Book Review: Unprotected

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Grossman, Miriam. Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. USA: Penguin Group, 2007.


“So many young women at a critical stage of their development come to us in crisis and tell us their secrets… What we say, or don’t say, will have far-reaching effects: the responsibility is awesome.” Miriam Grossman, Unprotected, 2007.

UnprotectedCollege campus counseling centers are busier than ever. Unfortunately, according to Miriam Grossman, author of Unprotected, many campus psychologists and psychiatrists see their job more as an avenue for activism than for helping and healing. Many “health professionals” echo our popular culture by promoting promiscuity, abortion rights, androgyny and alternate sexualities. One consequence is that campus counseling centers are inundated with hurting young people, especially women, struggling with the personal fall-out of sexual chaos, guilt, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), addiction, confusion and depression. Grossman explained, “Radical politics pervades my profession, and common sense has vanished.”

“Heather,” a freshman performing arts major, struggled with depression and withdrawal and didn’t know why. It finally came out that she was in an unsatisfying “friendship with benefits.” She sighed, “I don’t get the ‘friend’ part but he still gets the ‘benefits.’”

This was one of many stories Grossman told of young people dealing with depression, incurable STDs, emotional turmoil, bulimia, self-injury, thoughts of suicide and more. Regrettably, the notion that casual sex is a legitimate lifestyle option is too often reinforced by paid university officials in the name of “health.” Grossman reported on academic studies that demonstrated how sexually active teen girls are three times more likely to be severely depressed and to attempt suicide.

Much of the “health education” materials directed at young people from trusted institutions include the mantras of “sexual rights” and “safe sex” Young people are encouraged by some counselors to give anything “a try” as long as you follow “safe sex” procedures. Our kids are learning to divorce sex from love. This is chewing up their hearts, souls and bodies. Many campus counseling centers are ignoring this trend or even promoting it.

Seeking help from professionals, students are routinely urged to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, wear their seat-belts, abstain from smoking, and make time for themselves. However, healthy advice regarding sex is too often out of bounds. Health professionals raise many of the above healthy ideals high and preach hard to promote them. But when it comes to risky sexual behavior, in too many cases, they tiptoe around politically correct eggshells. Suddenly, “judging” is unacceptable and high ideals are stigmatized as “repressive.” Why do many “health professionals” advocate for resisting impulses on so many levels for the sake of “health,” but not sexual impulses?

Dangerous double standards need to be challenged. Homosexuals engaging in risky behavior, for instance, have a moral obligation to be tested and to stop endangering others. Current laws (imposed by misdirected activism) forbidding counselors from holding them to such responsibilities should be repealed. Such laws leave too many people unprotected.

Grossman also observed great sympathy from fellow health professionals over post-partum depression but not so with post-abortion depression. She hears women pour out their anguish, years after their fateful decision to abort a child. Many are struggling with private memories of disposing of the remains of the fetus they once carried. Meanwhile, many “health professionals” actually compare abortion to procedures like a tonsillectomy.

What about the influence of faith on health? A past president of the American Psychological Association (APA) declared that organized religion is a source of social injustice. Yet, researchers find that church and synagogue attendance has an undeniably positive effect on the health, relationships, attitudes and lifestyles of young people. Standing on clinical and academic grounds, Grossman averred; “Religious beliefs predict behavior more than race, education and economic status.” Yet, most helping professionals turn a blind eye to the positive impact of faith.


“We are not defined by our urges—straight, gay, lesbian or bi… We are defined by something more essential, uplifting and transcendent.” Miriam Grossman.

The campus culture of permissiveness, experimentation, androgyny and spiritual bankruptcy is tasking its toll. Inexcusably, many in the helping professions are fueling the fires. It is time to stop treating young people like animals. We can advise and expect them to mobilize their brains (over their bodies) to resist urges and impulses and aspire to a more healthy lifestyle. We must elevate and inspire our young people with fearless straight talk. For example, when a person feels distressed by their gender and yearns for a change, that does not constitute a mandate for all of society to change its “rigid” definitions of male and female. The implication that all of society must change and the person who “feels distressed” must not is potentially hurtful to both society and that person.

The pressures of political correctness are growing as wisdom hides. Too much of this is happening on our watch, dear Reader.

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The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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