At the beginning of July I stumbled across this cosmopolitan blog written by Sarah Barnes, and was immediately enraged.
Nadine Dorries introduced the Sex Education (Required Content) Bill to Parliament on May 4th 2011 using the ten minute rule (it allows an MP to talk for ten minutes about a new bill they'd like to introduce). The official Parliament website provides this summary of her speech -
A Bill to require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16; to provide that such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity; and for connected purposes.
You can read Nadine Dorries ten minute speech here, but she is fighting for our schools to teach the option of abstinence, ''I believe that the answer to ending our constant struggle with the incredibly high rate of teenage sexual activity and underage pregnancies lies in teaching our girls and boys about the option of abstinence—the ability to just say no as part of their compulsory sex education at school.''
This is the letter I sent to my local MP (I wrote very quickly as I was so cross!)
I notice that you were absent for the Sex Education (required content)
Bill on 4th May 2011.
It was passed with a tiny majority (67 ‘aye's and 61 ‘no's) and will go
to a final vote in Jan 2012.
I feel so angry that yet again the responsibility of sexual acts are to
be placed on the shoulders of women. It seems it is up to women to
remain 'pure', and up to women to spurn the advances of all men. This
isn't that far off from the argument that women shouldn't wear short
skirts if they don't want to get raped.
Men are not sexual predators who need controlling by women learning how
to say no. Both boys and girls needs to be educated about choice,
sexual health and sexual responsibility.
What message are we passing on to our teen boys, if girls receive
lessons in how to say no, but boys do not? Because of course men are
allowed to sleep around with no judgement, but women are not (we have a
myriad of names to demean our sexual choices, men do not).
Girls do not need to be told to remain abstintent, unless boys are told
the same. We all share responsibility for our sexual choices, and all
teens need to be educated in the same way. Telling teens not to have
sex has surely never been proven to be successful. I want all of our
young people to feel confident to say no (boys are allowed to say no
too!) but also to be well educated if they do decide to have sex.
Please make sure that you vote against this bill, this cannot be the
message we send to our young people.
I have received a response from Nick Gibb Mp (Minister of State for Schools).
Having read the Cosmo blog, and now having read her actual speech, I'm a little confused over the exact details of what she wants. Of course I am against the sexualisation of our young children, but she talks of seven year olds being taught to put condoms on bananas - this simply doesn't happen. However I do know that most of our teens have a sex drive, and that both boys and girls need to educated equally in their options.