Intimate partner violence is terrifyingly common among young people, and in society as a whole, with an average of two women a week killed by a partner or former partner in England and Wales. Yet it is denied, and victims are blamed and suffer an average of 35 violent incidents before seeking help. We are facing a tide of denial, ignorance and acceptance of behaviour which is simply unacceptable... Let's help today's young people to be the first generation to say "enough's enough". We must have compulsory sex and relationships education in all schools, now.
Most don't. I'm not surprised as it seems a no brainer right? To tell kids age-appropriate information so they can prepare for certain life events in advance and handle them better. There's been a time for all of us looking back when we would think 'I wish I had known this or that before it happened'...
One of the reasons why there is difficulty in a public discussion and not an open forum about sexual assault is that those who have experienced it and are therefore credible to talk about don't because of the attitudes shown towards the victims. In fact only a small percentage actually report the crime for fear of not being believed. Why are there still these warped and very sad misconceptions of a crime so devastating? This societal view of victim blaming leads to further victim suffering, miscarriages of justice and a continuing risk to our loved ones. Why do we victim blame? Is it to protect our own vulnerability?
'You're so gay' used to be the worst thing to be called. Thankfully, a lot has changed since I was a kid at school. The acceptance of the gay community has greatly improved but using 'gay' as a slagging for someone still persists. Recently, I got asked if I was gay by a few different people and it got me thinking...
Highly educated women do have a higher chance of not having a family. Childlessness is on the rise and has nearly doubled in the UK since the 90s, but given the extensive press coverage in recent times of high-profile or careerist women choosing to forego the child-rearing experience you could be forgiven for thinking that most of those without children are of the 'child-free by choice' variety.
The prevalence of violence against women and this latest research ought to shock us out of our complacency. We simply cannot go on shutting our eyes and hoping the problem will solve itself. As well as tackling violence when it occurs, we must seek to prevent it happening in the first place. Compulsory sex and relationship education in schools is key to this.
If the government is really committed to giving teens the SRE that they deserve, then it should recognise that this aspect of sex and relationships - the pleasurable part - is just as important as the potential dangers. There is nothing wrong with young people wanting to watch porn, wanting to sext, and wanting to have sex.
The constant bombardment of messages that disapprove female sexuality and jubilate male sexuality creates confusion about what sex and sexuality really mean. As author of 'The Lolita Effect' M G Durham, wrote "I despise the social double standards that celebrate boys' 'studliness' and condemn girls' desires."
The relationship between sex and reproduction, and respect for one's body and for consent, cannot reasonably be considered contentious topics and therefore avoided. What is more, we're hearing from charities like TeenBoundaries, whose work strives to plug the current gaps in sex education, that a lack of basic information on sex is sending young people to pornography for the answers.
Recently the debate about the age of consent has flared up in the United Kingdom again. Is 16 the right age or does it do harm to children and adults alike? An argument that I haven't seen raised very often, but one that I have believed in for a long time points out that the age of consent is a much more complex issue.
I have become a bit evangelical around issues of sex and disability. When I started my career as a TV presenter and journalist in the early 1990s I convinced Channel 4 to commission a documentary on the subject called Willing and Able, which I think explored many of the issues that Enhance The UK are still trying to confront over twenty years later.