BYU student to Cosmo magazine: Mormon school’s sex ban needs to go

First Published      Last Updated Aug 14 2014 05:14 pm

A Brigham Young University sophomore has taken to the pages of Cosmo to protest the school's approach on premarital sex.

In an article that appeared Wednesday on Cosmopolitan's website, Keli Byers argues that BYU's Honor Code codifies harmful beliefs that sexual women are ruined, and, with its rules about sexual behavior and modesty, effectively shames women.

"The truth is, I'm not a virgin. I'm a sexual woman and a proud feminist, and I don't feel bad about it. But it's hard to admit that, because women at BYU who aren't virgins are treated as inferiors and that's not fair," Byers said in the story.

Byers said the attitude is especially harmful to sex assault victims, who are made to feel at fault for their attacks.

The article has made waves among feminists online, with reactions appearing on Slate, Huffington Post, and Jezebel.

On social media, responses have been more harsh, Byers said.

"People are calling me a slut and all that fun stuff. Saying a lot of nasty mean things, that I'm just an attention-seeking whore," she said.

Byers noted that she didn't pitch the story to Cosmo; reporter Michelle Ruiz contacted her for a story about sex culture at BYU and wrote Byers' account in first person.

Byers, who has spent the summer in her hometown of Yakima, Wash., says she won't be surprised to hear from the Honor Code Office after dishing on Squaw Peak make-out sessions.

"I'm sure as soon as I get back to school, someone is going to be calling me," she said.

—Erin Alberty


Twitter: @erinalberty