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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » more education = less coercion, more safer sex

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Author Topic: more education = less coercion, more safer sex
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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From the FMF daily newswire:

quote:
More Education Leads to Safer Sex and Less HIV for Girls in Africa

A recent report by Population Action International finds that girls who are better educated begin having sex later, are more likely to use condoms, and have a decreased chance of contracting HIV. The report, "Girl Power: The Impact of Girls' Education on HIV and Sexual Behavior," finds that girls who have completed secondary school have less risky behavior than those who have only completed primary school. The report also finds that better educated boys are more likely to have safer sex and protect themselves against HIV than less educated boys.

The authors of the report stress the special need of girls to be educated, as "Young women receiving higher levels of education are likely to wait longer before having sex for the first time, and are less likely to be coerced into sex." Women are hurt by the structure of the education systems in most African countries, which charge fees for schooling that increase with grade level, leaving many girls without the opportunity to finish primary school, let alone secondary school.

The report recommends that schools stop charging students for primary school to increase education rates for both girls and boys. It also recommends that comprehensive sexual education be taught in primary school, with condom use heavily promoted.

This is, obviously, a giant hooray. Reducing the rates of HIV in girls in Africa is HUGE, and it's also, obviously, a big duh that safer sex is going to help.

(Now, if someone could just get our President in the states to stop applying his moral code to other countires and killing them with it rather than helping them, we'd be able to really make some real progress.)

It's also a big duh that better educated women are going to fall prey to coercion less.... or is it?

Here's why I ask this here, and I recognize that I am being somewhat provocotive, and that this can be a very tricky matter.

How many times, here at Scarleteen, do we see younger people -- less educated, less wordly -- having the proverbial wool pulled over their eyes by those older than they? How many times, here at Scarleteen, do we hear/read older teens talking about how much savvier they have gotten than they were just a few years before?

And yet, how often do we have to, in the interest of politeness, sort of pretend that "age doesn't matter," that the education and street smarts we glean more of as the years pass (most of us anyway) is NOT of great value, and is NOT pretty darn important when it comes to being able to make sound sexual choices?

Another think this gives me? Isn't it interesting, WITH all of this being a big duh, that the abstinence-only lobby in the states, who are apparently SO invested in delaying sex, do so with a profound lack OF education, with "just say no," rather than by say, taking results like this and saying, "Hey: what if we started focusing on just better schooling PERIOD, on getting more young men and women more educated, helping them be smarter PERIOD?" Seems like a win-win to me, after all: it'd be pretty likely to fend off some bad sexual choices AND really benefit the lives of everyone, because sound education sure never HURT anybody. Did it? Unless, that is, you just want an OBEDIENT populace, rather than a smart one.

Thoughts?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Caitlain
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There's a touch of irony in the fact that you lament the witholding of information.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(Caitlin, if this is about our volunteers feeling an outlink to your site, as requested in your other post, wasn't a great match for our site, that is not an issue of us withholding information, but about the policies we have per our age group which we serve, the legalities we have to live under, whether we like'em or not, and be accountable to -- especially given how visible we are, and how much risk in that regard we can financially and practically manage and still do the job we've done here for eight years, which we've been able to do so widely and so long in large part because of the way we've structured some of our policies.

If that's a snark towards me personally, you clearly can't have any idea how utterly out of line that is, given the lengthy history of my activist work in this regard, including totally pro-bono work with the ACLU which has taken tons of my time expressly to protect the rights of minors and adults TO information, and the fact that I provide information via this site and others to around 50,000 readers daily at this point.

And in the future, if this stuff is what this is about, please handle issues like this more professionally, and more in line with the credibility it seems you're seeking, via email to myself or a moderator, rather than obtusely hijacking threads with it. Thanks.)

[ 09-06-2006, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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not_a_hobgoblin
Activist
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Of course they don't want to educate us. That's what No Child Left Behind was for, right?

I am one hundred percent with you, Miz Scarlet. If they'd actually taught us something in the endless litany of repetitive, condescendingly childish sex ed I've recieved, maybe I wouldn't have felt so awkward and naieve and powerless in my first physical relationship. Maybe my "good" friends wouldn't be so uptight and prejudiced about some sexual practices. Maybe my rebellious friends wouldn't get themselves so screwed up in the head about love and sex and marriage. Maybe ot wouldn't seem like such a miracle that our Econ class happened to have a semi-mature discussion about Viagra today.

Yes I am infinitely savvier now than I was six months ago. Yes I believe that the education I've found here will help me protect my body, my head, and my heart better. I am not your sheep, George, so stop trying to pull wool over my eyes.

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"Cut her down."
"She is a witch!"
"But she's our witch. Cut her down."

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CrimsonCriminal
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I have lived for 13 years in Russia and for 5 years in Australia and I received very little sex ed apart from what I learnt myself. My mother shyly handed me a book on sex ed for children translated from French when I was 7, and when I finished it I dug up a wonderful encyclopedia of sexuality from our huge private library and read it. Despite this, my knowlege was limited and inadequate as the first book was very brief and the encyclopedia assumed knowlege of many things.

In Australia, even being in an advanced science class, I did a short unit on "reproductive technologies" rather than sex ed when I was 15, and contraceptives were discussed very briefly in one lesson, after going over some statistics in the textbook about how a relatively low proportion of acts of sexual intercourse lead to pregnancy, and how most pregnancies end on their own accord. I had no idea about male anatomy, my own anatomy, and many methods of contraception when I started the unit and when I finished it I was not much better off. (here are some statistics on teenage pregnancies in Australia: http://www.womhealth.org.au/studentfactsheets/teenagepregnancy.htm)

When I became sexually active, I realised how much was involved in keeping my sexual health in check, not just physical but mental also. I spent a huge ammount of time collecting information, and thankfully stumbled upon ST, and later on in my life I found out that there were many Family Planning and Sexual Health services in the area, they were just always neatly tucked away from prying eyes and underfunded. The nurses at my local Family Planning clinic explained to me that there are many limitations put on sex ed (teachers can't use some scientific words, words for anatomical parts even!) and that teachers are banned from telling children what constitutes pedophilia, what rape is and what sexual behaviour towards them is innapropriate.

It's about time people realised that ignorance is not innocence.

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Argumentum Ad Misericordiam

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Caitlain
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
And in the future, if this stuff is what this is about, please handle issues like this ... via email to myself or a moderator,...

I'd *love* to. However, PMs are turned off such that it is impossible to contact anyone (unless I'm missing something somewhere).
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LilBlueSmurf
Scarleteen Volunteer
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You can email Miz Scarlet at hcorinna ATmac.com

PMs are turned off for the protection of our users.

(Corrected, because this week, the Scarleteen mail got so overloaded, it plotzed my server box, and is still inaccessible.)

[ 09-07-2006, 10:31 AM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

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TAB
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Because the "Just Say No" mantra worked so well for the drug thing. *rolls eyes* Crazy administration
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Understand too, we're not just talking about sex education here, but about education, full-stop, and public education is another area here in the states that has seriously suffered under this administration.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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gershwingirl
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I'm pleased to read this. It's very important that governments realise that education, and not merely sex education, is vital to the battle against HIV/AIDs.

It's sad but has to be acknowledged that in a great many African countries (and many others too), girls and women are simply not in a position to be able to negotiate condom use with male partners. Whether with husbands, boyfriends or selling sex for survival, societal gender inequalities do not generally award them autonomy over their own bodies and behaviours.

Therefore the most effective long-term way to improve sexual health is to educate girls properly, give them greater access to information, training and employment opportunities, so that the gender inbalances of power can gradually shift.

I fear this applies equally to structurally disadvantaged women of all countries, to some extent.

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Djuna
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On the subject of African women not being able to insist on contraception, I remember on a Bob Geldof documentary seeing a woman who was so poor she had to prostitute herself, saying '£3 if you use a condom. £4.50 if not'.
As well, I remember watching a clip of Pope John Paul II (the one before the current one, for those who might don't know) visiting an AIDS-ridden Africa and reminding everyone to resist the temptation to use condoms. The Catholic Church is evil sometimes (the administration, not the actual religion of course). The governing body of the Church, the Vatican, seems determined to reverse any good sex ed work good people like all of you here work so hard to acheive.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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This isn't really about SEX education, though, Jospeh, so much as it is about general education.

In other words, even via that Geldof documentary, if that particular woman had been allowed to/encouraged to become educated, the chances that she would CHOOSE to prostitute herself for three pounds, or be put in that position at all, are miniscule.

As well, when people are educated, they are less likely to simply fall in line, more likely to questions things like the leader of the Catholic Church giving a directive which they can figure out more easily will endanger their health.

What gershwingirl said about is a really good way of illustrating the real issues at hand here. Being more educated not only allows us far greater critical thinking skills, but it also gives us more autonomy (as individuals and as a class) to back up the informed choices we're able to make; to have those wishes honored and respected.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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