Can Sex Ed Prevent Rape?

Guest post from Joan Conde.

As a mother of two teenaged girls, I believe that the best way to discourage them from making me a grandmother is to get involved in their sex education. Just the picture of their mother pulling a condom over a banana has been enough to take the glow off the romance of steamy, unprotected exchanges in cars. But contraception education isn't enough. We've had plenty of dialogues about "respecting yourself." A girl does have to learn to say "no."

But could sex ed reduce rapes? An persuasive case for this is made by Courtney Martin, whose excellent post, "Willful Ignorance" appears in today's American Prospect. Noting that most rapes occur to women under 30, Martin views college campuses as a primary venue for rape. Due to the Administrations' preference for abstinence only sex ed, Martin suggests that colleges are full of students with little or no sex education. She suggests incorporating knowledge about communication and power issues via role playing, into sex ed.

Martin should know that this is already being done, if on the sly. I met an eighth grade teacher last week who admitted that she and other faculty were teaching their students to say "no" and to respect their bodies, "under the wire" of the principal, who prefers the abstinence only program officially offered by the school. The teachers initiated this, she said, after having three pregnant eighth graders last year.

Sign this petition for accurate sex ed in your schools.

Read the Guttmacher Institute report on teen pregnancy to find out why Europeans do it better.
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