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April 28th, 2009


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12:06 pm - Abstinence education
You can well imagine that I am not a massive fan of 'abstinence education'. However, I had no idea how bad it was until I read a recent comment thread on slacktivist. A regular commenter called 'hapax' was complaining about the abstinence education textbook at her daughter's school.

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Jake: "I just cannot bring myself to believe that it is possible that a textbook would contain that phrase, or anything close enough to it to be called "direct quote"."

Hapax: I had trouble believing it myself until my daughter brought the book home. Here you go:
From CHOOSING THE BEST LIFE: An Abstinence-Focused Curriculum, by Bruce Cook. Student Manual, 4th ed.

p. 13. Lesson Two: What Do You Know About 'Date Rape'?

Question 5. True or False: The victim shares in the blame of the rape.

(answer: True).
That's all the context that's in the book, but my daughter informs me (and later pages in the workbook back her up) that the accompanying video made it very clear that any female who is slutty enough to be alone with a male is pretty much asking for it, since males ... are incapable of controlling their base animal desires.

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That seems like a reliable reference to me. Anyway, I think this shows that so-called 'Abstinence' education is not about abstinence at all. Teaching 14 year old boys that if they rape someone it is (partly) someone else's fault is the opposite of abstinence. Telling boys that they can't be expected to control themselves is the opposite of teaching them mature adult sexual behaviour.

(27 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:April 28th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
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Linkblogged for tomorrow.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
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I'll be interested to see if it gets any comments
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From:iainjcoleman
Date:April 28th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
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Also, this:



Sex education is to be made compulsory in all state schools in England but faith schools will also be free to preach against sex outside marriage and homosexuality, under government proposals.


[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
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Yes. Reading about that this morning was what prompted me to blog on this today.
[User Picture]
From:hawkeye7
Date:April 28th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
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Wait. Sex Education is currently not taught in English schools?

And: "Parents will also get the legal right to withdraw children from classes" ?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 29th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
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Sex education is taught, but only a limited range of material is compulsory: 'previously schools had to teach only the fundamentals of reproduction, contraception and puberty in science lessons'. Now it has been extended to younger age, and a fuller spectrum of 'emotional and social' teaching has been added to the compulsory component. On the whole this is probably good, except for the exemption for religious schools to teach any kind of nonsense they think up.

However, I thought parents already had the right to withdraw kids from classes, so that bit I don't understand.
[User Picture]
From:buymeaclue
Date:April 28th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
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(answer: True).

NO NO NO NO NO.
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From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
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I am surprised such a book could be used in schools no matter how conservative the school board.
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From:espresso_addict
Date:April 28th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
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It must be possible to teach young people how to act so as to minimise the likelihood of date rape without blaming the victim. I once got into a stupid situation as a student when I ended up in the room of someone who was (I realised later) stalking me & a number of other women, basically because I had no idea how to say no to such persistent attention. I never did anything formal about it except complain to my college's porters because I felt so unutterably stupid, but someone else later complained to the police about him.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
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I think it is difficult, because if you (I mean any woman) gets into these situations then we are called (and call ourselves) 'stupid'. Yet, if we act to avoid these situations: saying 'No thanks, I'll stand out here in the corridor if you don't mind' - we are also called 'stupid'.
[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:April 28th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
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We are also told that we are being mean, to say the least, because it means we are treating all men as potential rapists.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:April 28th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps a campaign is in order.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Have you read the comment thread there? A certain amount of missing the point going on from the religious and the seculars both. For instance Richie sez: 'Men are, biologically, more visually stimulated than women are and women tend to dress immodestly, not with any wrong intention. Men don’t usually and so it is easier to protect men from lust, but it is not a problem for women so that is the reason.' Thanks Richie.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:April 28th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
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A splendid example of fractal wrongness.
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From:orchard_mnt
Date:April 28th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
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That's insane. Some of the biggest serial creeps come off as nice decent guys. My dad even set me up on a date with one of his young co-workers once who he thought was nice, and it turned in the an evening from HELL. And NO, it was my fault!

How can this book say it's the victims fault? What, is she supposed to be beaten up worse for fighting harder? To never have a date? To never be alone with a guy? What does this say to boys? That they can take advantage of a young girl who's experimenting with her sexuality, or was stupid enough to drink one too many?

Sex-ed, or rather health ed, needs to focus on HEALTH; like prevention of pregnancy and STD's, safe attitudes, openness about human sexuality, and the preciousness of virginity, chastity, and loving open trusting relationships between couples, and between children and parents. I'd rather my children trust me enough to be open about their early sexual encounters, let me help them avoid trouble, set up an appointment with a qualified OBGYN or take them to the pharmacy department for OTC birthcontrol. ANd most importantly, let me and my husband help them in evaluating their lovers full intentions and long term goals for the relationship.

Of course, both my kids are still tweener's and think the opposite sex is yucky. They think their friends who claim "boyfriends" are stupid. They both seem more aware than the average bear about how precious their childhood and naivity is and wish to hold on to it for a while longer. We'll see what happens in a few years.
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From:communicator
Date:April 28th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
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On reflection I think 'Never have a date' is the goal. Never have fun, because otherwise trouble will follow. I think this education is intended to frighten girls and stop them from being able to relax in company. Hideous stuff.
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From:orchard_mnt
Date:April 28th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
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sad...this thinking is why globally the "upper classes" have a population decline. We are destroying our children's natural desire to have a FULL life, as the same time, hypersexualizing them with commercial crap...
[User Picture]
From:hafren
Date:April 28th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
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I think we should find a photo of Bruce Cook, since it clearly isn't safe to be alone with him.

If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity (Kurt Vonnegut)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 29th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
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I do think Bruce Cook should be confronted with what he has written there, because I think it's harmful to the pupils.
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From:tehomet
Date:April 28th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
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I think I will sum up my reaction to that excerpt by hurling.
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From:ladyhawke2
Date:April 28th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't want to believe that people are still spouting that sort of dangerous rubbish, never mind trying to present it as fact. How can that be allowed in a text book? Serious question. I'm not familiar with who controls what is (or is not) allowed to be printed in a text book, but surely that must be unacceptable on so many levels?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 29th, 2009 08:24 am (UTC)
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This is in the US, and I think the choice of text books is controlled at local level by a 'School Board'. Hapax, the person I quoted, is I think campaigning with some friends to get elected to the board so they can change it. However, I would have thought something like the passage I quoted violated a law of some kind, just as a racist textbook would (I guess).

[User Picture]
From:meaningrequired
Date:April 29th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
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Here from a link.

I am shocked. Why are they being taught these things? Who thought it was a good idea?! GAH!
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From:johnpalmer
Date:April 29th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
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I gotta say, that's almost like, "no, you're lying! You *have* to be lying! I know people can be venal and stupid, but there are limits, and you've hit the limit of my gullibility while traveling and greater than c and burned out my gullibility for the next 200 years with the resultant Cherenkov radiation! There's no way that's true!"

I never thought the world would require tachyon realm gullibility for one's own protection.
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From:maiac
Date:April 29th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
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I have long suspected that "abstinence education" isn't about teaching abstinence, it's about teaching that women should be inferior and submissive.
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From:jaciem
Date:April 30th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
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That's exactly what it's about. It's an extreme reaction by the most devout members of the Patriarchy to the fact that women in America are beginning (over the last 30 years or so) to be treated like human beings and not chattel.

The people who write the abstinence-only curricula are the same guys who came up with the "Purity Ball", at which your father places a ring on the third finger of your left hand while you swear to him to remain Pure (ie, a virgin) until your wedding night.

These guys are creepy in looooooots of ways.
[User Picture]
From:maiac
Date:April 30th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
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I've heard about (and been appalled by) the Purity Balls before. But I just now, upon reading your comment, realized that the girls promise their fathers to remain virgins. Their mothers apparently aren't in the picture at all. Isn't that interesting.

Excuse, now I have to go throw up. Or throw something breakable.

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