Sex-ed not a loaded gun

Friday, November 16, 2018

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Dear Editor,

“Having sex with a virgin cures HIV,” is just one of the many dangerous myths that exist around sex. Sadly, not everyone is able to distinguish these myths from facts, along with other misconceptions around sex and sexuality.

While the problem of risky sexual behaviours is multifaceted, some children do lack proper sex education and, therefore, if engaging in sexual relationships, do not always adequately protect themselves.

Some parents have never discussed sex with their child/children. Where then do you expect them to find information about this stigmatised topic? I believe, that sex and sexuality education should be taught in high schools because it can dismiss myths, educate students, and reduce risky sexual behaviours and practices.

The only way to dismiss a myth is to prove it false. Therefore, by discussing these myths parents, caregivers and teachers can raise awareness. For example, it was a popular misconception amongst teenage girls that drinking a certain soda along with an aspirin would kill a developing foetus. You can imagine how devastating this might have been for those who actually believed.

Sex education should never be designed solely by teachers, but also practitioners from the medical field, parents, counsellors, and students as to have valid, age-appropriate, and accepted information. Even though there will be conflicting views regarding sensitive issues like abortion and sexuality, the sole purpose of sex education should be about educating rather than persuading students.

“Sex Ed will encourages students to engage in sexual activities” is one of the biggest arguments from those who disapprove of imparting the knowledge to youngsters. However, numerous studies have supported what professors Melvin Zelnik and Young J Kim of Johns Hopkins University found, “Young women who have had sex education appear less likely than those who have not to become pregnant.''

A congruent statement with the Guttmacher Institute findings states that: “Teens who received sex-ed instruction in school waited longer to have sex than those who hadn't learned about abstinence and contraception.” Additionally, some believe that parents should be the only one teaching their children about sex. However, not every child lives in an ideal home where they can freely express their views or raise the questions for parents who might not even be accurately knowledgeable in that field. We can make these parents more informed by also re-teaching them sex education. Our aim, as a society, is to raise our children to be autonomous and critical thinkers and actors.

“Teaching children about sex-ed is like giving a loaded gun to a child and saying, 'don't play with this!' ” I would like to reconstruct this analogy and say that the “gun” is never the real danger, but rather the “bullets in a loaded gun”. Which therefore is more dangerous? Curious children finding and playing around with loaded guns, or teaching them about the dangers associated and responsibility that comes with dealing with guns?

Kenloy Smith

kenloysmith@gmail.com

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