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slight change of direction

Through my own readings and talking to people I have changed  by focus point from periods and the importance of sexual health to consent and what constitutes as consensual sexual interactions. This is not as explicitly talked about and many of the people in my life have experience non-consensual sex. I will now be specifically looking into the history of sex and looking into this on a wider cultural perspective as well as looking into what schools and the internet teach our youth.

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sexual education nz

Key info from https://parents.education.govt.nz

Changes in health and sexuality:

  • a majority of young people between the ages of 13 and 17 in New Zealand has never had sex (75.6 per cent).
  • most young people now look for information online, and this includes information about health and about sexuality.
  • the abortion rate for young women aged 15–19 years has decreased from 27 per 1,000 in 2007 to 16 per 1000 in 2012.
  • the percentage of sexually active students who always use contraception (to prevent pregnancy) has remained unchanged at about 60 per cent since 2001.
  • New Zealand has a pretty high level of teenage pregnancy among OECD countries (10 per cent of all live births are to women under 20 years of age).
  • pornography is more accessible.
  • social media, Internet sites with sexual content and sexual bullying via instant messaging and apps are new issues. For example, some young people receive unwanted sexual material (e.g. pornographic images, videos or words) on their mobile phone and/or on the Internet.

 

Consent and sexuality education

16 March 2017

We’ve heard a lot of discussion in recent days about consent – what consenting to sexual intimacy really means, what young people are learning about consent at school, and what they need to learn.

Along the way young men and women have led much of this discussion, in public spheres and on social media. Understandably it has been with great feeling. Young women are saying they don’t want to be on the receiving end of sexual thuggishness, and many young men are speaking out, saying they want to make it clear to their peers that this isn’t okay.

So what is the education system’s responsibility in all of this? Are schools teaching about consent? What are they required to teach? What should parents be doing?

Teaching children and young people respect for others is a responsibility for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents. We pass on values through our words and  our actions.

The New Zealand Curriculum recognises that schools have a special responsibility to work with children and young people on the skills they need to navigate the often difficult waters of interpersonal relations and sexual identity. That goes well beyond the mechanics of sex.

Sexuality education is a compulsory part of our health and physical education curriculum, which schools must deliver in Years 1 to 10. We expect schools to follow the guidance we issued in 2015, which spells out in detail what should be covered by sexuality education. For secondary schools, that detail sets out a clear pathway through topics that include consent, coercion and sexual violence.

This is tricky terrain, and one in which schools need to work in partnership with parents. Our guidance puts sexual identity and sexuality firmly in the context of relationships with others. It covers the skills of self-knowledge, assertiveness and caring that are central to healthy relationships. These are also skills they are learning at home, both in what they are told, and what they observe around them. Students also learn about personal boundaries in sexuality education.  From the beginning, we expect schools to teach children to identify safe and unsafe touching and the importance of respect.  By Years Six to Seven, students are identifying pressures from others and developing assertiveness strategies.

Any teaching programme must also tackle the fact that to understand consent, first you need to grasp empathy and respect for others’ feelings. So at the heart of sexuality education, again from a young age, is material on affirming the feelings and beliefs of others. Threaded through the New Zealand Curriculum as a whole is respect and caring for others.

Our guidance to schools tackles these difficult issues.

Schools told us they needed guidance of this kind, and the feedback we are getting is that they are tackling these issues in their health curriculum. That’s not to say that teaching consent in itself will prevent every single instance of unacceptable behaviour. . The recent discussion about consent was initiated by online comments by a student  at a boy’s school who discussed taking advantage of girls whilst drunk. That school had been teaching its students about consent. But while teaching consent in schools isn’t a silver bullet, it is an essential part of addressing unacceptable behaviour.

Should we go a step further and make teaching of consent compulsory? In our view, schools and parent communities need to jointly address young people’s health and wellbeing if that is to be more than just compliance with a regulation. We can provide the guidance, schools and parents make it real.

We encourage all schools to look at what they are doing on sexuality education with their parent communities.  Equally this is a very good time to discuss consent at home, uncomfortable though it might be.

And if you’re not sure what your school is teaching on consent, and how closely it is following sexuality education guidance at each year level, then it’s a good time to talk to them too and ask for more information.

Schools are required to consult with their school communities every two years, or more often, about how they teach sexuality education. It is one of the reasons there is variation from school to school in teaching on this.

 

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holiday readings

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Current books that I have borrowed from the Massey library. I am currently just researching and taking notes for my thesis at this stage I do not know specifically what I will focus on within this topic, however I am interested at looking at a ‘boys’ perspective on this topic, As they (on a whole) have little knowledge on menstuation as it is something that “does not effect them”.

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where I am currently at

Currently I feel as though I am at a crossroad when it comes to my project because I am to indecisive to stick to one definitive theme for my major project. At this stage the options I am eager and interested to explore include

*Breaking down masculinity and teaching ‘boys’ and ‘men’ about the importance of feminism as well as education around periods, contraception and abortions

*Exploring specific Human behaviours such as impulsiveness and supression

*loss of ones self due to over-engagement in technology

Example of design that educates children about periods-“The Period Game” by Daniela Gilsanz, Ryan Murphy (United States) Red dot 2016 winner.

“There is no standardised method to learning about one’s period, and as a result, many young women are unprepared and uncomfortable when the time comes. The Period Game provides a new option. The act of playing creates an open and engaging environment where players can learn and say words like “period” and “tampon” without the usual discomfort and taboos found in society. It teaches participants about what is happening in the female body, and how to “go with the flow.” The game uses abstracted representations of the female reproductive system, PMS symptoms, and various forms of sanitary protection to introduce players to these matters.”

Sourced from http://www.red-dot.sg/en/the-period-game/

I think this game is important as it does help break down the uncomfortableness that surrounds periods, Humour is a good way of exploring this topic however overall the game is designed more for a female audience base. I do think its incredibly important for those who periods don’t effect to have a good understanding of what goes on as it does impact the survival of both parties on this earth.

 

 

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