for her to realize she had been raped. In those years, she made a lot of interesting and unhealthy choices. So did some of her friends. Several of our friends got sexually transmitted infections, pregnant or raped. We had nobody to turn to.
After finishing college with a journalism degree I realized that all I really wanted to be was that person we were all looking for when we were teens. I went back to school and completed a Master’s of Health Science Education, focusing all of my studies on teen pregnancy prevention. I’ve been that trusted person in the lives of thousands of young people here in Las Vegas since 1999. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Editor’s Note:
“Why I Teach Sex Ed” profiles sexuality educators throughout the nation. This column appears each Monday. If you teach sex ed and would like to tell your story, send your submission, in 350-700 words, to Bill@SexEdStore.com.

One Response to “Why I Teach Sex Ed: Las Vegas, NV”

  1. Matthew Lowe

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am also inspired in my work to help students feel empowered to say Yes and to say No in their sexual decision-making.