For some reason, so many schools seem to believe that, by refusing to teach safe sex education, they’ll somehow convince teenagers not to have sex.
As a teacher, I know this is one major failure.
I’ve seen plenty of pregnant students to know this is a fact.
But it’s a fact I’ve known since I was in high school, when one of my friends fell pregnant because her boyfriend lied to her and raped her.
He told her certain things weren’t sex, and she believed him.
I know it sounds naive, but she came from a very religious family, and the extent of our sex education was putting condoms on bananas and hearing about how dangerous it was to invite men in for coffee after a date because that insinuated sex and not coffee.
My schooling was a while ago and I have the strong feeling that the video was a) not recent and b) that they hadn’t updated their sex education curriculum in years, just so we’re clear.
And yes, I’m very well aware that form of education was not only inefficient but left both male and female students with seriously misguided beliefs in regards to what constitutes consent, sex and rape.
Regardless, her family and our school failed her, and she fell pregnant as the result of ridiculous lies and a man who felt it wasn’t rape if he lied. (Fact: It is rape if you lie. If you lie about what sex is, or who you are, or anything to get someone to sleep with you, that’s rape.)
Whilst that man left her, I know for a fact that she doesn’t regret what happened at all.
She gave birth to a beautiful baby, and whilst we don’t really keep in touch anymore, I’m up-to-date with her Facebook. She seems to be very happily married, and has two more wonderful children.
Whilst my old friend’s story has a beautiful ending and she overcame all the obstacles that were thrown her way, not everyone is so lucky.
Being lied to doesn’t help anyone – especially when that lie leads to the sexual assault or rape of another.
On top of which, we need to ensure that both men and women understand what consent is. Both men and women need to understand that they have every right to say no.
Both men and women have the right to understand that it is more than okay to have pre-marital sex if they want. They have the right to have sex with someone they love, married or not. They have the right to have as much casual (safe) sex as they want.
They have the right to know that having multiple sexual partner does not make them a slut or a man-whore.
They have the right to know that having multiple sexual partners – hell, even hundreds – does not make it okay for someone else to sexually harass, assault or abuse another person.
They have the right to know and understand the consequences of unsafe sex: pregnancy, STIs and STDs – some of which are currently untreatable and some of which can be and are actually fatal.
Sex education is incredibly important.
It’s important to fight against rape culture and the stigma surround it.
It’s important to inform and educate others about what consent is; that silence isn’t consent. That you shouldn’t try and change a “No” into a “Yes”.
Because the fact is, not giving students the information they need helps no one, and just puts students at risk.
Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.
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