It has been disturbing to see so many recent testimonies of sexual abuse in secondary schools. There is clearly a growing problem in how many teenagers relate to one another. Without a doubt increased sexual expression, both in and out of school, has been fuelled by the ever-more prevalent availability of pornographic material. Sexualised material can work on a young person’s natural vulnerability to immature and aggressive behaviour and lead to an outbreak of sexual aggression. As much as students are told that pornography is unrealistic and unrepresentative of real-life relationships, they easily become convinced that what they see before their own eyes is reality. The resulting abuse can cause lasting harm, because the way someone learns to relate to others when young informs the kind of relationships he/she makes as an adult.
In the hope of addressing these issues, Lovewise have produced a range of resources for use in school, home and church youth group settings. We would like to highlight two resources that support secondary PSHE teachers in educating their students about healthy relationships and how to develop a wise approach to online content.
Pornography: Dangers and Decisions is a presentation for school years 9-11 about the dangers of pornography, encouraging the young people to make good decisions about what they watch and listen to. The presentation contains scientific and medical information, along with personal stories, but does not include any explicit images or terminology.
Marriage, Sex & Living Wisely is our secondary RSE resource, fully revised in response to the updated (2020) statutory guidance for RSE in English schools. Whilst we are not able to support all aspects of the new curriculum, MS&LW fulfils the requirements on marriage, sexual relationships and sexual health. The resource is available free of charge by registering a name and email address on our website and operates directly in a web browser (so no additional presentation software is required). Intended for use by teachers of school years 8-11, it comprises six modules which can be presented in sequence or individually, covering marriage, sexual intimacy and how to form and maintain healthy relationships, both now and in the future.
Through these resources students will learn that sex is something precious and valuable, wisely kept for the committed relationship of marriage, and by separating sexual intimacy from the context of a relationship the use of pornography will damage both the user and many others. In particular, the resources will help students treat their peers with dignity, rather than objects for their sexual pleasure. A new-found respect for others will impact the way they speak and behave towards their classmates (and teachers) and, we would hope, drastically reduce instances of sexual harassment and abuse.
Lovewise is a charity which seeks to help parents, youth groups and schools by providing resources on the subjects of marriage, sex and relationships from a Christian perspective.