Because Comprehensive Sex Ed Can Help Prevent Sex Crimes

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:21
Submitted by Carlin Ross

After being held captive for 10 years, Amanda Berry and two other young women are finally free. They were kidnapped by three brothers and held against their will, chained in the basement of an average suburban home in Ohio.

Just like Jaycee Duggard, Amanda gave birth to a daughter during her captivity. Amanda's mother died before knowing that her daughter was in fact alive.

This kind of craziness makes me question what's wrong with our culture. It feels like every time you turn around they find some young girl chained in a basement as a sex slave.  WTF?

Elizabeth Smart - another young woman snatched from her bus stop and held captive for years - made some powerful points during her speech at Johns Hopkins human trafficing forum:

She shared how she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”

Smart was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”

Today, Smart runs a foundation to help educate children about sexual crimes. She believes that children should grow up learning that “you will always have value and nothing can change that.”

It's so clear to me that comprehensive sex education can help prevent sexual crimes.

Teaching children about their bodies builds confidence and creates a dialogue about sexuality that can help children find the courage to share that they've been abused. A shame-based approach to genitalia and sexuality sends kids the message that they can’t discuss or ask questions about sex. Add the virginity myth and slut stigma and you have a generation of girls who believe their only value is their chastity.

Betty and I were talking about where to start our online sex ed curriculum - we decided to start with body image and genital shame. We have to break this cycle of gender violence.

Jackson Katz's TedxFiDiWomen talk Violence & Silence sheds some light on why we continue to blame the victim and condone violence against women:

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Would love to see the ideas

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 06:23
Charlotte S (not verified)

Would love to see the ideas you ladies have for sex-ed in schools,

I went to a non-religious all girls school, we were taught all about boys needs, and wet dreams and erections....and when it came to us, only learnt about pads, tampons and birth control. Not suprisingly none NONE of my friends know how to orgasm.