Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, May 6, 2013.
May 6, 2013
I think a family's teachings and attitude at home have more influence on such feelings than an abstinence-only program at school. Even the community in which a person lives could change how a rape victim might respond. I think it could influence a victim more if the program teaches purity from a religious perspective. Of course, there are extremes such as the West Virginia situation mentioned in the article, and of course Smart's own nightmare.
I can't imagine the horror of being a rape victim. I think any program, whatever it is, needs to show a high dignity and respect to those who are raped. I don't agree that any program whether it is abstinence only, a program allowing for premarital sex, a program allowing for birth control, or a combination of any of these need to be insensitive to the horrors of this hideous crime.
May 7, 2013
In my experience, abstinence only education does not work. I had never thought of this as another reason against it, but it's interesting to consider.
My 2 cents... the school shouldn't be the one teaching it. The parents should be. It should be explained that rape victims are that... victims... not to feel dirty about it. I know the criminal has made them feel like dirt with their tactics.
I never thought of it being negative about your sexuality. That is just ignorant. I have no problem about scaring kids about the results of early sexual behavior but the idiot speaker who made those comments is not the answer. Interesting. The Smart girl sounds very smart. Of course her experience gives her real legitimacy.
This article pushes me in favor of removing this type of education from the curriculum. If you aren't going to teach it correctly, don't teach it. Better to make health education an elective so students (and their parents) can opt out of it.
I had a tremendous year-long healthy living course that was an elective, and I think I was much more prepared to be on my own for college because of it. However, I received some frank, graphic information that many people would find objectionable. That's fine, if they have the option of taking another elective.
I think I've shared before that I learned the most about sex from a conference at my church. It was a weekend for teens. The first night we talked about basic biology: what body parts do what, how different contraceptives work, how to use them, and with what accuracy they work. They actually had them there for us to touch and see and play with, which I appreciated because I had no clue about any of that stuff and I was terrified of them because it all seemed so mysterious. The second day we looked at what society says about sex and sexuality. We looked at sex in the media, and in music. We talked about expectations about sex that our friends had. They even gave us a list of physical activities and a list of stages in a relationship, and let us each say which we thought went where. There was no judgement based on what you put where, but it really gave a chance to think academically about what we were comfortable with outside of the heat of the moment. After dinner, we looked at icky pictures of STDs. On Sunday, we looked at what the Bible, and other religious texts (as well as texts of other religions) say about sex. I remember leaving the weekend feeling so informed and empowered to make really good decisions, and knowing that I had value as a person that was separate from my sexuality and my sexual choices. It was such a good program!
I think any type of teaching about this topic can be done well or done poorly. What Smart describes is abstinance taught poorly, with guilt, shame, and fear as the main drivers behind the chioce. I've heard plenty of the chewed gum/ unwrapped present/ dirty water type of analogies, and I disagree strongly with that approach. Not only does it make anyone who willingly or unwillingly has any sexual experience feel used and dirty, but it also seems to give others a right to judge and dismiss them for their experiences.
However, I don't think this poor teaching tactic necessarily discredits abstinence education as a whole. There are other reasons besides for guilt shame and fear, both religious and non-religious, that a student might want to choose abstinance. I'm not necessarily saying it's the best approach-- just that an entire option shouldn't be dismissed because of the way some people teach it.
I don't see why it needs to be so black or white with no grey area.
I'm teaching sexual health to a group of seventh graders right now. Today we learned about menstruation. One of my boys, looking rather disgusted, raised his hand and asked me why "they" (the boys) needed to learn about it seeing as they aren't going to experience it. I told him that just because it wasn't relevant to his life right now doesn't make it not worth learning about.
Could the same approach not be taught when it comes to contraception? Could it not be pro-abstinence with some birth control thrown in? As in "We really, really promote abstinence and here are our reasons why. However, we also think it's important that you understand that these things exist, so let's talk about them."
I'm required to cover birth control and STI prevention with my kiddos. And while I personally think 12 is WAY too young to be having sex, it's my job to arm them with the skills and the knowledge to allow them to protect themselves.
I had an abstinence-only education in Texas. Well, it was labeled Health class. We learned a bit of basic biology about reproduction but we learned very little about sex. Basically you were just told to not have sex and then show lots of images of what STDs look like. Not once did the teacher ever explain how to protect yourself from STDs or how to prevent pregnancy. This didn't help the three pregnant girls in the class. Some of the girls in the class believed some of the dumbest things. I had one girl tell me she could not get pregnant if she had sex standing up. There was a girl my friend knew that insisted you could not get pregnant on certain days of the week. It was very, very idiotic and a waste of my time. I learned more from older friends and the internet than this class.