Learning Curve

Scotland is feeling the pressure to make Sexual Education in schools’ compulsory following England’s example aiming to tackle the taboo of sex in society

There is still a stigma attached to sex in society, especially when relating to women. However, is the taboo involved with sex resulting in hesitancy to teach sexual education? Society is very aware this is an issue that needs tackling. Prompted by the claim from MP’s that ‘sexual abuse of girls had become “accepted as part of everyday life” in England’s schools’.

This continues later in life, sexual harassment in the UK affects 52 percent of women in the work place including groping and sexual advances. Sexual harassment has reached ‘epidemic’ levels in university with 169 allegations from 2011-2017 with a majority of women not reporting incidents.

The government are trying to tackle this issue from a younger age, hoping this will have a positive effect in society.  From the age of four onwards, children will be taught about relationships to tackle outdated guidance.  Age appropriate lessons will be taught regarding pornography, sexting and sexual harassment. Parents do have the option to stop their children from receiving this education.

Scotland is now feeling the pressure to follow England’s lead. There is concern over children in faith areas being left behind in sex education, which will have negative repercussions later on in life. The hesitancy to teach sexual education is being voiced across the UK. Groups such as Christian Concern and Safe at School are protesting this change branding this move a ‘tragedy’.

Chief executive Andrea Williams told the BBC: “Children need to be protected, and certainly when they’re [still at primary school], we need to be guarding their innocence.” Claiming this is not something for the state to decide but for the discretion of the parents.

GRENADE asks primary teacher, Ashley Roberts, on whether sex education should become compulsory in Scotland.

“Children develop at different ages or experiment younger than what the law states. While this shouldn’t be encouraged before 16, they should have the knowledge to make informed decisions and know where to turn if they need further help as initiatives, Healthcare is in place.”

Environment is also an important factor to consider when talking about sexual health. GRENADE talks to evolutionary biologist, Dr Mairi Mcleod:

“Some kids are growing up in chaotic family environments without good role models, and many see their elders with health problems at a relatively early age. These kids will do what any mammal in an unpredictable situation will do – they’ll follow a fast reproductive strategy where they’ll get into sex early.”

The stigma attached to sex, sexual health and women is evident. Understanding where this taboo relating to gender and sex comes could shed some light. Psychiatrist, Philip Brenot, author of bestseller, The Story of Sex, believes the answer lies in the history of female roles in society.  Women were never seen as equal with men and as sexual objects or possessions.

To combat histories inequalities, Brenot believes sex education is the key. “Sexual education should teach the rules that should govern relationships; it should teach us about communication, about consent and respect.” Teaching children to accept each other but also understand the differences. Brenot claims, the refusal to accept the difference in genders is hindering equality such as physical and mental strength.

Combatting inequality in gender and sexual health will always be a difficult task. From a young age fairytales present the idea, girls are princesses that have to be rescued by boys. This then reflects to an idea of a women’s role in society, leading to issues with sexual harassment and health. Tackling these sitgmas at a young age through sexual education is now the focus. Equality is being strived for and, hopefully, this is the key step towards it.

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