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Include the topics of rape, sexual abuse, and the LGBTQ community in our health class curriculum in Alberta.

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Did you know that 1 in every 4 women in North America will be sexually abused at some point in her life? 1 out of every four women that you see walking down the streets of our province have been sexually assaulted. Only 1-4% of all sexual abusers, whether male or female, are reported. Why does this happen? Because people are uneducated. Our school health curriculum does include the topic of sexual abuse, but students only discuss the types and consequences for the victim. And, the topic of consent isn't actually talked about. Also, homosexuality or anything at all about the LGBTQ community or transgenders is even mentioned.

We know that children intake information that will change their person more easily at a younger age, and that the older a child gets, the harder it will be for them to change their views. If boys and girls began to be taught about rape, (how to report it, not to do it,  rape it is never their fault, abortion safety, etc.) at a young age, our streets would start to become a more safe place. Not only would these topics being taught at school help the general public, but also students in schools. As a student in the public school systemI see boys slapping girls butts in the school hallways, cat calling them in their cars after school and being rude and sexist to them everyday. How is it that girls are not allowed to wear tank tops with spaghetti straps so that boys are not "distracted," but boys are allowed to literally sexually abuse girls right in the middle of the hallway without any consequences ? Besides this, boys get sexually abused and raped all the time, but since all of the attention is always focused on women, they never get the justice that they deserve. Any type of event like this whether at home, school, or the streets could affect a girl of boy for the rest of their lives.

Further, any kind of sexuality besides straight isn't talked about at all. Not only is sexism is a problem in our hallways, but so is homosexual/transexual- hating. The only methods of sexual protection that are talked about in the current curriculum are only shown for use with straight couples, and it isn't explained to students that not being straight isn't "different," but rather that it is normal and we have to accept it. Also, the idea of conforming to gender roles does not exist in our curriculum when referring it to transexuals. This teaches students to alienate their peers because of how they were born, which is not at all humane. Teaching about these topics early on in schools will lower the amount of homophobes and/or bullies we have in schools that harass students whether it's online or in person.

 Everyone's lives and happiness matters, and not only being taught about these tough topics but setting up school rules applying them and also talking about sexuality will break the ice, and break the silence with a lot of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety that may have resulted from an event of sexual trauma and bullying. It seems to me that in our current health classes we are taught to "not get raped" instead of "not to rape," and that some people are "different" and may like a different gender instead of that "it's normal to like different genders." This causes a lot of silent feelings and events in young people's lives. 

Our cities streets and our school is a place where we should be able to learn and grow in a healthy way in which we feel like we have the utmost support from our city and teachers. By teaching children about topics such as rape, sexual abuse, gender equality/feminism, the myth of gender norms and about homosexuality, our youth will start building up a better, more educated generation of people and rape and sexual abuse statistics will go down, and increase the safety of our city. Changing health curriculums is the next big step in creating gender equality in todays society, and it is necessary.

You can view the current Alberta health curriculum here: https://education.alberta.ca/media/313382/health.pdf



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