Meena Saraswathi Seshu was a well-to-do Indian do-gooder who was determined to save India’s sex slaves from their evil traffickers. To her immense credit, illustrated in this nice profile in The Lancet, (pdf here), she changed her mind when she learned the facts. Not so the US Congressman who tried to bully her organisation SANGRAM out of existence.
SANGRAM has long worked constructively with sex workers, to the fury of Congressman Mark Souder who stomped on USAID until they shut down funding for SANGRAM. In a letter to USAID as bombastic, self-righteous and threatening as any I have seen, Souder pontificated about the Bush administration’s record in promoting family values and women’s rights.
“There is a tragic irony in the fact that this administration seeks to elevate women in the United States to some of the most important positions in the country…; yet, USAID has funded groups outside the United States that promote the ultimate degradation of women.”
Souder might know something about the degradation of women. Six weeks ago he resigned as congressman after 15 years, admitting to having an affair with a staffer. He started off on script, apologising for the pain he had caused his supporters. But then, with breathtaking arrogance, he stuck up for his own hypocrisy, saying “The ideas we advocate are still just and right.” I’m sure his wife agrees.
Here’s the pompous windbag being fake-interviewed by his girlfriend about the importance of abstinence-only education programmes.
Of course abstinence-only programmes are only meant to work until people get married. Since both Mark Souder and his squeeze Tracy Jackson are married, they hardly count as failures of morality-based sex ed, do they?
(Thanks to Paddy Woodburn for pointing out the Seshu profile and setting me off wondering whatever happened to that windbag Souder…)