Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls

One thing I have learnt through working in this field for so long is that every act of VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence), however small or seemingly inconsequential is linked. No act is an isolated incident, and in fact they often directly link with each other or are inter-related. Like links in a chain. Building one upon the other until you have a full chain of entrapment around you.

The level of harassment and abuse which girls face on a daily basis, in school and outside of it is staggering. I need to make it clear here that adults, whether parents, caretakers or teachers, really do not understand the scale of the problem. If you think you do. Double it. Treble it. Girls experience abuse, violence and harassment in ways unheard of in the previous generation. Social media and technology mean they are vulnerable and accessible to abusers 24 hrs a day. Continue reading “Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls”

The RSE curriculum must address particular harms to girls

Magazines popular among teenage girls, such as Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue, normalise practices such as anal sex, the idea of prostitution as ‘real work’, kink, BDSM and the harmful practice of breast binding. The easy accessibility of porn has turned extreme and abusive sexual practices into everyday viewing. The influence of pornography on boys and the coercion of girls to perform sex acts which are degrading, humiliating, or cause them pain and injury needs to be urgently addressed. 

A survey funded by the European Commission in 2015 found that more than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts. Continue reading “The RSE curriculum must address particular harms to girls”

Wales’ RSE Code ignores the risk of pornography

Wales’ proposed RSE plan has many flaws (which have been revealed on this site by Martha Gwion and Merched Cymru). For me, however, the passage that stood the most was one of the most seemingly innocuous:

While understanding risks and harm are an important aspect of RSE, using these as the focus for teaching about RSE issues, or focusing mainly on the negative aspects of RSE is likely to be ineffective or harmful.

This is yet another example of the sloppy writing that undermines the document in its entirety.

Continue reading “Wales’ RSE Code ignores the risk of pornography”

A rough week for women

It’s been a rough week for women. But then, it so often is. A swift swipe through social media before your coffee is enough to put you off getting out of bed at all.

This morning, for instance, my eyes lit up at the news that MasterCard are standing up for women and girls by insisting that each and every video on OnlyFans needed clear, unambiguous consent from the portrayed body as wll as confirmation of age before they would allow their cards to be used to pay for any porn. As OnlyFans cannot provide these verifications, they will be throwing their porn-baby out with the bathwater, and from October will only allow still images. Then my heart sank when I dived deeper into the rabbit hole and saw grown women, ‘sex workers’. condemning the move which is aimed at making a stand against child sex abuse and trafficking – because it will deplete their income stream. Continue reading “A rough week for women”

Schools need to focus on safeguarding in RSE

Sex Matters and Transgender Trend have published new guidance for schools on how to support children with gender dysphoria and their peers, in line with the Equality Act 2010.

The guidance recognises that pupils who are experiencing gender issues, or who identify as transgender, should not be treated less favourably than their peers, but that schools should remember that such children have not actually changed sex.

It should be made clear to all in the school community that everyone is welcome and included – but it is not “transphobic” to recognise that everyone has a sex. This is crucial for equality, safeguarding and sex and relationships education.

Continue reading “Schools need to focus on safeguarding in RSE”