Sex Ed Preaches Sexual Licence, Not Sexual Health – Report

R18 reportMedia Release 17 June 2013
A review of sex education resources recommended to adolescents in NZ has found that they are seriously flawed with both sins of commission and sins of omission, and that critical life and death information is distorted or ignored.

The Report “R18: Sexuality Education in New Zealand – A Critical Review” by US psychiatrist Dr Miriam Grossman demands that groups such as Family Planning Association and Rainbow Youth be held accountable, and that students be provided with the information and guidance they need.

The report has been sent to all school principals and all Board of Trustee Chairpersons of Intermediate and Secondary schools in NZ.

Dr Grossman says that the resources fail to tell the full facts and compromise the concerns and wishes of parents, and the safety of young people.

“A premise of modern sex education is that young people have the right to make their own decisions about sexual activity, and no judging is allowed. Risky behaviours are normalised and even celebrated. Children and adolescents are introduced to sexual activities their parents would prefer they not even know about, let alone practice. It’s reasonable to ask: is the ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ foisted on young people all over the world about sexual health, or sexual licence?” says Dr Grossman.

The report provides an analysis of the sex education resources recommended to adolescents in New Zealand: curious.org.nz, getiton.org.nz, theword.org.nz, sexnrespect.co.nz, iwannaknow.org, attitude.org.nz and other Family Planning resources.

“While most of these resources claim to promote sexual health, we find, overall, little encouragement of restraint or self-discipline. Instead, students are informed that at any age, sexual freedom is a ‘right’,” warns Dr Grossman.

“The information is not accurate, comprehensive, or up-to-date. Sex is seen as risky only when it’s ‘unprotected’. The efficacy of condoms is overstated, in some cases vastly so. The quantitative data about their use is absent. The vulnerability of the immature cervix and the hazards of anal intercourse are omitted. Chlamydia is incorrectly described as ‘easily cured’. Young people are led to believe that sex is easily divorced from emotional attachment. Worst of all, critical life and death information is distorted or ignored.”

“Students are left misinformed, and with a false sense of security. Surely this is the last thing parents want.”

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ which commissioned the report, says: “The current approach in NZ sows confusion about right and wrong and says the moral absolute is – use condoms. The government should only fund evidence-based education resources which are approved by parents, rather than pushing an agenda which is harmful and misleading to youth and inconsistent with the wishes of parents.”

“For those youth who are sexually active, they are not being told the truth. Groups like the Family Planning Association and Rainbow Youth are perpetuating the myth that as long as you use a condom, you can pretty well do what you like in terms of promiscuity, experimentation, and fringe behaviours – with little or no information on the physical or emotional ramifications or prevention of disease.”

“Significantly, when we encouraged parents to visit the curious.org.nz website in the middle of last year, the site disappeared and resurfaced in December with much of the offending information removed.”

A nationwide poll in January 2012 of 600 young people aged 15-21 found that only 19% supported just the ‘safe sex’ message currently being taught in schools, with one in three (34%) wanting ‘values, abstinence, and consequences such as pregnancy’ taught instead, and a further 42% asking for a combination of both – especially amongst older teens. A poll of parents in 2010 found that three out of four parents of young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education – with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the ‘wait’ message.

In one example of a disturbing number of examples reported in the media, a mixed class of boys and girls were asked by the AIDS Foundation if they had masturbated lately and were given condoms and strawberry-flavoured lubricant. They were also given a leaflet featuring graphic pictures, terms including “co*k” and “wa*k”, and advice on the best condoms.

Reports in 2011 revealed that children as young as 12 are being taught about oral sex and told it’s acceptable to play with a girl’s private parts as long as “she’s okay with it”. In other cases, 14-year-old girls are being taught how to put condoms on plastic penises, and one female teacher imitated the noises she made during orgasm to her class of 15-year-olds.

One concerned father took his 12-year-old son out of a sex education class at his all-boy school after he came home upset about what had happened during one of the lessons. It included a question-and-answer session that focused on, “I have learned that my girlfriend has a thing called a clitoris. I really want to play with it. Is that okay?” The answer was: “Yes, if you ask her and she’s okay with it.”

“A government-funded organisation should be willing and able to defend their ideology and services which the taxpayer funds. It is time the government held them accountable,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

Miriam Grossman MD is known internationally for her courage in breaking ranks and calling foul on the sexuality education industry. She has lectured at the British House of Lords and the United Nations. Dr Grossman is board certified in psychiatry and in the sub-specialty of child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr Grossman visited New Zealand last year. 

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