Young people are hungry for good sex education. I found a program in Mexico that gets it right

Source: The Conversation,  Shelly Makleff, 10 March 2021

More than 30,000 people have signed a petition, launched by ex-Sydney school girl Chanel Contos, demanding for consent to be at the forefront of sexual education in schools. The text in the petition states:

Those who have signed this petition have done so because they are sad and angry that they did not receive an adequate education regarding what amounts to sexual assault and what to do when it happens.

The petition encouraged a growing number of harrowing testimonies from young women throughout Australia about their experiences of sexual assault at parties.

School principals, particularly in all-boys schools, have responded by acknowledging the need for a cultural shift. Some schools have gathered students for sessions about consent, others addressed the topic in the classroom, some have asked parents to engage their children in discussions about sexual consent and social norms.

But studies show one-off conversations or education sessions about consent and rape are unlikely to influence long-term change. Interventions need to systematically and gradually address the harmful social norms that underpin a host of interrelated issues including rape culture, intimate partner violence and homophobic bullying.

I evaluated a sexuality education program in Mexico City. My evaluation highlighted a number of factors that can help shift harmful beliefs and behaviours related to gender, sexuality and relationships.

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