About a year ago I wrote a post on sexual bullying, you can read it here.
In that post I wrote about my experiences, and about how I feel that it’s a topic that’s being swept under the rug. it’s not something that anyone is comfortable talking about.
Lately, the UK government has floated plans to make 11-16 year olds undertake ‘sexual consent lessons’. I don’t know what these lessons would entail, but if they’re planned well then they could offer a solution to the problem of sexual bullying.
This is one of those plans that’s been a little sensationalised by the media. However, I think that it’s a great idea and fully support bringing in anything that helps teenagers to talk about and understand sex and sexuality.
In the UK having sex is illegal for under 16s. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone under the age of sixteen is completely innocent and ignorant on the matter. We have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, something that shows the law makes little difference for many teenagers.
As well as that, anything that tackles the issue of sexual assault is good in my book. The silence surrounding anything of this nature is awful and only hurts the victims, so giving guidance on where and when to get help is a good thing.
The people who are uncomfortable with this kind of legislation seem to be highlighting two things; the first is that these lessons will encourage teenagers to have sex. Personally, I think the law makes little difference when someone is deciding to lose their virginity or engage in intimate acts. Teenagers have always, and will always, choose to have sex when they want to. It might not be great, but it’s pretty much impossible to police. Giving them knowledge will simply help to stop any fall-out and give them power to make educated and informed decisions, as well as keeping them safe from people who want to use them.
The second is that we should be keeping children ‘innocent’ and not tainting their minds with knowledge that they’re too young to know. Frankly, I find that slightly ridiculous. Teenagers see sex everywhere, and not giving them the proper information about it is damaging. Sometimes, ignorance is not bliss; at the end of the day there will be teenagers who are sexually assaulted, bullied or raped. They need to learn when to recognise that they are in a dangerous situation, when to know that someone has crossed the line and where they can get help.
’til next time,