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They're a reminder of how badly the cult of purity lets victims down.Others were forced into marriages with men who hit them and hid their abuse behind another message of the church borne from purity culture, that God hates divorce.

His comments have touched on a wellspring of dissatisfaction with purity culture felt by generations of women and men raised on his words.

His almost-apologies and willingness to open a dialogue have inspired articles about the impact of the book and even a hashtag Kiss Shame Bye, which former adherents to purity culture use when revealing the deep harm caused by the ideology.

On the surface, I am a purity-culture success story: I am a heterosexual woman, a virgin until marriage, now with two small children and a husband I deeply love. And yet, for me, the legacy of purity culture is not one of freedom but one of fear.

I was taught that men are my cover and my shield, when for the most part they have been the ones causing damage through molestation, rape and abuse.

And yet at its core, purity culture presumes that giving and receiving love breaks you instead of builds you.

It uses fear to mask our bodies and needs, and there are generations of women and men walking around crippled in America because of it.He was what we, as young evangelicals, wanted to be.And so we strove passionately to attain the ideal of premarital purity he laid out for us.Now, almost 20 years later, even Harris appears to be questioning whether his advice did more harm than good.Harris probably could not foresee how strongly his book would take root in evangelical culture.The number one suggestion: In church, being overweight feels like a sin.

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