This morning I visited a school to deliver training. There was a young man, a young woman and a teacher outside. I heard the young man remark: ‘you’re not a woman, you’re a silly little girl.’ She laughed it off and the teacher said nothing. The young man and woman had a play fight and he wrestled her to the ground. He stood over her and she asked if he’d help her up. He looked down, laughed and said ‘no’. The teacher did nothing. Continue reading Anti-violence work with young people
For over three decades researchers, activists and practitioners have argued that pleasure should be included in the delivery of sex education and sexual health services. As 23 year old volunteer and peer educator Victoria Telford states: ‘My sex education at school was just about preventing STIs and preventing pregnancy and that was it. You are taught about puberty, the biological side of sex and the rest you are left to figure out on your own and I think you make bad choices because of that.’ Continue reading The ‘good sex’ project: political problems and practical solutions
“Here’s the thing: Being gay is not an issue, it is an identity. It is not something that you can agree or disagree with. It is a fact, and must be defended and represented as a fact.” – David Levithan.
I love this quote. It encompasses what I have been saying to teachers and students for over a decade. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & queer/questioning) young people and families pop up everywhere and, whether we think that’s OK or whether we think they’re going straight to Hell, they have the same rights as everyone else to an education that addresses their needs and endorses their identity. Continue reading Will statutory PSHE make schools more LGBTQ-friendly?
Men’s violence against women is an endemic social problem within all societies and cultures. Feminist research and activism has maintained that to challenge and prevent men’s violence against women, changing attitudes and behaviour are key. My current and ongoing research examines what young people think about men’s violence against women with a view to generating theoretical insights and informing prevention work in this area. Continue reading Gender Inequality and Violence: The role of schools
‘Women’s refuges forced to shut down by funding crisis’ is a central headline in The Guardian (August 4 2014 p. 1) illustrating how violence against women is now on public agendas in dramatic ways. The accompanying article documents the growing crisis in funding for the refuges that have been created to deal with problems of sexual or domestic violence over the last several decades. There are photos of 4 young women, two with their babies, to illustrate the problem of domestic violence – young women killed in their homes by violent men, almost certainly their partners. Continue reading The challenges of domestic or sexual violence for ‘frontline workers’: developing training materials and educational resources
[I have] a friend who had some guy that put his hand down her pants on the dance floor. And she was a really quiet girl and she didn’t say anything. I’ve heard of a few friends who have had things like that happened [sic] that have gone past a joke. I think guys think it’s okay to do that.
This anecdote depicts an experience which has become so common amongst young people that it has acquired its own moniker: underhanding. Continue reading ‘Lad cultures’ in the neoliberal university
Catherine MacKinnon has famously argued that feminist claims based on either the ‘difference’ between or the ‘sameness’ of the genders are flawed. Rather, she suggests, what is important is dominance (MacKinnon 1987) – in the case of gender, male dominance. Gender, she says, is a matter of dominance, not difference. Continue reading Sex and Relationships Education – making the difference to difference