“Jesus Isn’t a Dick, So Keep Him Out of My Vagina,” read the sign that 14-year-old Tuesday Cain wrote and displayed outside the Texas Capitol last week to protest the state’s decision to restrict women’s reproductive rights.
Cain and her friend took turns holding the sign, and when one of those photos went viral, the backlash was almost instantaneous. Websites and social media feeds lit up in retaliation, blasting Cain with names like “slut” and “whore.”
The 14-year-old’s father came to her defense in an essay he wrote this week for The Guardian, but yesterday, Tuesday wrote her own response to the backlash, the most devastating line of which is probably “Please stop calling me a whore.”
It's hard for me to understand why adults would be calling me this. It's hard for me to understand why anyone would use this term for a 14-year-old girl.
It's not anyone's business, but as I said, I am a virgin, and I don't plan to have sex until I am an adult.
But none of those facts make me feel any less passionate about fighting for a woman's right to choose and the separation of church and state in my home state of Texas.
I also don't think this makes me—or any other 14-year-old girl who agrees with me—a whore.
It’s a tired, old pattern—fight for women’s reproductive rights, get slut-shamed. At this point, it’s more surprising when it doesn’t happen than when it does. But no one expected that kind of hatred to be directed toward a child.
The first day that we were out protesting at the Capitol, my friend and I took turns holding up the sign I wrote, and an older man came up to us yelling right in our faces. "You two should shave your heads! You should become lesbians! No man will ever want you! You're ugly!"
The police had to ask him to stop yelling at us. It was scary. But more than scaring me, what it did was make me feel even more determined to stand up and protest even louder.
I'm not going to let someone calling me a whore stop me from fighting for what is right for all women. I'm not going to let the bullies win in the fight over women's bodies.
Nonetheless, Tuesday Cain clearly takes her cues from her father and Sen. Wendy Davis, a.k.a. “The LeBron James of Filibustering.” Cain also wrote:
I don't look up to an adult who is taking away a woman's right to choose.
I don't look up to an adult who is calling a 14-year-old girl a whore.
I don't look up to an adult who is screaming in my face and saying I am ugly.
And I certainly don't look up to anyone who says they are Christian but treats women the way I've been treated these past few days as a teenage girl.
Cain’s father is carrying on her fight. He says she’s too young to have her own Twitter account, but he’s using his own to further debates on reproductive rights, and keep the issue in the national spotlight.