Improve quality of teaching of sexual violence, harassment and consent in schools.

Improve quality of teaching of sexual violence, harassment and consent in schools.

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Nimue Miles started this petition to Department for Education and

Victims don't need protecting, offenders need educating.

There needs to be a bigger focus on teaching consent, sexual violence and harassment to children in schools.

I am currently 18 years old, myself and most other females I know have been either catcalled, harassed, raped or threatened, both on the street and in ‘safe’ spaces. 

The recent media attention and statistics that have come out seem to surprise people, when these facts to most women are not surprising. This caused me to think about what could change to help stop this behaviour.

I have attended school in the last 5 years. I feel there is a lack of teacher training on how to educate children, particularly young men/boys about consent and awareness of sexual violence. 

There needs to be more awareness about rape culture. In my own experience, teaching 'Yes means yes', 'No means No' and teaching girls about how to protect themselves, is not sufficient. That does not cover all the dynamics involved in authentic, affirmative, and enthusiastic consent.

Sexual violence and consent are a lot more complex and I feel personally that some teachers don't teach this well enough. Most lessons include the indication that victims need to take steps to protect themselves from assault and say nothing to or about potential perpetrators. 

  • Sufficient teaching training is needed for these topics. 
  • Rape culture and internalised misogyny should be part of the curriculum, and the teachers should be taught about this in today's terms and context, with social media etc. 
  • More stories about women or individuals who experience this violence should be told to older pupils, with a particular focus upon educating teenage boys. 
  • Sex education classes are often divided at primary school into boys and the girls separately, this needs to be changed to all genders being educated together. 
  • Make lessons in rape, harassment and consent compulsory, thorough, and regulated.
  • There should be frequent lessons about these issues rather than perhaps once a year in PSHE classes. Over my time at secondary school, I can count maybe 2 lessons I had on sex education, and maybe one fleeting mention of 'no means no'. I have spoken to siblings and family who are still at school and they appear to have had no education about it. 
  • Consent should be taught in sixth form too, I know in my own experience there was no mandatory education on it. 
  • Speakers from charities or organisations should be compulsory in schools to educate children on rape not just sexual health.
  • Parents should be encouraged by schools to talk to their children about these issues, and given resources to do this. 

It is proven that sexually violent men have been shown to be more likely to consider victims responsible for the rape, and are less knowledgeable about the impact of rape on victims. If this knowledge is better developed during childhood and adolescence then perhaps it will help the situation. Societal norms around the use of violence as a means to achieve objectives have been strongly associated with the prevalence of rape. Again, educating young people in why you shouldn't do that could help.

There are other ways to change this culture, such as education from a guardian or more awareness online, but one major way to change rape culture and reduce sex crimes is to educate from childhood, and particularly during teen years as that is when these harmful behaviours often start to develop. These issues are extremely important and have a huge effect on the lives of many people, therefore something needs to be done to change things and I see amendments to education as an extremely realistic means of making a difference.

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