Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Taking Action: Part II
Editor’s note: The following is the second of a two-part interview with a former student in the University of Pittsburgh’s Anscombe Society, Gabriel Xavier.  The first installment focused on memories of his time at Pitt. In this installment he focuses on how his experience in Anscombe has shaped his understanding of marriage, family, and sexual integrity through the lens of his professional work.Gabriel Xavier is a nom de plume. If you or someone you know would like to be featured in a similar interview, please email We would love to hear your stories!
1) What have you been up to since graduation? What has your experience been like? What have you learned?
Since graduation, I have been employed as a door-to-door sales rep for a mid-sized cable, phone, and internet company.  It’s been an eye-opening experience; I’ve visited the homes of many people of differing socio-economic statuses.  I’ve found that people don’t try to pretend to live in a way that they don’t.  My customers see no need to put on airs to impress me. To them I’m just a passing stranger.  Being a door-to-door sales rep would be a great job for any aspiring anthropologist!
2) How has your experience of visiting people in their homes shaped or changed your beliefs about the institution of marriage, the special role of the family in society, and integrity of sexuality?
My experience has certainly solidified what I had learned and espoused in the Anscombe Society.  It made what I learned more concrete. I wasn’t just reading about the hook-up culture anymore; I was actually witnessing the fruits thereof.  In the poorer neighborhoods, I noticed that there was a high proportion of single mothers, many of whom had no means to support themselves and were dependent on welfare or child-support. It upset me greatly to see that these children would grow up without the balance of both a father and a mother, not experiencing a stable male role model in a father.  I have such admiration for these mothers who strive to be everything for their children.
Probably what surprised me most was the actual effects of cohabitation on women.  I remembered reading about it in college, but never really thinking too much of it.  I knew that the rate of abuse of women and children was higher during these situations, but they remained hollow statistics to me.  I’d known people who were cohabiting, and it never seemed that anything terribly serious was going wrong to me.

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