Congress and the White House must listen to the chorus of consensus within the majority of the advocacy community and support the changes requested by the broad community of advocates and experts engaged in this issue. [...]This education is desperately needed. It isn't enough to just stop abstinence-only sex education and the dangerous misinformation which is often an integral part of that education.
We have a chance to do something fundamentally different this time around but the first step is a critically important one and has to be placed on terra firma. The job of advocacy groups is to push for a firm foundation that will withstand changing political winds and to differentiate that foundation from the thin layer of top soil that can easily be washed away.
SIECUS and Advocates for Youth, along with nearly 200 of our nation's leading health organizations, are seeking change that breaks from this mold. That is why, during the 2008 election and subsequent transition, for example, this large and informal coalition strongly advocated for deep investments by the new Administration in comprehensive sex education, rather than solely on one aspect of a broader problem. Comprehensive sex ed provides teens with information and life-skills training that will reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections while addressing other aspects of sex and sexuality, such as responsibility, respect, mutual consent, identification of abusive or controlling relationships, and other critical skills.Comprehensive sex ed must include addressing child sexual abuse to help give survivors the information and resources they need while still children to either recover from past abuse or to escape current abuse and it must include addressing what is and is not genuine consent.
Currently, the impact of violence and abuse on a survivor's long-term health result in "increased health care expenditures of up to $750 billion annually." I believe this impact will be reduced once prevention and response are made a regular part of our educational systems.
Schools have become an important part of other prevention systems as most recently highlighted by the CDC's directives to schools about when to close after a student tests positive for the H1N1 flu so this model is not a new one.
Because some rapists and sexual abusers are parents and/or guardians the administration of sex ed programs needs to be careful about when adults can block their children from getting this education.
Comprehensive sex ed must include teaching children about how some people who intend harm will present themselves as someone who will be that child's best ally. If children believe that rapists and abusers are all thugs who are instantly untrustworthy then they will be more vulnerable and more likely to view a predatory relationship as mutual.
Any sex ed program which puts any of the blame or responsibility for any rape onto the victim harms children. Some programs which blame victims do so indirectly such as a program in Ohio while some such as Choosing the Best Life by Bruce Cook do so directly.
p. 13. Lesson Two: What Do You Know About 'Date Rape'?
Question 5. True or False: The victim shares in the blame of the rape.
The harm from education like this impacts more than victims of sexual violence the harm is done to those who use the victim blaming or rape denial they are taught to help them rationalize harmful behavior which may lead to rightful sex crime charges and rightful convictions.
Children who have been sexually abused may have had their defensive boundaries destroyed by their abusers and may have been taught that voicing a lack of consent will result in more violence. While it is good to teach these children to create healthy boundaries, the responsibility for enforcing proper boundaries must never placed on the person who doesn't want a particular action.
We must teach children that they are responsible for ensuring that their own actions don't cross an ethical or legal line and that other people are responsible to do the same.
This means teaching children the danger of assuming consent based on shared opinions about which other children or teens will consent so that they realize they may be learning instead the identify of a student who is vulnerable to being sexually exploited or they may be learning the identity of a student who is being slandered, possibly by one or more students who have sexually harmed that particular student.
Comprehensive sexual education should of course include so much more than talking about how people should behave. It must include accurate biological information.