Think of sex education and relationships like this: They are like driving a car. Most people want to drive as adults, but if they don’t take lessons and one day just get in the car and drive, they risk harming themselves or others.
You may have been curious about learning to drive and watched movies such as: The Fast and the Furious and thought that was how people behind the wheel became competent. This is obviously a recipe for disaster.
However, if they have taken the time and effort to take classes, they will be more likely to enjoy taking to the streets and less of a danger to others.
Holistic sex education is the same. Rather than learning about sex through pornography, young people can get accurate information on how to minimize risk, improve their understanding of consent, and what healthy relationships are all about.
Aside from the sensationalist headlines, the good news is that the Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum is being updated – students will be taught about gender-based violence, consent and online safety, and as a result they will be better empowered to protect themselves.
You will see the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and have a more nuanced understanding of consent.
This helps them prepare for when they are ready to start dating in the future. It helps them understand that pornography is often neither realistic nor egalitarian. You have important critical thinking skills.
Research by Active* Consent found that the average age at which children first view pornography is 10 years old. For this reason, early intervention in the junior cycle can help direct students toward better forms of sex education.
The sharing of explicit images will be addressed, a topic that is essential given the prevalence of this practice among young people who may not understand image-based sexual abuse or image-sharing laws.
Ireland falls far short of international guidelines on the provision of sex education.
Unesco recommends that sex education should be comprehensive and/or holistic, aiming to provide people with fact-based information who can then empower themselves to make the choices that are right for them.
A Unesco review of international sex education curricula published in 2018 showed broad sex education outcomes in delayed onset of intercourse, reduced frequency of intercourse, reduced number of sexual partners, reduced risk-taking, increased condom use, and increased contraceptive use.
Investigations by Dr. Michelle Walsh last year found that over a 12-month period, 80 percent of youth reported having been subjected to some form of sexual harassment, 83 percent witnessed some form of sexual harassment, and 78 percent reported sexual harassment in their peer group. community happened.
The depressing statistics show the urgency of taking action against sexual harassment and sexual violence. One way to counteract this is through holistic sex education.
Young people should not have to grow up in a world where they are exposed to sexual or intimate violence from their peers or partners.
Students, parents, and teachers have responded well to Consent Classes with Active* Consent. More than 4,000 students have attended classes, with seminars for parents and teachers also being offered.
Teachers have given feedback such as, “All the teachers found it really profound and so relevant to what’s going on.”
Almost all students agreed that the workshop is relevant to them.
It is understood that the need for these talks is strong and timely.
Ireland is ready for these talks; however, they often lack the language and skills to have them adequately, safely, and comprehensively.
For example, our language around consent has evolved a lot in the 20 years since RSE was first implemented, and we need to reflect that in modern approaches.
Facilitating calm, fact-based conversations about sex and sexuality in an age-appropriate way can create these spaces for discussion and development.
This approach must also involve parents, as many have also received poor sex education themselves and may not be sure how to support their young people in this area.
Teachers have said they feel untrained and therefore uncomfortable, and the pressure to focus on exam subjects means sex education isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
The protected space given to RSE ensures that young people have access to the resources they need during their development.
This is an opportunity to build a healthier society in Ireland by supporting young people to empower themselves, stay safe and support them to live happy and healthy lives in relation to sex and sexuality.
dr Caroline West is the outreach coordinator for Active*Consent. Visit http://consenthub.ie for more information
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/young-people-should-not-have-to-grow-up-at-risk-of-sexual-violence-from-their-peers-41861319.html Young people should not grow up at risk of sexual violence from their peers