As a trainee teacher I found the word ‘whore’ on my classroom door more than once. But does a Scottish scheme hold a solution for both teachers and pupils?
If sexual harassment in politics and showbiz has raised eyebrows of late, the level of it in schools should set alarm bells ringing. Reports of sexual offences by children towards other children are on the increase. There’s also a broad gamut of harassment in schools, as in all workplaces. Even in the less serious cases – boys pinging girls’ bras, for example – for those targeted it can be wearing and humiliating.
Teachers are not immune, either. Cases have yet to be reported of inappropriate behaviour by school leaders but there is plenty of pupil-on-teacher abuse. As a 23-year-old trainee I found the word “whore” written on my classroom door more than once. At the time I rolled my eyes and wiped it off. Now I’d be mad as hell.
Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries
If our bodies are built for pleasure, why is that so many of us struggle to enjoy sex? And how do we go about having a better time of it?
This was the question renowned scientist and sex educator Marie Stopes answered when she authored what was effectively the first sex manual for British women, Married Love: “In my own marriage, I paid such a terrible price for sex ignorance that I feel knowledge gained at such a cost should be placed at the service of humanity.”
Politico reports that Valerie Huber, a longtime abstinence-only activist turned Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) staffer, will be making decisions about federal family planning funds. Huber, who was suspended from her position at the Ohio Department of Health after a state ethics investigation in 2006, is founder of the National Abstinence Educators Association, which later became Ascend. (The name change was part of a broader move by the abstinence-only movement to seem more credible.)
Ministry of Health declines to endorse proposals to tackle teen pregnancy rates, with distribution of contraceptives to 15-year-olds branded an ‘erosion of morals’
A row has broken out in Uganda over proposals to extend sex education to 10-year-olds and give some 15-year-olds access to family planning services.
The Ministry of Health has refused to endorse the guidelines, which were designed to tackle the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate, objecting that they are morally wrong and would encourage promiscuity and abortions.
With UK schools increasingly falling short, vloggers such as Hannah Witton and Laci Green have stepped up to offer guidance on everything from body confidence to sexual pleasure
When Lily was at school, she remembers the boys and girls being separated for a sex education class. The boys were given one booklet; the girls another. “In the boys’ booklet, there was a section on masturbation and there wasn’t in the girls’ booklet,” she says. “A girl put her hand up and said: ‘Why don’t we have that?’ and one of the teachers said: ‘Girls don’t do that, that’s disgusting.’ It shouldn’t be a shameful thing to talk about. It can be a bit awkward and embarrassing, but we should be talking about it.”
Afterwards, Lily, who is now 19 and identifies as bisexual, went online and discovered sex education videos on YouTube, particularly those made by a young woman, Hannah Witton. “Within my friendship group it has really opened up a conversation about things you don’t normally discuss,” she says. “In schools, LGBT sex ed is just not talked about. Sex was never discussed as a pleasurable thing, especially for women.” Magazines such as Cosmopolitan filled some of her knowledge gaps, she says, but most of her sex education has come from Witton.
Sex education shouldn’t be about scaremongering, but it must acknowledge that many couples have problems conceiving
How easy is it to get pregnant? Judging by the scaremongering sex education I received, you’d think all it took was the touch of the tip, the slip of a condom or the missing of a pill and – bam! – you’re a pregnant teenager and your life as you know it is over.
But now a coalition of leading doctors, fertility experts and campaigners – under the umbrella of the Fertility Education Initiative (FEI) – has told the government that the emphasis must shift. In the new compulsory sex education classes, girls (and presumably boys) should be taught how and when to conceive. One in seven couples struggles with fertility, and it is looking as though the traditional emphasis on safe sex at the expense of all else – a response to what was an appalling teenage pregnancy record in the UK – has unsurprisingly backfired. Young women (and, again, I assume the men to whom a large proportion of them are coupled) are assuming that they can conceive as soon as they want to.
Proposals to outlaw wolf-whistling are not the best way to deal with sexual harassment
By culture and by history, the demands made on French women by French society are astronomic. They are expected to be beautiful, but in an effortless way. They have to know how to rebuke men’s advances but always with charm, wit and possibly even panache. They are inherently supposed to know how to play the French dance of seduction and be able to escape the unwanted embrace (usually from older men) with a smile and a pirouette. And never to complain: men’s interest in them is, after all, only a tribute to their great beauty and many qualities. And so the story goes…
One should feel grateful to be the object of so much male attention, shouldn’t one? Here is a very French paradox, one in which President Macron’s government is trying to put some order, by legislating against street sexual harassment such as wolf-whistling. “A €20 fine would be a bit humiliating, €5,000 would be more of a deterrent,” recently declared Marlène Schiappa, the 34-year-old French minister for gender equality. Certainly, but should we go there? And is this really the best way to tackle sexism?
Parisian cafe owners speak about their difficulty in hiring young male waiters who will obey female chefs’ orders
From dealing with harassment to frank advice about STIs, these female app developers are providing vital, candid knowledge
Accurate information about sex and healthy relationships leads to greater gender equality worldwide, a report by the UN’s world heritage body Unesco found. It also leads to better sexual health, as well as less sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unintended pregnancies.
Exploring consent issues through interactive drama and comedy can effect lasting change, whether tackling violence against sex workers in Africa, sex education in South America or abuse in UK schools
A man in police uniform walks into a bar and corners a sex worker. He offers her a choice between giving up her body or her money – but she has no money. He pulls her away into a back room.
This scene happens twice in Lilongwe, Malawi. The first time is at night, with no sober witnesses. Months later, it is replicated in a play performed by sex workers to an audience of police officers. The action is paused and an officer leaps on stage to take the place of the victim. The scene plays out again and he suggests a different ending.
After a magic show, health talk and sketches, a presenter clarifies uncertainties and promotes safe, consensual sex
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