Quality sex education vital for combatting rape culture

Press Release – Youth Wellbeing

Youth Wellbeing Project to bring sex education programme to New Zealand in 2014 following Roast Busters case
15 November 2013

Quality sex education in schools vital for combatting rape culture

Youth Wellbeing Project to bring sex education programme to New Zealand in 2014 following “Roast Busters” case
An Australian sexologist who has authored a comprehensive sex education programme for teens says there is an urgent need for New Zealand schools to make quality sex education a mandatory part of schooling to address the culture of rape that is created by pornography-saturated messages prevalent in digital media.

Liz Walker is founder of Youth Wellbeing Project, which helps schools and communities around Australia openly discuss youth sexual behaviour. She believes a much stronger message needs to be sent to teenagers about sexual activity, respect, consent, boundaries and safety, and that this message should come from both schools and parents.

“Unless rape myths are confronted through a comprehensive approach to sexuality education, and young men and women are challenged to diffuse abusive situations, more stories similar to “Roast Busters” will surface,” says Ms Walker.

“Sadly, some teens have engaged in this behaviour for years, but digital media is compounding the effects on the young people involved.”

To address this issue, Ms Walker has created a sex education programme called GET A GRIP teenz which aims to assist parents and schools to partner together to talk about sex in a healthy way and address abusive sexual behaviour head on, helping prevent similar cases occurring.

“In my work as a sex educator, I’ve learned that teenagers want to hear what parents have to say about sex and will appreciate common sense advice that brings balance back into what’s become a pornography-dominated domain,” says Ms Walker.

“Parents who don’t have these conversations are at risk of raising teens who are emotionally deficient and struggle with connection and meaningful relationships in the future.”

Ms Walker says young people who participate in the GET A GRIP teenz programme have an opportunity to unpack the devastating effects of rape, and discuss how to intervene, access support for victims, and understand the repercussions of these behaviours on perpetrators, victims and the wider community.

“If this type of situation is confronted, it creates an opportunity for alcohol-fuelled abuse to be tackled head on, space for empathy, and an expectation that sexual relationships should be enjoyable and meaningful as opposed to violating,” she says.

An official launch of the GET A GRIP teenz programme in New Zealand is planned for 2014, however Ms Walker says that New Zealand schools who want to access the materials now can do so and receive online facilitator training for using the resources.

Ms Walker says exposure to pornography is adding further emotional risks for teenagers having sex.

“Our teens have been led by pornography-saturated messages to believe that sex is just sex. This framework for sexuality has many damaging aspects, including insecurity about the shape and size of body parts, confusing messages around pleasure, and a lack of understanding regarding the emotional aspects of sex and relationships.”

“Young guys are often surprised when their girlfriend doesn’t want to do the same as what they’ve viewed online, and young women who give into unrealistic expectations are left feeling violated and confused.”

“Extreme cases of sexual violence are one of the potential outcomes of young people accepting these messages. It is devastating to all involved and it’s the community’s responsibility to address this,” says Ms Walker.

The GET A GRIP teenz programme offers the following tips for teenagers facing potentially abusive situations:

• Be aware that alcohol can drastically change a situation. • Stick with friends who can look out for you. • Be aware of ‘internal warning signs’ such as feelings of unease, butterflies and sweaty palms, and be prepared to exit the situation. • Plan ahead for social activities and make sure you’ve got strategies in place to contact safe adults if you’re feeling unsafe, assisting to prevent sexual violence before it happens. • There’s no shame in seeking help – make sure you talk to someone who’s qualified to offer advice.

- ENDS –

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url