We are constantly looking for intuitive ways to attack sexual violence at the root of the problem. Our search keeps bringing us back to sex education. Candid, comprehensive, and inclusive sex education reduces sexual assault by building confidence. Individuals understand that consent is so much more than saying “yes,” that healthy sex is tied to emotional maturity, and discover that sex is a huge responsibility.
Despite all the benefits of comprehensive sex education, many public schools in Virginia and across the country are limited in the level of sex ed they can provide. This lack of comprehensive sex education has serious implications. Besides the fact that abstinence only education correlates directly with higher abortion and teen pregnancy rates as well as greater numbers of STIs, absence of comprehensive sex ed fails to address societal pressures and norms that often lead to sexual assault. As a result, many people go through life not realizing that saying “maybe” is not consent, or never knowing that communication is part of a healthy sexual relationship. People missing these seemingly obvious foundations will have difficulty respecting other’s boundaries or understanding that their boundaries should be respected.
People often ask us what they can do to protect their kids from sexual assault. Our answer is talk to them about it, about sex, about EVERYTHING! Our absolute favorite resource for this topic the Scarleteen website that provides comprehensive, inclusive sex ed for free.