Sex Ed Matters Because...

Bristol alumna and co-founder of Sex Ed Matters Gussie Ivory-Peters tells Her Campus why sex education must remain a political priority...

The current sex education provision in UK schools is dire.

Guidelines haven’t been updated for 20 years and the age-old putting-a-condom-on-a-banana-routine remains as a familiar heteronormative trope.

More worryingly still, common taboos that plague young people’s lives today, including stigmatised issues such as consent, sexting, FGM and LGBTQ+ rights, are absent from the curriculum. On a recent school visit, a pupil told Sex Ed Matters that sexual harassment was a ‘normal’ part of school life while another felt unable to talk about LGBT issues in fear that everyone would think they were ‘disgusting’.

And these narratives aren’t just anecdotal. Research carried out by a number of organisations reveals shocking statistics.

The Sex Education Forum reported that 33% of young people never learn about consent in school, The Guardian highlights that 1/3 of schoolgirls are routinely harassed for nudes by their peers and Stonewall found that 89% of trans young people have thought about committing suicide. This is not okay.

Thankfully, in 2017, the Government announced that it would finally be making Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all schools across England. From September 2020, a new curriculum will launch tackling these big topics.

While this is a welcome step forward, there is still more work to do to ensure sex education remains a political priority. And this is where Sex Ed Matters comes in…

I have teamed up with two fantastic women – Laura Coryton and Siân Green – to launch a female-led project based in UK schools. Sex Ed Matters will deliver empowering RSE workshops to young people, arming them with the knowledge and confidence to speak up and tackle sex and relationship taboos. We will teach students how to turn taboos into activism and how to reclaim topics including periods and body positivity. 

In order to get this project off the ground, we are raising £4,000 via Crowdfunder. In addition to the £2,000 pledged by Natwest’s ‘Back Her Business’ scheme, the support we have received so far from the general public has been overwhelming and we have almost reached our goal!

We have less than 10 days to raise the small amount needed to make Sex Ed Maters a reality. If you think #SexEdMatters, and agree that all children should have access to comprehensive, age-appropriate RSE, then please show your support by donating to our Crowdfunder page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sex-ed-matters-1 (if you weren’t incentivised enough already, we are giving away tote bags and stickers!).

A final note. If my time at Bristol University taught me one thing, it’s the importance of speaking up for what you believe in. Despite the huge gains made by international movements including #MeToo and Time’s Up, sexism remains deeply embedded in our culture. As the women – and men – of today, it is our responsibility to ensure that our voices continue to be heard as we try our best to better the world for future generations.

Changing the world starts here. Join the conversation by sharing your #SexEdMattersBecause selfie today!

 

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