This morning, I ran across an article on Yahoo! titled "13-Year-Olds Push To Change Rape Culture — Starting In Sex Ed Class." Go ahead and read it here, then come back.
Done? Ok, good.
So here's the issue: consent. I was never taught what this was when I was in school. I was taught abstinence education up until maybe 9th grade. I don't know if this was because I lived in West Virginia where (not ironically) there's a lot of teenage pregnancies and kids are taught abstinence education.
Most of you reading this know about my history so I won't go too much into it again. At a young age, I was sexually assaulted. I didn't know what was happening nor did I know that it wasn't my fault that it was happening. Through the years, it kept happening until one time, it was a "full on assault" meaning there was actual vaginal penetration. This is still quite possibly the worst day of my life to date, not to mention something that sent me spiraling into anxiety and a deep depression.
So let's get back to this article. Some parents say that teaching consent in sex ed class is "too much." Why? Why are we so afraid to 1) teach children about their bodies, and 2) teach them about things that can become so prevalent, people think it's becoming normal? Not only would I want my child to be taught this in school, I would expect my partner and I to talk to them and teach them as well.
Why is sex, teaching children about it, and having real conversations about it still taboo? Do you ever wonder why teenage pregnancy is so high? Do you wonder why there are so many cases of rape, especially ones that go unreported? It's because in 2014-2015, we still don't have a sex ed curriculum that helps our children.
The sex education system in America hurts children. If a child is taught abstinence education, what is this telling them? DON'T HAVE SEX EVER UNTIL YOU'RE MARRIED. Ok...but shouldn't we be teaching kids that if they're going to be having sex, they should be careful about it? Kids love to rebel, right? If we teach them to absolutely not do something, is that really going to help?
Why not give kids the resources they need? There's nothing wrong with sex. It's a beautiful thing, it's completely natural, and it's great...so why are we so against it? (To be fair, I don't think young children having sex is "great" but you know what I mean.)
I knew a kid who was home-schooled and her parents taught her their own version of sex ed with lessons from the Bible?. Any guess at what age she had her first child? Fifteen years old.
Abstinence-only sexual education hurts children. Period. Children need to be taught consent. They need to be taught about rape/sexual assault, pregnancy, condoms, barrier methods of all kinds...they need to be prepared. In this day and age, kids are not and we wonder what the issue is.