‘Sex’. Such a weird, frowned on word, right? If we use the word ‘sexual’ next to ‘education’ it sounds even stranger, especially in Romanian schools. As taboo as it sounds, the implementation of this discipline is crucial in order to raise an educated, responsible and healthy youth, and here is why:
We have to understand what sexual education is and contrary to what a lot of people may think. This discipline does not teach our teens how to engage in sexual intercourse. It teaches the young generation what responsibilities, dangers and risks of the first sexual contact. It also teaches them how to protect themselves against STIs and unwanted pregnancies, as the teenager matures. Building a healthy and steady base for our teens will come in handy in their later, adult life.
Teen pregnancy, a worldwide problem
A lot of underage girls become mothers way too soon, many of which abandon their studies. Have you ever wondered how the situation is in Romania? Unfortunately, Romania occupies the first place in Europe at the number of teen pregnancies. This was according to the Eurostat data from 2018. More exactly 23% of the underage mothers in the EU live in Romania. Around 83% of these girls drop out of school and under 2% of them beneficiate of public services of Social Assistance. These girls are either forced into marriage, living in poverty and/or have to terminate their pregnancies. This leaves both physical and emotional scars. Teaching our youth how to use contraceptive methods could drastically reduce the cases of teen pregnancies. These methods include the usage of condoms and birth control.
If you have concrete knowledge, errors rarely happen
How many times have you ditched a book or a movie after you find out the whole plot, in detail, several times? This exact same concept applies to sexual intercourse. If a teenager is informed and educated about their body, about the consequences of being sexually active, their curiosity will fade away. After they learn that the withdrawal method and other myths and dangerous alternatives to avoid/terminate the pregnancy have serious aftermaths, the risk of them getting into treacherous situations decreases. A lot of teens and young adults’ sexual knowledge has unstable and misleading bases, varying from friends’ stories and advice to pornography. Explaining why under no circumstances an individual shall force themselves on someone, why a person’s clothing, appearance, drunkenness and loss of consciousness are not valid arguments to sexually assault or harass a person could help reduce the number of sex offenders.
Why is it not implemented?
The situation in Romania is complicated. More than half of Romania’s population thinks that sexual assault and sexual harassment is justified. That’s 55% according to the Gender-biased Eurobarometer. They usually blame the victim. There were several attempts to introduce sexual education in school. The most recent one happened this year. The Romanian Patriarchy and The Orthodox Church strongly believe that this type of discipline is harmful. This is what the majority of Romanians think too. They believe it would ‘stain children’s innocence’ and ‘promote homosexuality’. Even though sexual education is mandatory in 20 out of the 28 EU states, Romanian people remain trapped inside ‘the box’.
How this whole sexual education situation will develop is unclear, however one thing is certain. Running away from the ‘taboo’ subjects is NOT the answer since you cannot protect yourself from what you don’t know. Our last hope will remain in the educational organization, such as ‘Sexul vs. Barza’ that gives us, indirectly, the information we all need in our early stages of life.