Society is at fault for pushing a sex agenda on to our children
By Caroline Farrow
Two stories emerged last week that illustrate the folly of introducing compulsory relationship education into schools, without an appropriate Catholic grounding.
First, there was the tale of a heavily pregnant 11-year-old girl, who looks set to become the UK’s youngest mother when she gives birth next month. Scant detail is known about the case, because the High Court has understandably imposed reporting restrictions, but what has been revealed is that the father is also a minor under the age of consent, only being a few years older than the girl herself.
Given that it is the girl’s local authority which is seeking strict reporting constraints around the case, one might reasonably surmise that the girl is in care as otherwise there would be no need for any sort of legal process. Presuming this is the case, the girl has been severely let down by someone and one has to ask whether or not the social workers involved were aware of the fact that she was having sex and, if so, what steps they were taking to put a stop to the situation?
Was there a touch of the attitude displayed by the social workers in Rotherham, who were well aware that the teenage girls who were being groomed and raped by gangs were actually having sex, but ignored it, believing that the children were freely making their own choices.
The baby’s equally young father is similarly a victim, despite potentially being guilty of statutory rape. Most 13 or 14-year-old boys don’t seem to be able to gather up their dirty socks or filthy games kit for washing without prompting, and none of them will be either emotionally or physically equipped for the massive responsibility that comes with parenting. Not only does he have to bear the emotional and presumably financial, burden of fatherhood, but he also now has the potential threat of prosecution and criminal sanction hanging over him, for what he possibly thought was a mutually agreed encounter.
Laying the blame at the door of either or both of these children for their perceived irresponsibility would be short-sighted. Every single person who advocates sex and relationship education for young children bears responsibility for this mess. This is exactly what happens when you start introducing the idea of consensual sexual relationships to children from an early age. Curiosity is piqued, and, without appropriate guidance children get the idea that sex is what they ought to be doing, as soon as they feel grown up enough and a natural progression of events when they have a crush on or fancy someone.
An 11-year-old is clearly in no position to consent and the poor child in this case would almost definitely have been coerced into it, one way or another, both by the boy himself and by a highly sexualised popular culture, epitomised by dubious stars such as Beyonce, which encourages girls to sexually objectify themselves by the way they dress and behave.
The message put forward to young girls is loud and clear – dressing in a sexually provocative way and having impersonal sexual relationships is empowering. If you want a boy to like you, look and act sexy, groom yourself to within in an inch of your life and pull that perfect pout for Instagram.
Combine this with official Government-sanctioned lessons in relationships (which many children have already been receiving) and it’s hardly surprising if children decide to start having sex with each other. Even though the case constitutes statutory rape, it seems highly likely that both of these poor kids mistakenly believed that they were able to consent.
In a second, equally squalid court-case, a 21 year-old man has been given a conditional discharge after having sex with a 12-year-old girl. The incident took place when the young man was 19 and while the case needed to come before the court, there were several mitigating factors which led the judge to conclude that the lightest possible penalty needed to be handed down.
It seems that the 12 year old looked substantially older than her age, to the extent that she fooled police officers who encountered her in the street drinking vodka with her friends, a taxi driver who believed she was as old as 20, and clearly the man himself, to whom she lied about her age.
Having viewed the CCTV footage and heard the testimony of the witnesses, the judge ruled that it was reasonable to believe that the girl was over 16 and there was no suggestion that the sex had not been consensual as the girl had not been distressed by it.
Whether or not the man ought to have been more severely punished, in order to make an example of him, is another matter.
Again, what ought to stagger us is the idea of a 12-year-old out roaming the streets, drinking vodka and being able to go to a stranger’s home and have sex with him, with no questions being asked by those who were supposed to be looking after her.
The most horrifying aspect being that a 12-year-old is seemingly so desensitised about sexual intercourse that she can even think about having sex with an older stranger and doesn’t seem to be that bothered, having done it. Clearly someone has taught her about the birds and the bees because the case only came to light when she began to worry about whether she might be pregnant.
The temptation is to think that perhaps these cases could have been avoided were the children given more information or education. You can’t seriously trust either an 11-year-old girl or 14-year-old boy to be able to use contraception reliably. Neither can you expect 11-year-olds whose monthly cycles have probably not even settled down, to understand the implications or risks of using long-term reversible contraception at such a young age, which is what older teens are usually pushed towards by GPs and clinics who are looking to keep pregnancy at bay.
Any doctor who thinks that it’s appropriate to be giving an 11-year-old hormonal contraception, instead of strongly advising her not to have sex and informing social services, needs striking off.
I’m the mother of a 12-year-old, and while I appreciate that children’s emotional and physical maturity will differ wildly, I also know that wanting to have sex is not a normal or natural desire of your average pre-teen, who half the time still wants to be treated like a little child when they think nobody is looking! Most 11- and 12-year-olds are still at the stage where they think sex is ‘absolutely gross’.
This ideological investment in teaching children how to have loving, mutually consensual sexual relationships is a recipe for disaster in a highly sexualised society, where the next opportunity for a cheap disposable, no-strings sexual thrill, is only one click away. One Universe reader commented last week that children need to be taught to deal with reality that they face, but classroom instruction on safe, consensual and respectful relationships is doing nothing more than conditioning vulnerable teenagers into thinking that sex is the inevitable and desirable consequence whenever they meet someone they fancy.
Caroline Farrow is a spokesperson for Catholic Voices.
Picture: Role model: Beyonce’s over-sexualised imagery is copied by her many young girl fans.Tags: Caroline Farrow, children, sex, sex agenda, society