My sister and I were home schooled from the ages of six and eight. When she was ten and I was eight, we moved from our small house near the beach, to a large rural property in a different town. It was decided that we'd go to school in this new town to make friends...we lasted two terms. School crushed our creativity and desire to learn. While teachers thought we were way ahead of the other students, we didn't thrive. My sister and I enjoyed learning, but the school system was a very negative experience for us.
At the beginning of 2012, when we were a few months away from me turning thirteen and my sister fifteen, we agreed we wanted to go to the high school there. We both wanted a high school experience and our parents wanted to support whatever decision we made.
High school was even more damaging for us. My sister had nervous breakdowns, couldn't learn in that environment and left school pretty quickly. I stayed a little longer and I did surprisingly well coping without Ireland (my sister), although I was still incredibly socially awkward and stuttered on occasion. I quickly learnt that I didn't care what other people thought, was quite happy to stand up for myself, I ignored the kids who were negative and I didn't take any bullshit. In that respect, I think high school was good for me - I needed to realise how confident I was in myself and in my own morals and ethics. I got by, I didn't make any friends but was happy on my own and my grades were an average of As, Bs and Cs. But I was infuriated by the school system and the terrible education we were receiving, particularly for HPE.
Health and Physical Education - basically, teaching teenagers how to barn dance. Regarding Sex Ed, we learnt a little bit about a few venereal diseases and menstruation. The subject of rape was briefly discussed - girls were told to be careful: about what they wear, how much they drink, who they talk to and how they behave. Rape is caused by a rapist, not the victim. I worry about what that puts in their minds. They are almost saying to girls that it's their responsibility if they get raped. What if a girl doesn't report a rape because she is practically being taught that it's her fault? Teachers are telling this to the girls (forgetting that men get raped too), in front of the boys. I wonder what that could make them think, subconsciously or otherwise? I'm male and I can't control myself, it's her responsibility, she's been warned about what she should wear and she's still wearing something besides a hessian sack, she's a "slut" and "asking for it". They should be teaching "don't rape" rather than "don't get raped".
That was all my experience of sex education at school, but I have talked to people from different grades at that school and other schools, teachers, read about the school system and have found out a lot of what goes on in sexual education.
The education we receive is discreet and sex shaming. We are taught about sex by teachers who pretend they don't know what a vagina is. We should be taught about peer pressure, body image and how to have safe, healthy sex, both physically and mentally, in an honest, sex-positive manner. I'm not talking about encouraging teenagers to have sex - if they want to, they're likely to be doing it anyway. Which is why, instead of attempting to discourage them by talking about sex like it's shameful and unnatural, what should be done, is to ensure that if they are going to have sex, they will be safe and healthy. Some sexually transmitted diseases are life threatening, but something that is still so, so, so important is for us to be shown what is healthy - both physically and emotionally, and what is positive. Show us the importance of treating your sexual partner as an equal and the importance of being able to openly discuss how you feel and what you do and don't want to do.
Some kids (like my sister and I) will have parents that make sure they're setting good examples for their children. My sister and I have a very open and honest relationship with each other and our mum, but there are parents who leave stuff like Sex Ed up to school. This is why having good sex education (and teachers/counsellors) is so very important.
I know this is very different to the usual posts on my blog. But I really wanted to write about it and decided I wanted to put this on my blog and see if anyone else was angered by the Sex Ed that kids are receiving at school. So what are your thoughts?
Oh, and sorry if the title to this post got Salt-N-Pepa's song 'Let's Talk About Sex' stuck in your head!