“DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD”?
Sexual exploitation in English towns
In the past few years there have been a whole series of the most disturbing cases of sexual exploitation of young girls that have made the towns where they occurred a litany of shame. Rotherham, Rochdale, now Telford. There are others. The horror is that more towns will be added to this list, in the same way that the dark side has been exposed of formerly respected institutions – the BBC for instance with its proven abusers, such as Savile, Hall and Harris. In recent weeks elite public schools based around monasteries – Ampleforth, Downside – have also been added to this list of shame, showing themselves to be utterly inadequate in the safeguarding of young people in their care. In the case of the exploited young girls, local authorities, the police and political parties running town halls have shown themselves either incapable of acting fully or in time, or are themselves so crippled by the fear of being accused of ‘racism’ that they have almost ‘handed over’ these vulnerable children, often known to social services or having been ‘in care’, to abuse gangs.
There is a repeated pattern of evidence that comes out of these tales of horror that would need a 21st Century Charles Dickens to do justice to all its aspects of corruption, cruelty and incompetence. But there is one area we can do something about – however it will require a wholesale change of mind in our official bodies. And that change of mind will come against the most entrenched vested interests that, to coin a phrase, “feed on the flesh of our children” for their survival and their profits.
That area is the fact that, as the reports cited below show, the casual acceptance of under-age sex (under-age being under 16 which still under current law is the age at which a young person is deemed able to give consent to sexual intercourse) is not only unquestioned; but, in the words of the serious case review conducted by the Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board, sexual health clinics may be ‘unwittingly assisting perpetrators to abuse without risk of pregnancies and disease’. Confidentiality policies appear to be acting as a barrier to protecting girls from sexual exploitation and inadvertently assisting their abusers. The report goes on to say ‘It emerges that it is standard practice for information to be freely shared between school nurses and sexual health services, while parents are kept in the dark, and underage sexual activity does not trigger any concerns’.
If the school nurses and sexual health services were doing their job, all would be well. Patently, they are not. David Spicer, the author of the Newcastle report noted that:
‘While there is no evidence in Newcastle of an approach identified in Rochdale where girls as young as ten years old were recorded as engaging in consensual sexual activity, there was historically an acceptance that teenage girls would be involved in sexual acts and made lifestyle choices. This was encouraged by victims who under the influence and control of perpetrators, insisted that they were making choices which they were entitled to make, avoided contact and expressed resentment and opposition to attempts to intervene’.
The earlier 152-page report “Unprotected” by the Family Education Trust, published in May 2017, examines the findings of serious case reviews of child sexual exploitation in several parts of England, including Rochdale and Oxfordshire, alongside Professor Alexis Jay’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham.
It finds that the failure of professionals to detect the abuse of so many young people in different parts of the country has to do with a culture in which underage sexual activity has come to be viewed as a normal part of growing up and seen as relatively harmless as long as it is “consensual”.
The report’s author, Family Education Trust director Norman Wells, commented:
‘The evidence from recent serious case reviews clearly demonstrates that fundamental flaws in professional attitudes towards underage sexual activity have directly contributed to exploitation and abuse’.
In the case of Telford, according to an 18-month Sunday Mirror investigation, an estimated 1,000 girls suffered sexual exploitation and abuse in the Shropshire district of Telford over a period of 40 years. Like their counterparts in Rochdale, Rotherham and Bristol, education and welfare professionals in Telford assumed that the girls were making ‘lifestyle choices’. ‘Instead of seeing them as exploited victims, some council staff viewed them as prostitutes,’ we are told. And so ‘case histories reveal many were ignored after reporting rapes to the police’. On the basis of prior assumptions that had been made about the girls, their reports were not taken seriously. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham similarly found that ‘children as young as 11 were deemed to be having consensual sexual intercourse when in fact they were being raped and abused by adults’.
In a phrase, these girls were by this prevailing mind-set abandoned to their abusers. How have we got to this state of affairs where literally thousands of young girls, some still just children, have endured rape, pregnancies, violation and death, and the whole of our society has just stood by and let it happen? And as you read this it will be happening now, somewhere in England’s “green and pleasant land”. New reports from Huddersfield are currently making their way into the headlines. Another town to add to the list of shame? And this is after 40 years of, in state schools, compulsory sex education, that is now being extended to all schools under Government proposals. Wasn’t this sex education meant to prepare and arm young people for “life in modern Britain” where knowledge of how to practise “safe sex” and how to avoid pregnancy was meant to secure their “health and future outcomes”. Well, if it was meant to, it has been the most colossal failure. The Government’s response? More of the same, and making it mandatory. Is it likely, in the words of Damian Hinds the Education Secretary launching further consultation on soon-to-be mandatory sex education, to provide ‘the knowledge and support (young people) need to form healthy relationships, lead healthy lives and be safe and happy in modern Britain’? Does the track record to date inspire any confidence at all?
But the words of the Newcastle report highlight something that potentially accounts for this failure. This report went on: ‘Researchers recently suggested that teaching adolescents about sex and making access to contraceptives easier may have encouraged risky behaviour’.
Is sex education actually a cause of this climate where abuse can occur?
We have to ask the question: is sex education actually a cause of this climate where abuse can occur? In fact, is it assisting it? And is the Government, in extending it further and making it compulsory, merely aiding and abetting these gangs and the climate that allows them to commit their crimes?
Evidence from the USA
Recently, there has been the most substantial report issued from America that is supplying evidence that this is exactly what has been happening. (sources at foot of article).
Researchers from the Institute for Research & Evaluation (IRE) in America found that the strongest and most recent outcome studies do not support the claim that CSE (Comprehensive Sex Education) has been ‘proven effective’. The researchers surveyed studies contained in three authoritative research reviews of US sex education effectiveness—two sponsored by the US federal government (including the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention-CDC) and one conducted for the United Nations.
They found no evidence of sustained reductions in teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and no evidence to support the claim that CSE brings the ‘dual benefit’ of increases in both teenage sexual abstinence and condom use by sexually active teenagers.
In a companion study the same researchers examined the evidence for school-based comprehensive sex education outside the US, with reference to the 43 studies of 39 school-based CSE programs found on the reference list cited by UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, 2018. However, the reviewers found no support for UNESCO’s claim that school-based CSE is effective. In fact, they state that,
‘UNESCO’s own evidence indicates that CSE in school settings has shown little success and may be doing more harm than good. Policymakers should examine the discrepancies presented here between the research findings and UNESCO’s claims of CSE success, and rethink the global dissemination of CSE in schools’.
The researchers further reported that:
‘There is very little evidence of real effectiveness (sustained effects for the intended population) on any sexual health outcome (pregnancy, STDs, condom use, etc.), and the evidence of success at CSE’s purported dual benefit of increasing both abstinence (i.e., delayed sexual initiation) and condom use in adolescent populations is virtually non-existent…’
‘This overall pattern of findings is similar to the one found for CSE in U.S. schools. The studies cited by UNESCO – both in U.S. and non-U.S. settings – do not support its claim that ‘the evidence base for the effectiveness of school-based [CSE] continues to grow and strengthen’ nor does the research support UNESCO’s assertion that CSE ‘does not increase sexual activity, sexual risk-taking behaviour or STI/HIV infection rates.’ The UNESCO database demonstrates that CSE in schools has not been an effective public health strategy and in non-U.S. settings it may be doing more harm than good.’
Note the words ‘NOT BEEN AN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC HEALTH STRATEGY ….MAY BE DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD’.
Evidence from the UK
Recent UK evidence supports this from Public Health England that, for instance, shows the year on year increases from 2016-17 of 20% in new cases of syphilis and 22% in gonorrhoea. Clearly, all the teaching of “safe sex” has had a remarkable effect – it has happened at the same time as increasing risk and disease. Some success! Or actually a direct consequence?
The fact is that the disconnect represented by sex education in schools – in that it divorces intimate relationships from values, family, even friends by putting it into a pseudo-objective format of a classroom – could well be a driver of these terrible statistics. The clear evidence accumulating now is that it is not only ineffective, but is actually feeding the climate of disconnection that makes children vulnerable. And remember, these are children, with little to protect them from predatory adults. Put simply, BECAUSE SEX EDUCATION OCCURS IN THE CONTEXT OF A CLASSROOM WHERE IT IS A “SUBJECT” NOT INTIMATELY LINKED TO FAMILY, HOME AND VALUES, IT IS NOW PART OF THE PROBLEM.
In classroom-based sex education, the state is complicit in dissolving the bonds of family, of home, of values that can give a firm framework for moral decisions and actually contributes to the deadly “climate” highlighted in the reports on abuse. It is no longer fanciful to state that classroom based sex education is actually state-sponsored child abuse. Certainly it has achieved NOTHING of what it was meant to down the years. That much is without doubt.
So why is it being persisted with in the face of accumulating evidence and being held out as the answer to being “safe and happy in modern Britain”?
To answer that, we have to examine for whose good it occurs? “Cui bono?” It certainly isn’t the abused and abandoned children in their thousands throughout the land. No research has yet been done on this. But the great proponents of it – the likes of BPAS, the abortion company, or the Brook Advisory services – stand to gain from it as without the sexual practices that result in unwanted pregnancies or sexual diseases their services would not be needed. Of course they promote CSE. It feeds their profits. “Follow the money”.
Another great proponent of sex education is Stonewall, the gay rights organisation. Their objective is to “normalise” varieties of sexual expression, even though by government statistics only 1.9% or less of the population (ONS 2016) is ‘LGB’ (and the statistics of those who identify as transgender are too small to count). Even though by definition pregnancy cannot be a direct outcome of homosexual acts, medical issues surrounding gay sex or, as Public Health England precisely terms it, “men who have sex with men” raise real concerns. ‘The number of syphilis diagnoses in 2017 was the largest annual number reported since 1949 and is consistent with the increasing trend seen in recent years: since 2008, syphilis diagnoses have risen by 148% (from 2,874 to 7,137), mostly among gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (referred to collectively as ‘MSM’)’. (PHE 2017)
The same logic applies. Advance, as the Government wishes to do, the normalisation of gay sex, and the same result will occur – a rise in the practice of risky behaviour as more children ‘experiment’, being led to believe the ‘knowledge’ they gain at school will keep them ‘safe’. What will happen? Inevitably, a rise in serious medical and other health issues. The PHE statistics only serve to prove that. Tell children what they can do and how to do it – and they WILL do it. The logic is glaring. The misery all too evident. The simple fact is: normalise through classroom-based sex education the detachment of sexual activity from family, home and values, and children are betrayed.
The new Relationships Education the Government is bringing in will, it can be confidently predicted, feed these trends. The result is, parents have only themselves to look to, to protect their children. The great institutions of the state – the Government, the BBC, local authorities, the Police – cannot or will not do that. We have entered an era of the ‘abusive state’. Parents must take action if they wish to safeguard their children. They must join forces, and ensure that the propaganda pumped into schools, which benefits only the organisations providing it, does not replace the values of home, of family, and of love, and the safety these can offer. The evidence now shows, tragically, no-one other than a child’s parents can be trusted to provide those values so crucial to their protection and well-being.
David Spicer, Joint Serious Case Review Concerning Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adults with Needs for Care and Support in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board and Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board, February 2018.
Stan E Weed & Irene H Ericksen, Re-examining the Evidence, The Institute for Research & Evaluation. Part One: School-Based Comprehensive Sex Education in the United States (September 2017); Part Two: Research Findings in Non-U.S. Settings (May 2018)