Posts Tagged sexuality education

Are We Doing Young Persons a Disservice by Teaching them No Means No?

I’ve been teaching sexuality education to teens for a decade now.  In that time, I’ve seen a huge shift in the way young women respond to the issue of date rape, although almost no change in the way young men respond.

The date rape lesson in Our Whole Lives for high school students takes the form of the story of a date told from the perspective of each person.  Participants divide into two groups, each with one version of the story, which they read aloud.  The basic facts of the date are the same in each account – they go to dinner, drink a bottle of wine, go back to his room at the frat house, drink some more, play music, dance, get partly undressed, make out.  It’s at this point the stories diverge radically – his version ends with them having sex, her version with her being raped.  After reading the story, participants answer a series of questions which include “What could he/she have done to change the outcome of the evening?”

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College Life, Rape and Public Discourse

There’s a major discussion happening right now about sexual assault on college campuses (i.e. it’s made the NY Times; some other posts and articles here, here, here and here).  The basic shape of the conversation can be described fairly simply:

Rape and sexual assault are already underreported crimes.  Students on college campuses are victims of rape and sexual assault on a regular basis; college campuses nationwide engage in efforts to minimize reporting of sexual assault on campus and take minimal actions against perpetrators.  New regulations are shining a light on the situation.

The consensus seems to be that colleges aren’t doing enough to protect students from sexual assault and aren’t doing enough with regard to punishing perpetrators; it seems to me the worst a college can do is expel a perpetrator and even then they run risks they may prefer to avoid.  As I think about this issue, it seems that colleges are trying to thread the needle with regard to legal liability – in the absence of specific knowledge about specific threats to a student from/by another student, they can’t take any action; they can’t expel a student because he might rape someone.  Without evidence, they can’t punish a student.  In many cases, victims can’t identify the perpetrators. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stuart Reid Uses Bad History Draws Bad Conclusions Yet Proposes Decent Policy Proposal

Utah State Senator Stuart Reid recently floated a proposal that would create a program to educate parents about sexuality in the belief they would turn around and teach their children at home.

“My belief is the discussion really should be about parental responsibility,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, who plans to sponsor the bill. “Our first instinct shouldn’t be to turn this over to the education community … It should first start in the home.”

Reid said it’s not that parents don’t understand sex, it’s more that they don’t know how to teach certain concepts to their kids or at what ages to begin. Reid said he envisions the State Office of Education holding training sessions across the state once or twice a year where parents would be given codes to access the online program. Reid said Monday he did not yet know how much it would cost the state to implement such a program.

There’s much to laud in Reid’s proposal. One of the major challenges facing parents is a lack of confidence and skill in discussing questions of sexuality with their children. Empowering parents with education and specific techniques is a good idea, especially since so few adults actually received good comprehensive sexuality education as young people. While I can foresee a host of problems in the way the adult program could be created and implemented (this being Utah with its attendant hangups about sexuality) nevertheless, the policy itself is a potential step in the right direction. Emphasis should be placed on the potential since Reid is operating from flawed knowledge of history and a serious misreading of current events.

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