Why aren't schools educating kids against sex abuse?

Sex education: Give pupils knowledge, skills & confidence to resist abusers

By Peter Tatchell

International Business Times – London, UK – 20 August 2015
READ & COMMENT: http://ibt.uk/A006MQq

Generic Child AbuseThe sexual abuse of children is a national scandal. So why are schools doing so little to help combat it? This neglect is outrageous, given that educating and empowering young people with sexual rights, knowledge, skills and confidence can help protect them against abuse.

The current UK anti-child sex abuse strategy focuses overwhelmingly on apprehending and prosecuting abusers. That’s good and important. But it is a somewhat one-sided approach. It neglects the very important, effective role that young people can play in stopping abuse.

The shocking scale of child sexual exploitation proves that criminal sanctions are not enough. They aren’t working. The already strong laws against abuse are being flouted, as shown by the constant stream of sex abuse trials. Tougher penalties are unlikely to deter or make much difference. More robust investigation and prosecution will definitely help a lot. But what’s also urgently needed are new initiatives that help young people protect themselves.

Most sexual abuse does not involve explicit coercion or violence. Psychological pressure and manipulation are more common.

It is therefore astonishing that young people are not being advised about the warning signs of grooming and given sexual assertiveness training to deter and repel predators. These issues are not a mandatory part of a national curriculum that is obligatory for all schools.

Indeed, the issue of abuse is not adequately – if at all – discussed in most schools. It should be talked about as preventative education, but it isn’t. Most teachers don’t advise young people about sex abuse and what to do if they are molested. Telling them to phone Childline is not good enough.

Fending off a predatory older (or younger) person is not easy, even for adults. It is an acquired skill, and it requires a degree of confidence. Young people therefore need to be taught the ability and assuredness to resist and report unwanted sexual advances.

Assertiveness skills can be taught and, once learned, can empower teens to rebuff pressure from abusers, whether they are older or of similar ages. Although this may not work for everyone, it will work for some. Even if this education prevents only a minority of children from falling victim to sexual exploitation, it would be worthwhile.

We also need to look at the bigger picture: the social values that often unwittingly and unintentionally underpin the abuse of children.

Sex-negative attitudes are a contributory factor. People who sexually exploit youngsters often get away with it because the victims feel embarrassed and ashamed about sex and are therefore reluctant to report it. This shame and embarrassment is reinforced by a cultural mix of prudery and puritanism, which tends to regard sex as something sordid that should be kept hidden and private. This anti-sex mentality is a godsend to abusers. They rely on shame and secrecy to carry out their molestation undetected.

To undermine the sexual shame that inhibits the exposure of abusers, sex and relationship lessons in schools should encourage young people to have a more open, positive attitude towards sexual matters and to feel less inhibited about discussing them. Teenagers who feel at ease talking about sex are more likely to disclose abuse. Prompt reporting is the key to stopping sexual exploitation.

The other problematic social value that needs to be challenged is adult chauvinism, which is best summed up in the old adage that children should be seen and not heard. This, again, plays into the hands of abusers. Not infrequently, they get away with molestation by relying on the young victim’s reticence to challenge an adult; especially if the adult has a position of authority over them or has prestigious social standing. The fear (and reality) of disbelief by adults when reporting abuse is very strong, as many victims have reported.

Despite child-centred legal reforms in the UK over the last three decades, children’s rights remain somewhat contradictory and confused – especially in the realm of sexual rights.

According to the law, a person under 16 is incapable of consenting to a sexual act. They are deemed unable to understand the implications of having sex. Any sexual relationship with such a person, even if freely entered into by both partners of similar ages, is therefore categorised, in law, as a criminal offence.

By saying that the under-16s are not allowed to consent to a sexual relationship, the unspoken message is that they have no sexual rights – no right to control their own body and make their own decisions. This is the precise mind-set of abusers.

Curiously, the UK age of criminal responsibility is ten. From that age onwards, the law says that a person who commits a crime, such as murder, can be assumed to know what they were doing and can therefore be held responsible for their behaviour. But it is not until the age of 16 that the law acknowledges young people’s ability to give sexual consent. The bizarre implication is that a decision to have consenting sex requires greater mental maturity, and is more complex and grave, than a decision to kill.

The ten-year-old killers of James Bulger were declared by the courts to be old enough to understand, and to be held responsible for, their actions – and mature enough be convicted of murder. But if they’d had sex with each other and said they had consented, the courts would have ruled that they were too young to understand what is involved in a sexual relationship – and therefore incapable of giving their consent.

This points to the legal muddle over the sexual rights of youth. Parliament rightly seeks to safeguard against abuse. It sets the age of consent at 16. But by denying the under-16s the right to consent to sex, it reinforces the idea that they have no right to make their own sexual choices. Isn’t this also what child sex abusers believe? That teens have no right to decide?

I am not saying that sex involving young people under 16 should be lawful. I am merely pointing out the inconsistencies; that the law seems to inadvertently help legitimate the disempowering attitudes that allow abuse to flourish.

To combat abusive relations, all schools should be legally required to educate young people about consent and abuse issues, give them sexual assertiveness training and positively encourage a culture of young people’s rights; including the right to control their own bodies. This includes the right to say ‘no’ to unwanted sex (whatever the age of the other person) and the right and responsibility to report attempted and actual abusers.

A useful sex and relationship education mantra might be: “It’s my body. It’s my right to decide.”

This affirmation of teenagers’ right to sexual self-determination, and their education and empowerment to assert that right against abusers, should be mandatory in every school. Over to you, Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.

  • For more information about the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s human rights work, to receive our email bulletins or to make a donation:www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

The Warwick Rowers are back, raising money for gay rights, and they’re more naked than ever

Not suitable for work: We have got seven shots teasing their 2016 naked calendar

The Warwick Rowers are back, raising money for gay rights, and they’re more naked than ever

20 August 2015

The Warwick Rowers are back, and these British boys are baring all once again to raise money for gay rights.

The university rowing team have teased their brand new 2016 naked calendar.

Once again, the money raised will go to supporting young people who are challenged by bullying, homophobia or low-self esteem in sport through Sports Allies.

And we have got a few shots to make the wait worthwhile. Some are from their new calendar, some from their new coffee table book, and some are from behind the scenes.






Head over to the Warwick Rowers website to see all of their offers and their teaser video.

Men United for Prostate Cancer UK

GT Hunks

Men are getting naked and wet for charity

Half naked men are getting soaking wet for charity. Yes, you read that correctly, you have the perfect excuse to give to charity and enjoy naked hot guys.

Mark Lister is showcasing 14 half naked men soaked in water to try to raise over £10,000 for the charity Prostate Cancer UK.

He’s calling the fundraising campaign: Project Soaked.

© Mark Lister projectsoaked.co.uk

“I’m looking forward to launching Project Soaked,” says Mark, “and I’m delighted to be raising awareness and much needed money to help beat prostate cancer.”

© Mark Lister projectsoaked.co.uk

The money raised will go to supporting Men United, a movement by prostate cancer UK “for everyone who believes men are worth fighting for.”

“The more I read and the more I spoke to people about it, the more I realised that most men don’t actually know what the prostate is or what it does.” Lister says. Men United has gained more than 230,000 people pledging their support since its launch over 12 months ago.

© Mark Lister projectsoaked.co.uk

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK said: “It’s fantastic to see that Mark has decided to take on this challenge to raise funds for Prostate cancer UK. By doing this he and everyone involved are joining Men United and helping to make a real difference in furthering the fight against prostate cancer.”

© Mark Lister projectsoaked.co.uk

By fundraising for Men United, big or small, you’d be helping push for real change, from more effective testing to better treatment. So why not take the step and buy the saucy calendar, we’re sure you can find somewhere to hang it.

Get the calendar via projectsoaked.co.uk from 15th August – January 2016.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact prostate cancer UK’s specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or via online live chat, instant messaging service: prostatecanceruk.org .

Words Iona McGregor – Nelson, @i0na95

Top tips on LGBT-inclusive sex education

Fran Hall


LGBT young people too often miss out on vital information and support at school. Inclusive sex and relationships education (SRE) can help to remedy their isolation

All young people should have access to high quality, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) in school. But all too often this isn’t the case and LGBT young people are missing out on vital information, putting their emotional and physical wellbeing at risk.

More than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people say they are not taught anything about lesbian, gay and bisexual issues, suggests research by the University of Cambridge for Stonewall. Research by the National Union of Students earlier this year also found that less than a fifth of all university students were taught about LGBT issues in SRE at school.

Stonewall’s School Champions programme works with primary and secondary schools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and to support LGBT young people. Based on the many examples of good practice we’ve seen, here are some top tips on LGBT-inclusive SRE.

Don’t make assumptions

Don’t assume that all students are heterosexual or that there are no trans students in your class. Think carefully about the examples and language used when talking about relationships. Use gender neutral terms such as “partner” and embed examples of LGBT people and relationships. Be explicit in your school’s policy that SRE is there to prepare all students for the future, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ensure all young people learn about LGBT people and relationships

All students should learn about key concepts such as sexual orientation, gender identity and the difference between biological sex and gender. Embed positive examples of LGBT people and relationships and discuss relevant LGBT rights and equality (for example, that LGBT people can marry and have children). This ensures that all students understand the diversity of people and relationships in 21st century Britain and that young people who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity get the information they need.

Include information that is relevant to LGBT young people

Make sure you include specific information where relevant – for example, on sexual health or coming out. At the same time, avoid promoting the stereotype that all LGBT people have certain types of sex and relationships. The easiest way to do this is to talk about the similarities and differences there might be across different types of relationships.

A lot of the information that LGBT young people need to know will be the same as their heterosexual peers (what a healthy relationship looks like). Using LGBT examples will signal that the information you are giving is relevant to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and will help to tackle assumptions about LGBT people and relationships more generally.

Challenge gender stereotypes

Challenge these both in the content of SRE and in the way the lessons are delivered. Think carefully about whether to separate students by gender for SRE. Trans students or those questioning their gender identity may feel uncomfortable or miss out on vital information if classes and lesson content are divided (for example, a trans man who may need to know about cervical screening). If students are separated, deliver the same content across groups. All students will gain valuable information and skills by considering situations from the point of view of different genders.

Encourage students to understand and celebrate difference and diversity

SRE can be a great opportunity for discussion, for students to learn about difference and to develop respect and understanding towards others. This should include exploring and challenging stereotypes about LGBT people and feed into the school’s wider work on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. SRE is also the perfect opportunity to encourage every student to feel positive and confident about themselves.

Staff will need training, alongside an updated SRE policy to deliver effectively across these areas. As well as Stonewall’s resources and training, the Sex Education Forum and Gendered Intelligence and Allsorts Youth Project look specifically at LGBT relationships and sexual health.

Visit stonewall.org.uk/education for more information


Press Release: CHE votes to support the LGBT History Project

6 July 2015

At its 43rd Annual Conference in June 2015, The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) voted to support the LGBT History Project.

The LGBT History Project, founded by Jonathan Harbourne in June 2011, is an online archive of information about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) life in the United Kingdom from Julius Caesar to the present day. The archive, at http://www.lgbthistoryuk.org/wiki/, takes the form of a Wikipedia-style encyclopaedia with over 3,000 articles, covering every region, county, and local government district in the UK, and many famous and not so famous LGBT-related people, places, organisations  and events. The articles in the encyclopaedia have been viewed over four million times. The Project has recently become a Key Partner of LGBT History Month.

The Conference motion (full wording at http://c-h-e.org.uk/motions2015.shtml) urges CHE’s Executive Committee to work with other interested organisations to secure the long-term survival and enhancement of the Project, and the recruitment of additional volunteers.

CHE, founded in 1964, is the oldest LGBT member organisation in the country. With a wealth of history in its own archives, it is fully committed to preserving and documenting LGBT History, for instance by becoming a sponsor of LGBT History Month, and by commissioning the author Peter Scott-Presland to research and document its own history in the book Amiable Warriors (Volume One now available to buy: see http://www.amiable-warriors.uk/).


For further information, contact Ross Burgess at ross@foxearth.net , telephone 020 8645 0943 or 07899 985 064

Win a Prize – Choose Your Top Guys and Dolls

It‘s that time of year for us to think long and hard about which famous fellas and gals leave us hot under the collar.

As I am a man I have no problem putting forward my selection of famous ‘fellas’, and they for me are:

  • Russell Tovey

    Russell Tovey

  • Zac Efron

    Zac Efron

  • Dan Osborne

    Dan Osborne

  • Zayn Malik

    Zayn Malik

  • Harry Judd

    Harry Judd

  • Tom Daley

    Tom Daley

but for the gals I am not qualified to make the list, I will hazard a stab,

  • Cara Delevingne

    Cara Delevingne

  • Mila Kunis

    Mila Kunis

  • Zooey Deschanel

    Zooey Deschanel

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Jennifer Lawrence

  • Scarlett Johansson

    Scarlett Johansson

  • Candice Swanepoel

    Candice Swanepoel

however, what would be nice is if you all submitted your TOP  Man or Woman who should be on the list.  There will be a prize of (secret) to the list selected randomly from those submitted.

We want you to tell us which handsome fella or filly rocks your boat, tickles your fancy – you get the idea.


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3 years in prison just for being gay


Imagine: 3 years in prison just for being gay. That’s what could happen to Lahcen and Mohsine, two Moroccan gay men. They were arrested while taking a photo next to a monument in Rabat. The police said they were violating “public modesty” by standing too close together.

Their trial is in 3 days, where it’s likely they’ll get a 3-year jail term: last month some other Moroccans were given 3-year sentences, just for being gay. All Out’s Moroccan partner, the Aswat Collective, is fighting for Lahcen and Mohsine’s freedom and have urgently asked us to help.

A huge global outcry, just before their trial on Tuesday could be a game-changer for Lahcen and Mohsine. The Moroccan authorities are investing in the tourist industry to attract visitors from across the world – they can’t risk the damage to their reputation of a massive global petition.

Just 3 days left to speak out that being gay is not a crime. Sign and share the petition now, to build a giant call for Lahcen and Mohsine to be freed:

Lahcen and Mohsine were sightseeing around Rabat on 4 June when they were arrested. Mohsine doesn’t live in the city, so Lahcen had showed him several tourist spots. They were taking photos at the Hassan Tower when they were arrested.

Since their arrest, Lahcen and Mohsine’s full names and pictures were leaked to national media in Morocco. Hate rallies have been organised outside their families’ homes and the police haven’t tried to protect their families from harassment.

Call for Lahcen and Mohsine to be freed: go.allout.org/en/a/lahcen-mohsine/

Being gay is still illegal in Morocco, even though the 2011 constitution bars discrimination on any grounds. The Aswat Collective is campaigning for the Moroccan government to abolish the article of the penal code – Article 489 – which outlaws homosexuality.

In April, 120,000 All Out members got behind five Chinese women who were arrested for campaigning for LGBT rights and women’s equality. We joined a global outcry of journalists and world leaders and all five women were released! Then in May, more than 2,000 of us chipped in donations to safely rehouse three gay and trans refugees fleeing ISIS. Now let’s help free Lahcen and Mohsine.

Add your name now: go.allout.org/en/a/lahcen-mohsine/

Thanks for going All Out,

Andre, Guillaume, Jessica, Oscar, Rose and the rest of the All Out team.

P.S. All Out depends on small donations from members. Every individual donation goes to powering groundbreaking global campaigns. It also means governments and corporations can’t tell us what to do because we won’t take their money. Will you help keep us strong? Click here now to chip in: go.allout.org/en/a/ps-donate

In 3 days, two Moroccan men could get 3-year jail terms – just for being gay.

Join a global outcry to free Lahcen and Mohsine.


Do the LGBT Youth in Northern Ireland feel safe?

Editorial:  So LGBT young people in Scotland ‘feel unsafe’!  I wonder if the same is true in Northern Ireland – only you the readers can tell us.  What not leave us share stories in our comments  box.




Many LGBT young people ‘feel unsafe’

gay couple holding hands

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) young people still encounter harassment in public spaces, according to a Scottish charity.

LGBT Youth Scotland said its research suggested more needed to be done to ensure LGBT young people felt safe.

It urged those affected to understand their rights and report discrimination.

The charity said not every young person was aware of what constituted a criminal act under hate crime legislation .

In an online survey of LGBT people aged 13 to 25 conducted by the charity, 49% of the 273 respondents said they felt safe and supported by the legal system. The figure fell to 40% among those who identified as transgender.

Half of those surveyed said they were aware of their rights, while a similar proportion (53%) said they would feel confident in reporting a crime they experienced to the police.

Among transgender young people the figure dropped to 48%, while bisexual women were the least likely to feel confident reporting a hate crime at 46%.

Hate crimes

Just over half (51%) of transgender young people said they felt safe using public transport.

While the charity has welcomed an increase in the reporting of hate crimes, YGBT Youth Scotland has recommended that campaigns, activities and lesson plans be developed for use in schools, with specific reference to hate crime.

Chief executive Fergus McMillan said: “In Scotland, we are fortunate to have strong hate crime legislation that is inclusive of transgender identities yet the safety report shows a gap in knowledge and confidence for transgender young people in particular.

“When young people know about their rights, and have confidence in the process, they are more likely to be willing to report.

“An increase in reported crimes since the introduction of the legislation is certainly positive, yet more must be done to ensure that LGBT young people feel safe in their communities, understand their rights and how to report discrimination and harassment, and have the confidence to report.”

Northern Ireland's Marriage Equality Battle

photo of two Irish marriage equality campaigners

Dear Friends

Did your heart melt when Ireland voted for equal marriage? What an awesome victory for love and equality. But across the border in Northern Ireland, thousands of loving gay couples are banned from marrying: they’re told their love isn’t worth as much as straight couples.

Some politicians in Northern Ireland haven’t yet made up their minds on gay marriage. If we can show them that equality is getting huge, mainstream support, it could persuade them to vote for equal marriage the next time it comes to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Our partners in Northern Ireland have asked us to build a giant petition in the next few days, to boost media coverage of a mass rally for equal marriage they are organising in Belfast on Saturday. Every voice is needed to bring undecided politicians on board. Sign and share now: go.allout.org/en/a/n-ireland-marriage

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where gay marriage is still illegal. England, Wales and Scotland have allowed it since 2014. But a survey in Northern Ireland in 2013 showed 59% of people want marriage equality – and it’s likely to be even more now, after the Yes Vote south of the border.

We’re seeing a pro-equality tidal wave. Since the Irish Yes vote, a cross-party group of Westminster MPs has called for action on equal marriage in Northern Ireland. And Belfast City Council just passed a motion in favour of marriage equality.

All Out’s partners in Northern Ireland – Amnesty International, The Rainbow Project and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions – have joined together to seize this huge political opportunity. They’re holding a mass rally in Belfast on Saturday 13 June. If thousands of All Out members from around the globe back their call for equal marriage, we can show that the world is watching. It could be enough to convince undecided politicians to support LOVE.

Sign now: go.allout.org/en/a/n-ireland-marriage

Just last week, a petition from All Out members helped get two anti-gay judges removed from Argentina’s courts. And our 285,000-strong petition against a proposed anti-gay law in Northern Ireland is one of the reasons why the law is stalled. Now let’s unleash our power to win equal marriage in Northern Ireland:

Add your name: go.allout.org/en/a/n-ireland-marriage

Thanks for going All Out,

Andre, Guillaume, Rose, Julia and the rest of the All Out team.

P.S. All Out depends on small donations from members. Every individual donation goes to powering groundbreaking global campaigns. It also means governments and corporations can’t tell us what to do because we won’t take their money. Will you help keep us strong? Click here now to chip in: go.allout.org/en/a/ps-donate


We don’t take money from governments or corporations, so the only people we have to listen to are our members. Our tiny team stretches every contribution to make them count.


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