No to sex education in schools
I read Mr. Adelowo Adebumiti’s article entitled: ‘‘Why sex education is key to reducing gender-based violence’’ (The Guardian, Thursday, October 29, 2020) with great delight. Great delight because I am a teenager myself and very conversant with the subject matter. First, I must say that the writer’s interest on sex education is quite laudable. However, the inclusion of a sex education for teens in primary school will not stem the tide of gender based violence in Nigeria. Sex education has been included in the secondary school curriculum in the last couple of years yet the inclusion hasn’t reduced gender-based violence in our schools. So, why include it now in primary school curriculum for pre-teen and teens?
The writer made reference to Mr. Julius Opara’s endorsement of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). He says, “CSE will provide an opportunity to present sexuality with a ‘positive approach emphasizing values such as respect, inclusion, non-discrimination, equality.” I beg to disagree. CSE is not the necessary curriculum for addressing the issue of sexual and gender based violence. Why? Because the word ‘comprehensive’ suggests a very complicated and unnecessary information about sexuality as a whole. In fact, the American College of Paediatricians has said that CSE is one of the greatest assaults on the health and innocence of children. This is because unlike traditional sexuality education, CSE is highly explicit and promotes promiscuity and high-risk sexual behaviours among children and teenagers like me. CSE programs have an almost obsessive focus on teaching children how to obtain sexual pleasure in various ways. Yet, ironically, CSE programmes are anything but less than comprehensive as they fail to teach children about all of the emotional, psychological and physical health risks of promiscuous sexual activity. Please visit this site https://youtu.be/6yTvdCHgEHQ view this 11 minutes video to see evidence of the harmful elements of CSE.
The video is just 15 harmful elements typically found in CSE curricula. Since each of these 15 harmful elements has the potential of causing long-term negative effects on the health and well-being of children, having even one of these elements should be reason enough to disqualify a programme from being taught to children in schools. CSE harms children in the following ways and therefore should be banned in our schools. Sexualizes children; teaches children to consent to sex; normalizes anal and oral sex: promotes homosexual / bisexual behaviour; promotes sexual pleasure; promotes solo and/or mutual masturbation; promotes condom use in inappropriate ways; promotes early sexual autonomy; fails to establish abstinence as the expected standard; promotes transgender ideology; promotes contraception and abortion to children; promotes peer-to-peer sex education or sexual rights advocacy; undermines traditional values and beliefs; undermines parents or parental rights; refers children to harmful resources. These are not invented by me. Please visit: www.waronchildren.org and www.investigateippf.org)
It is undeniable that the family has a major role in tackling the crisis of sexual violence in Nigeria. As the head teacher of Heritage School Ipaja, Adeyemi Victoria Omolara rightly stated: “The education system is not in need of a new curriculum to address sex education. Rather it must be instilled from a young age through deliberate actions of parents and guardians.” Regrettably in the past few years many rape cases have been reported across Nigeria. Even our university campuses and institutions of higher learning which were once singled out as sane institutions for the acquisition of knowledge and inculcation of character have been turned into hideouts for gang-raping, sexual gratification and sex hawking. If a lecturer is not demanding for sex from a hapless female student as a precondition to award her a pass mark after an exam, some irresponsible male students and cultist are laying an ambush somewhere to gang rape a female student.
What I deduce from the above is that we now live in a highly-sexualised society. And one of the negative consequences of this is the sexualisation of primary school pupils, secondary school pupils and university students. A female student’s value now comes only from her sexual appeal. The physical attractiveness of a girl is equated with being sexy. In commercial adverts, fashion, video games, movies, modelling and on the Internet, females are portrayed in a sexual manner with revealing clothes and facial expressions that imply readiness for sex. Any small boy who calls himself an entertainer can afford to recruit dozens of female students to mount the stage and dance half-naked, all in the name of entertainment. Most companies are even marketing and distributing their products with photographs of skimpy-dressed ladies.
Worst still, some female students of some universities have turned their hostels into brothels where men from all walks of life could easily gain access and sexually patronise them. Others prefer to take to the streets in the evenings to indulge in sex hawking. Besides, our various university campuses are flooded with pornographic magazines, music, videos and even pornographic clubs. A few years ago, an alarm was raised that some female students of a famous university were selling their eggs to willing buyers just to make quick money for themselves.
These are caused by unnecessary exposure of young people to sex education. Consequently, beyond the usual lamentation, we call on all stakeholders to stop the teaching of CSE in all schools. If sexual immorality is abhorred in many parts of Nigeria, why teach young children how to ‘enjoy’ sex all in the name of CSE? We must understand that girls are not sex objects meant for the satisfaction of the lower instincts. Like boys, girls possess their noble dignities and rights which must be respected. Under the Nigerian law, the various sexual perversities and sexual assaults are punishable and in most cases without the option of a fine.
In today’s society pre-teens, teens, teenagers and young adults are bombarded with the tragically misguided belief that sex outside marriage and the resultant abortion hold no dangers for them. At every turn — TV, music, movies, public education — young people are encouraged to have sex, in all of its deviant forms, with no fear of anything. And if a pregnancy results from it they should procure abortion. Abortion is sold as a safe, easy and painless way to rid them of the unwanted “product of conception. This is not true. Abortion is the greatest violence against women and girls.
A common error is to think that mere knowledge and information through sex education are enough, whereas even the best sexual information won’t make anyone chaste; the powerful sex appetite must be reined in by self-control, spiritual formation and religious practice.
In conclusion, action speaks louder than voice. Let children grow with the values inculcated in them by their parents. There is no need for a complicated/promiscuous sex education curriculum that corrupts the character of children
Elo lives in Surulere, Lagos.