This isn’t one of my typical blogs and I do apologise for not posting as much lately (see this Facebook post as to why) but I’m currently chilling in my room and catching up on social media when I hear about an incident with internet star Carter Reynolds and his girlfriend. I won’t go into details, but if you’re interested, here is a post. The topic I want to discuss, however, does relate. Consent and sex education.
Sex isn’t a thing I tend to talk about for numerous reasons. One being I’ve been single all my life and two being it’s just not something I find I want to discuss all the time like a lot of people my age. However, after reading about the recent events and going back to the Sam Pepper incident, people were bringing up about how the education system isn’t covering enough about sex and the PSHE (Personal, Soical and Health Education) topics. I instantly had a flashback back to year 8. We were in a PSHE lesson and a student asked our teacher (let’s call him Mr T for Mr Thoughtless and also how cool would it be to have actual Mr T as your PHSE teacher? ‘I PITY THE FOOL WHO DOESN’T RESPECT A PERSON’S RIGHTS’) “Sir, when will we be learning about sex and stuff?” Mr T turned around from writing on the whiteboard and said
“I won’t be teaching you sex education. I’m not into teaching that kind of thing because quite frankly, that’s embarrassing.”
Even then as a 13/14 year old I thought that was wrong because we needed to be taught the facts. But I didn’t realise just how much we actually needed to learn because… well, I hadn’t been taught, had I?
Now, as a 19 year old who is learning a lot more about the world, society and our rights, I’ve come to realise what Mr T did was in a way neglect to our education. Teaching us about sex and consent is just as important as Maths, English, History and the rest of the subjects. While the other subjects will help us academically and career wise, we need education on life, our rights and sex just as much as the rest. How else will we know what is right and wrong?
If a teacher teaches sex education and the student chooses not to listen and is irresponsible, then that is the student’s fault. However, if a student is not taught about consent, what is considered okay, what is considered not okay and the like, how is that student to know what is right, what is wrong? It is important to teach people while they are young, still in school and education is compulsory as to what their rights are. Whether that is with sex or just a basic human right, because if they aren’t taught where education is something they need by law, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they won’t go looking for it when they are no longer in education, or at least the majority won’t.
When I was 15, I had a friend who lost her virginity and told me she didn’t use a condom (let’s bare in mind we weren’t even in the same school and were from total different counties.) . I was worried. I asked her why she didn’t and she said “it would have ruined the moment.” I then urged her to visit A&E for an emergency pill. She didn’t understand but after persuasion, she agreed for me to contact a youth worker who I knew to drive us to the nearest hospital. The nurse questioned her and then asked her about her knowledge on safe sex. She didn’t have any. I was pretty shocked.
“I was never taught in school about the importance of condoms or protection. I was just told you need to use them, not why.”
The nurse then proceeded to explain the basics and need to know of protection, STI’s and other risks. Of course, this was useful for the nurse to do this, but the fact of the matter is, my friend should have been made aware of this in school, not when she was in an actual situation where it could have gone wrong thanks to lack of knowledge provided by her school.
I was never taught about rape in school. I didn’t know what it was until a kid who did know what it was told us. I was taught by my mother at some point, but regardless of parents teaching their children, there are still myths that are about that parents may not be aware that they are not facts, so it is important that someone qualified teaches young people about it. For a long time I wasn’t aware that it was considered rape if your partner forced sex onto you. To tell the truth, I’m pretty sure I’ve learnt more about life and important lessons after school than all the years I was given a free education. How ridiculous is that? It seems as though young people of our generation now have to rely on the internet, finding the information themselves and even from real life stories about other people who didn’t know instead of being taught in school.
I’m very thankful that people such as Laci Green (check her out, she is amazing) are online and teaching the facts and truths about sex, relationships and human rights. However, it doesn’t guarantee that everyone will learn from those people. Not everyone will be online looking for the information because they don’t understand the importance. Teachers need to be teaching what Laci discusses to their students and if they are embarrassed like Mr T was, maybe they should stick to teaching English or Geography.
I just wish the education system would wake up and see just how important it is to teach in more detail about these kind of things instead of “sex is bad. Use a condom.”
I hope you enjoyed my blog and hope you can see where I’m coming from. If you are still in school and not being taught about sex ed and consent, maybe ask your teacher as to why this is and comment below what they said. It would be interesting to find out what the excuse is.