BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


sex ed VS abstinence based
March 26, 2009, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Building Healthy Relationships | Tags: , , , , , ,

while i was in the middle schools today the health teachers were discussing the new sex. ed plan that will substitute the previous abstinence based curriculum. they were shocked at how explicit and crude the information was, how mechanical and graphic. i asked if i could read the lesson plan, and honestly i was surprised. it was very much like reading a car manual, an instruction booklet on sex: this is how you put on a condom. dry? use some lube. oral sex? use dental dam or rubbers.sex_ed_by_boundsparrow

it was full of statistics about who is having sex and how much. graphs, precisely. it was so cold and sterile. i am all for sex ed., but not one that equates knowing how to put on a condom with a safe, healthy sexual relationship.

the two teachers i spoke to at length were both men, and shared some of their experiences. one of them recalled that the only thing his parents told him about sex was to “keep it in his pants, and don’t get in no trouble”. the other teacher had a sister that became pregnant at 15, and remembered feeling safe in the fact that he, as a man, could not get pregnant and “screw his life”. they both thought that the information would not be helpful to the kids, because it was way over their heads, and inappropriate.

i don’t think it’s inappropriate because kids should not know about sex, but because it teaches nothing about the reality of sex. the much needed information is not only how to not get pregnant, or avoid STIs, but the foundation of trust, communication and mutuality that are necessary for having a healthy sex life. it’s either “no sex, you will ruin your life and go to hell”, or a superficial overview of the physiological reality of a variety of sexual acts.

i am nervous that it’s gonna make people feel even more pressured to have sex when they don’t even know what they think of it yet, because they get a sense that everyone is doing it. so many times as an advocate, or just a friend i listened to people that “gave in” to sex because it seemed like what they were supposed to do, or felt pressured by peers and boyfriends ( and sometimes girlfriend), and then felt like shit about it.

in the end it makes sense that the school system is either offering a firm no to sex, or a cut and dry instruction booklet. it’s easy! there is no discussions, or nuances, or difficult conversations about consent and safety. it’s just another sterile piece of information removed from the real, complicated lives of youth.

i am going to look more into this, because i have no idea about who is responsible for choosing one sex ed. program or another, but sitting here and bitching doesn’t feel right.

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do you have something to say about gender violence?
November 24, 2008, 1:30 pm
Filed under: gender violence | Tags: , , , ,

i know i am kind of a broken record because i talk about the same things all the time, but here is the deal:
indiana is finally trying to implement a broad sexual asssault prevention plan, and insted of having random “professionals” decide what is best, they are asking hoosiers to fill out this survey to get an idea of what really affects people in their life and how to push for positive change.

it’s all online at : http://www. in. gov/isdh/23820. htm

even if you fill out a couple of questions it’s still helpful///deadline is dec.15



on the other side of the road
October 25, 2008, 3:22 pm
Filed under: rants and such | Tags: , , , , , , ,

this scenario greeted me on the way to the middle school i spoke at this week, and it was too much to pass. there is so much oversaturatyion of information and opinions about the current election, that even though it occupies my mind daily, i have not felt compelled to write about it. Partly i am just terriefied. i feel like i have been holding my breath for the past couple of months, not wanting to spit out trite and overly used thoughts about either candidate.

i also still feel in this between space of belonging elsewhere, of not being really part of america, of knowing i fit in some outside space where my citizenship status does not even allow me to vote. at the same time everyday i am confronted by political ideas, not in democrat VS republican, but in the way kids at school understand gender, or violence, or sex. in the way i can’t afford medical care, or my daughters orthodontist’s bills. there are politics in oona and florence learning from school that sex is only something a married man and woman do, or that poverty is shameful.  there are politics in every inch of my life, that in the end will be affected by who is president. what is striking is that this whole election feels like a battle where both factions equally believe in their righteousness. on one side we have the obama sub-development, and on the other the mccain’s. i just can’t believe it’ that simple. no matter what ideals are behind these decisions i find that people want the same things: a sense of safety, of belonging, and the chance to have a meaningful life. but there is little talk of common ground, because it doesn’t serve political strategy. there is such palpable tension between people, at least in indiana, to the point that it would seem impossible for an obama supporter to sit at the same table with a mccain voter.

i just don’t see how it’s helping anything. it’s hard. no doubt. it would be incredibly difficult for me to calmly talk to someone that believes women are inferior, or people of color. it would probably physically hurt to have a discussion with people that don’t believe a woman should have the right to chose what to do with her body, or that anyone should be free to love and find sexy whomever they wish. but it seems like closing communication will only be hurtful for everyone involved.