Young people are bombarded with confusing and often misogynistic messages from the world around them -- 60% have seen online porn by the age of 14. Teenage girls are getting pressured into having sex, and a recent BBC Freedom of Information request revealed that 5,500 sexual offences, including 600 rapes, were reported to police as having taken place in schools over a 3-year period. That’s almost exactly one rape per school day.
This is why we need compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE). It’s a scandal that our schools do not equip young people with the skills they need to understand consent, healthy relationships, LGBT rights and relationships, gender stereotypes and online pornography.
While some parents may speak to their children about these issues individually, not all will, and sadly some children will already be experiencing sexual abuse outside the classroom. We owe every child clear, age-appropriate information, so they can understand that abuse isn’t normal, and learn how to navigate healthy relationships.
It’s too important to leave to chance.
Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project
Sarah Green and Rachel Krys, Co-Directors of the End Violence Against Women Coalition
Sources for statistics and more information available at www.srenow.org