We Are Officially One Step Closer To Tackling Rape Culture

Clarisse Meyer

Solving the problem of sexual violence isn’t just a case of locking away the perpetrators and patching up the survivors. We need to stop it from happening in the first place.

Thankfully, we could be one step closer to pulling rape culture out by the roots, as the government has confirmed today that sex and relationship education will be made compulsory for all schools in England.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said that all children will be taught about safe and healthy relationships from the age of four. At an appropriate age, they will also be taught about sex and consent. Up until this point, sex education has only been compulsory in schools run by councils.

Rather than the cucumber and condom nightmares of sex ed past, lessons will place particular emphasis on the dangers of sexting, online pornography and sexual harassment.

The government are set to hold a series of discussions about what should be taught to children, and at what age. There’s set to be a public consultation about it later this year.

The announcement comes less than a week after a Private Member’s Bill to push the government into ratifying the Istanbul Convention – a special life-saving piece of legislation to protect women and girls from all forms of gender-based violence – passed its third reading in the House of Commons. It will now be heard in the Lords.

Prime Minister Theresa May also announced her plans to tackle domestic violence with a new law on 17 February.

“I believe that the plans I have announced today have the potential to completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse,” she said.

“There are thousands of people who are suffering at the hands of abusers, often isolated and unaware of the options and support available to them to end it. Given the central importance of victim evidence to support prosecutions in this area, raising public awareness – as well as consolidating the law – will prove crucial.”

There’s a long way to go, but this new education act is a certainly a step in the right direction.

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