Rare is the under age, or of age teenager/adult who discusses their sexual health or activity with a parent. This is probably wise. If we left it entirely up to the parents we may risk abstinence only education for all teens. Were I a parent I fear that, for all my championing of comprehensive sex education, I'd plump for this one when it came to my spawn, alongside gruesome images of sexually transmitted infections and tales of mysteriously absent friends and their woes that resulted from promiscuity. Forget stay in school, stay at home! However the more familiar a child or teen can be with the ins and outs of sexual health the healthier they will be as adults, which is why I'd let my little sheltered hypothetical kids take this new PSHE class.
Today is the first ever United Nations International Day of the Girl Child (The term 'Girl Child' here is used to highlight the particular struggles young women and girls under 18) . Today's International Day of the Girl was lobbied for by the people behind the Because I am a Girl...campaign Plan UK in order to have a “day in recognition of girls' rights and accomplishments”.
Plan UK hope, through new awareness, to generate more signatures for their petition to put pressure on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to “lead action by world leaders to make girls' education a priority.”
Global statistics show that 1 in 3 girls are denied a secondary education due to poverty, discrimination and violence. If that doesn't convince you to add your signature how about the statistic that every 3 seconds a girl is coaxed, coerced or forced into a marriage?
Social isolation is to be added Image: G Kovacs
It has been announced today that the definition of domestic abuse will be changed in March 2013 to include the term 'coercive control'. The addition means a pattern of behaviour that is psychologically, emotionally, socially or financially controlling can be considered as a form of domestic abuse.
This will be added to the 2004 definition of domestic abuse: "any incident of threatening behaviour, or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality"
Brits fond of muttering darkly about their country will quickly alight upon the subject of teen pregnancy, at which we excel in Europe (although it’s worth mentioning the UK teen pregnancy rate is at its lowest since the 1960s…so go UK teens!). Depending on their political bent a theory concerning council housing will quickly follow or perhaps fretting about teen girl’s self-worth or sex education. A subject that is rarely brought up in conjunction with teen pregnancy debates is death. Nor, for that matter, are fistulas, incontinence or ruptures mentioned in teen pregnancy discussions. When it comes to health complications brought on by pregnancy a pregnant teen in Britain could be forgiven for thinking this begins and ends with the much feared bucket vagina.
In the past decade or so Barbie seems to have come awful close to joining Noddy in the toy non grata category. Since I was a girl she’s been accused of being too blonde, too thin and too bosomy. Like most women Barbie suffers from having her qualifications overlooked. Nobody wants to talk about her surgery, her veterinary practice or her time in space
Her boyfriend Ken seems to just want to go on dates all the time, Barbie has had to have all these careers to support her bum of a boyfriend (there was that low point when they had to run a hot dog stand). And somehow, SOMEHOW she’s still found time to become an accomplished horse rider.
However, being a fashion doll Barbie is nothing if not totally with the times. She’s ditched the careers, the blonde hair and the boobs. Donning a pastel pink bob, a toy dog (obviously a toy dog, but a toy toy dog) called Bastardino and tattoos, Barbie’s got rough. Say hi to Bad Influence Barbie!
Image: Kevin Dooley
Twitter users might have recently noticed the hash-tag #whatsexedtaughtme popping up accompanied by a brief description of the tweeter’s sex education at school. This is part of a study held by Brook, a sexual health service for under 25s, researching the state of sex education in schools. The results are unsurprising.
Teenagers want more say in their sex education. A poll taken by Brook revealed that of over 2,000 14 to18 year olds 78% did not feel they had the chance to influence the content of their lessons and 72% thought they should have more influence over their sex and relationships education (SRE).
It was revealed in a Research Bods survey that teenagers get about 13% of their sex ed from an SRE teacher, 10% from a parent and 14% from magazine agony aunts, books, music lyrics and videos. These are the reliable sources teenagers are using. Although I shudder to think what music lyrics they are referring to. Unless SRE classes are now ending with a sing-along.