Fighting Sex Trade

A recent U.N. survey estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under age 18 were forced to have sexual intercourse or experienced other forms of sexual violence in 2002.

As a prospective teacher, this statistic is alarming. The idea that kids are being traded in exchange for food is a terrible and true reality. Although this is not due to lack of education alone, a larger part of this is poverty. Many people in Brazil are impoverished to the point of starvation. The only alternative to many people is to sell their daughters into the world of sex trade. Because many girls drop out of school, their olny way of earning any income at all is to begin prostituting their bodies for money or food.

Just recently was the minimum sentence for child pornography increased from 2 years to four years in Brazil. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many people have found Brazil to be the main sex tourism destination in the world.

Many young boys and girls are sold into the sex trade by their family’s poverty and the only way for the rest of the family to eat is to sell their children as sexual slaves. Now that the UN is beginning to get involved, hopefully this will start to change. But as a student, I have to wonder how they will start the changing process.

Obviously education would be a great way to create some change and alter many cultural norms. But because most can’t afford to go to school and eat too, the main problem is poverty. Because children have little to no control over their bodies in Brazil, it is obvious that something needs to be done about the increasing poverty. I think that the UN needs to have an “overhaul” in Brazil. If they created a program for kids that was like a “boarding-school” then many of the sex tourism and trade issues would eventually dissipate. Kids should live and eat at their same-sex schools and learn about safe sex and contraception. I believe they should also be taught a trade  for something they could use to earn money for their families. I think this should be a stimulus package for the families, they should receive food in exchange for their children.

A concern about this is also on a cultural level. In a Brazilian prison, a fifteen year old girl was put in a cell with 21 men for weeks while they were allowed to rape, torture, and starve her. They would only give her food in exchange for sexual favors. I think that the UN has an obligation to educate the Brazilian people on what is and should be illegal according to the wellbeing of the Brazilial youth.

This article also calls for credit card companies to release records about child pornography on the internet. This would allow the respective governments to correct this behavior according to cultural norms and values. Obviously many actions could be taken by people to remedy this situation, or in the very least, to aid this situation. The major question is how best to end this behavior and how to educate cultures where this behavior is accepted.

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The AIDS fight at home

As we all know AIDS is an epidemic effecting ennumberable amounts of people globally today. What we don’t know is how it is effecting our own lives in the United States. Many people are focused on the overseas and third world country fights against the disease, but they lose sight of the fact that people here are suffering too.

This article chronicles the efforts of Bush to address the AIDS problem in Africa. What this article also shows is that little to nothing is being done to treat and prevent AIDS in the US. In most urban areas, many people are suffering with HIV/AIDS.

One of the focuses on this article is the PEPFAR program. This anagram for President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief has been featured in many African countries over the past several years. This program attempts to educate people about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. It also it trying to develop a cure for the HIV virus and AIDS disease. This is an intersting dilemma because of the lack of stem cell research currently allowed in American medicine,

The PEPFAR program helped thousands of HIV positive women give birth to HIV free children over the years of it’s implementation. This is one of the reasons many people are calling for PEPFAR programs in inner city regions.

As a prospective teacher, I think that many kids in urban areas need the guidance that a program like this would offer. My question to others is this: why is it that this program is being “tested” on people abroad and no additional aid is being offered to American people readily? As a teacher, how do I explain issues like that to students and families suffering from the epidemic?

I think one of the ways urban kids can relate to this is to have a forum or workshop to gain knowledge about HIV and AIDS alone. This important step can be the doorway to conversations in the home about prevention and safe sex. The more kids are made aware of the risks involved with sex and promiscuity, the more they will attempt to act in a responsible and safer way.

This article also poses the idea that the Obama administration ought to expand upon this program  to have it in the united states in urban settings. The kids in these settings are already “at risk” and this should be an opporunity to have those kids be more aware of their surroundings for their own good. Assignments could be given that require parents to have a conversation about contraception and safer sex practices which would opent he lines for communication with their students. The more opportunities that offered to parents, the better. Kids need to be told time and time again that sex needs to be practiced in a safe way, this cannot just be a one time conversation. I hope that the Obama administration does something about the rising AIDS and HIV statistics in this country especially in urban areas.

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TV shows affect viewers’ habits

When we were younger, most shows were focused on one or two characters, usually animnated, and their interactions with other people. Very seldom was sex alluded to or even mentioned. It seems that today more shows are featuring sex as a main theme of the show or even as a common issue at hand. Alarmingly, these shows NEVER talk about safer sex practices and kids watching these shows never get that important piece of the puzzle. All kids know is that their heroes like Jamie Lynn Spears and now GOP Gubanatorial daughter shows no signs of remorse.

This is a scary place for kids to be considering that many emulate what they see in pop culture today. This article proves to be a turning point because of the statistics it contains about kids today. Of 2,003 kids polled from ages 12 to 17, many watched these “sexually charged” shows and it resulted in innapropriate behavior for their age. One of the most striking facts about this is that 718 kids in thos polled were sexually active; perhaps more scary, 58 girls said that they had become pregnant over the course of the study. There is clearly a good correllation between sexually charged shows and teen sexual activity rates.

Although correllation in no way mean causation, this is still a good tool for teachers to gauge how “at risk” their students are. By keeping an eye on what kids are watching and why, teachers can be better equipped to teach sexual education.

I have one scenario in mind, by using some of the scenes from a sexually charged show, students could then point out unsafe sex and unhealthy relationships to determine how accurate these shows are. By proving that these shows are fictional and not realistic, perhaps kids will realize how dangerous their actions truly are.

I do understand that kids will do what they want regardless of attempts from parents and peers. However, if they would have the knowledge to make those choices with safety in mind then perhaps we wouldn’t have the STD and teen pregnancy rates that we do.

I think it is impopssible to turn on the TV without finding a sexually charged show on some regular access channel. This amount of “sex publicity” can be very misleading, especially for younger kids. I think to address the situation using these more popular media outlets could help us in the prevention of disease and pregnancy.

Although this study has it’s limitations, an earlier study mentioned in this article has shown that students who watch music videos have a tendency to be sexually active earlier in life. Also that of these people who watch music videos many are more at risk for STDs and STIs.

Most importantly, I do not think that censorship is the best way to deal with this. I think that situations like this ought to be provided to teachers to be more effective in the classroom. These are tools that can be the most help to contraception and safer sex when presented properly. I hope that others will see this as a possibility and not just something that should be censored. Kids will do what they want, I think we have a responsibility to make it as safe as possible for them to do so.

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Cross Cultural Sexual Education Rising Problem

As a feminist, I find myself constantly looking for ways to improve the standing of women in the world. One thing I need to be aware of in my classroom is personal opinions of parents and students regarding my beliefs on feminism. While I think we are extremely familiar with the idea of cultural differences, I think we also need to be aware of cultural stigmatas in other cultures. This article shows the development, or lack thereof, of sexual education in Russia and it’s effects on it’s citizens.

While most American women would be filing a lawsuit in event of a rape, Russian women are all too vulnerable. In Russia, rape is very common because men beleive that women have no right to avoid their advances. This is problematic for children in Russia because it immediately displays unhealthy secual behaviors. But Russian women and men still employ the same ideals about marriage as they aslways have, no sexual education, period.

Although this method doesn’t work for the US, we find that in Russia, clinging to traditional values has helped recently in sexual relationships. Apparently, after the fall of the Soviets, Russia’s once tradional values became clouded with overt sex. According to this article, there was an increase in sex everywhere and an overall lack of sex education for everyone. Some evening shows feature fully naked women and subsequently the objectification of women in Russia.

This proves to be a value that Russian women hold onto becuase a young woman, 21, said that she “fulfilled her greatest desire” by getting married last year. “Everything else is secondary” she says. Another common idea is that men will go out and earn a living, while women should take care of the home.

A successful Russian woman said it is nearly impossible for her to have relationships with Russian men because they are seeking submissive women and are threatened by strong women. Most Russian men generally attempt to keep women in the dark about precautions in relation to contraception and sexual safety. This has a bad impact on the AIDS epidemic which is rapidly spreading accross Russia.

The lack of sex education is considered one of the main contributing factors to the abortion problem in Russia. Abortion in considered an accepted form of contraception in Russia because more information is not widely spread.

A concern of mine is how to deal with cultural differences effected by lack of sexual education. Women coming from Russia would then seem more at risk for unhealthy sex than American women. I think that sex education should be a mandatory subject in all student exchange programs to prevent situations like this one. This is just one example of the outcomes of little or no sexual education can have on a growing population.

This general concern of mine is founded on the idea that perhaps there should even be an international protocol for the education of students in regard to STDs and namely the spread of AIDS. I think a continuing unit on the prevention of pregnancy should be reccommended at older ages. Clearly this idea can help to show kids that this is an issue that they can remedy with knowledge. Hopefully this will prove ultimately that knowledge, no matter how old the recipient, is power.

For more information on this piece click here to read or here to listen

emotional aspect of sex ed explored

As most adults are aware, kids can have many worries and concerns that they may not feel comfortable discussing with parents, teachers, or even peers. So what are these kids supposed to do? This article discusses the attempts of an English charity to curb that isolation.

This charity relates to kids via a hotline they can call to ask questions and talk about concerns in their lives. Over 6,000 kids called this hotline from April of ’07 to March of this year with concerns about pregnancy and sex alone. Many of these kids have anxiety about feeling pressured about sex and performing sexual acts as young as twelve years old.

Although this “childline” has helped many kids in the UK, it raises many questions from the educational perpective. I would definitely refer one my students to an informational outpost about sex and contrception if they needed it. But then again, I would be teaching at the high school level and many of the taboos about sex education would be less-severe than at the middle school ages. I think schools should at least advertise about informational outlets for kids to talk about their concerns with sexual pressures and general questions. From this aspect, I think that if kids chose to engage in sexual acts, they will have the knowledge, if they seek it out, to act in the safest and healthiest way possible.

I see this only as a last resort for kids who are discouraged to seek information on sex and contraception in any other manner than abstinance only. I think by talking to kids about their emotions on sex, it opens up a forum for kids to talk about more concerns and pressures where they normally would be limited. I believe that this would be a helpful tool for both kids and educators to use for information to help kids stay safe and feel “normal” about their sexually charged emotions.

Once concern that I have about this informational outlet is that parents will no longer see the need for in class sexual education. Or perhaps even worse, parents will not see the need for conversations about sex and sexual rediness with their kids. I think that although this would be a great system for kids to use, I think it should be used as a combination with general sex education in schools for the maximum prevention of STDs and pregnancy.

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Relationships start young in GB

In my middle school, we had a huge dispute in whether or not sex education should be mandatory at that level. Some parents had major concerns and even ended up taking their children out of school on the days that the class was taught to us. This article shows the advances, not only in thought about sex education, but action as well in Great Britian.

As this article shows, England has decided to debate the idea of mandatory “relationship education” in schools when children hit age five. This new policy has stirred up some contraversy of it’s own amongst parents and religious leaders alike. Some of the contraversy has to do with what sort of information will be taught to the children. A stunning fact is that 2/3 of parents polled would support a school teaching kids about “relationships” from the age of eleven, not five.

The main idea about the approach to younger kids is the acclimation of kids to signs of a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Then, based on these qualities, the kids will have better ideas about abusive and pressured situations later on in life. Another quality about this approach is the inclusion of religious ideals. Students will have more of an opportunity to learn according to their own religious teachings about sex and contraception. By learning in this way, students will learn the different approaches to sex education and hopefully open the door to more conversations with parents.

Like most curriculuum in the US, sex education is taught as part of the sciences throughout education in the UK. But many officials are claiming this new policy is “brilliant” and “about time” to equip teachers and educators the tools to aid our kids.

A concern of mine is about what will specifically be taught about relationships. I think the unit on what qualifies as a healthy relationship is an excellent idea, but as far as actual contraception and birth control, there is a limit to how much I think a kindergartener needs to know. Most kids need to learn the essentials of healthy relationships with parents and peers as well as love interests. I think that addressing sex on a scientific level at that age is appropriate, as long as it is done in the most religiously respectful way possible. I think this entire issue requires a strong educator to parent communication. The child and parent need to be communicating with eachother and the educator in terms of acceptance and emotional state during this unit.

I do think that without this communication, students will not benefit fully from the course. In a more consequential point of view, teachers must be trained well in specifically teaching sex education to small children. I think something that may help this is to have a liscened state employee (psychologist) to come into the classroom setting and present information to kids. This person would have to be highly skilled in the area of childhood development and child interaction. Most of all, this person would need to be in constant contact with the teacher of the class. Seeing as how this is a huge undertaking for most schools and their curriculums, it is no surprise that is has gone on without much more thought in the United States.

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National AIDS awareness

I think we all remember the AIDS awareness days in elementary school. I was in the “lucky” class that got to go to the AIDS rememberance quilt. Things like this let us know from a young age what is not only a frightening and all too real outcome. This article, by the American Free Press, adresses what leaders accross the world are doing to raise awareness in their own countries during this dire time in AIDS prevention. While some leaders are meerely “tooting their horns” about their efforts in the past (Bush), most are attempting to focus on the future of the desease and it’s prevention.

This article proves that sex education is an issue that many different countries are trying to deal with currently. While some are trying to harness the sex education of school aged children in the prevention fight, it seems most are becomign limited with the amount of aid offered from the countries in economic unrest. Because many third world countries are afflicted with AIDS and/or HIV they are reliant on the medical and financial aid from more powerful and stable countries. Because of the issues in our current economy, many abroad are worried that they will no longer be able to count on the US for aid in the future.

This kind of turbulence in the prevention of the disease can cause a more serious and long term problem by not educating the youth of the afflicted areas. Without having access to health centers and other educational mediums, kids are automatically put at higher risk for contraction of HIV.

I think that this proves that no matter who proves to benefit from sex education, funding should not be cut for children. Prevention is clearly the only way, at present, to cure this deadly disease. By keeping a constant tab on what is happening on a local level, we as educators can help to educate grade level students in need of guidance. This awareness can aid other children as they transition into high school and may submit to peer-pressures.

An interesting way AIDS is addressed in Asia, namely in India. In Myinmar, of the 240,000 people living with HIV/ AIDS, over 2/3 of people are under the age of 24. There is also no prescribed method of sex education in schools, both public and private. This ultimately has the greatest influence on the child’s behavior and beliefs of sexual propriety, including birth control.

Generally, I think this article argues the increaing benefits and limitations of AIDS awareness in the current age. Although it focuses moreso on the statistics and political motivations of the leaders and their effect on their citizens; I think this article serves its purpose with the educational community and shows what we as educators ought to do in regard to sex education.

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Single-Sex Ed Takes Hold in South Carolina : NPR

via Single-Sex Ed Takes Hold in South Carolina : NPR

Single-sex ed takes hold in South Carolina

Originally I was not planning on blogging on this particular subject, but because it effects how we look at sex education in general, I think it is a worth while endeavor.

I was listening to NPR’s show All Things Considered and found a piece chronicling the education of children in South Carolina to be interesting. This particular story was covered in detail and left me wondering exactly what the teachers’ motive was for teaching in this way.

Some 97 schools in South Carolina have adopted the one sex classroom and even school to promote a more educational atmosphere in a school setting. Some schools in Georgia and even California have adopted this method in private education, but this is taking place as a public school attempt at higher test scores.

The idea that “When kids go to school together its all about who is wearing what, separately its about who you are and who knows what”. This opinion was offered in the piece and to anyone with time spent in the public high school field can attest to that fact. However, this separation can be detrimental to students’ development according to some parents.

Some believe that the intermingling of the sexes should be encouraged because “that’s reality”. By limiting the actual experience of students’ to their same sexed peers can be limiting in terms of knowledge acquired about interacting with the other sex.

While this piece highlighted serious learning differences between male and female school children such as: boys need to move around while learning, colder classrooms, a harsher and more demanding teacher, and shame used as a learning tactic. Girls need a quiet environment, the chance to ask a question in front of peers, to sit and work, and to receive words of encouragement from authority figures.

Although I hear these facts, I do believe that a gray area exists there. It is said that the schools and classes are split between males and females by sex, not gender. This leaves room for males and females who are gender confused without a healthy place to learn. As a prospective teacher, I want to create a healthy and calm educational environment for all of my students. This particular teaching technique would make it very difficult for those individuals to find support and encouragement. Also, the variations in education are not specified in this article. I do not know whether the curriculum is the same for both groups or whether it is different depending on the group. Lastly, the lack of interaction between these groups of sexes can be negatively attributed to teen-pregnancy rates and the idea of the ineffective “abstinence only” sex education.

Ultimately, because we do not know the long term effects of this teaching method, we cannot pass judgement on its efficacy. Instead, as with all new techniques, I believe that the students should have a choice as to what they want, also that this should be watched by parents and experts as it unfolds. Until then, let us hope that the students in these schools are receiving the best education they can.

fourteen year old and sex education

I have found that there is a thin line of what is acceptable behavior in school. Today we find that there are different things going on in schools than from the time even we, as college students, experienced. This is not the first instance of an out- of- school incident has had repercussions in the school setting. The more that students are out of touch with correct information on sex-education, the more these incidents will turn up.

This particular incident occurred when a fourteen year old girl had “both her face and genitals” exposed in this picture message being sent among the teens’ friends. This photo has already been shared with about one hundred of the students in the district. At this rate, the real question comes into play as to whether or not the school has the right to discipline its students based on out of school behavior. Also, the personal view of responsibility comes into play; had the school district taken a pro-active approach about the sex education of its students, perhaps this incident would not have taken place.

Sex education in this article would have made a significant difference in the lives of the young people whom took an active role in this incident. For the years to follow that this fourteen year old girl is in this school system, she will be derided because of this action alone. How should a teacher act as a representative of the administration while still being approachable by the students?

As a prospective teacher, I have found this article to be concerning. In my own opinion, I think the students should feel comfortable speaking with a teacher about personal issues while also respecting a personal boundary. The student teacher relationship is one that could have aided this situation to end differently. The more often sexual situations are discussed as a preventative measure, the fewer instances of underage sexual conduct in school there will be. This could be either in school or in the homes of the students. An issue that students have faced is the difficulty to approach the topic with their parents and vice versa. In a school supported, sexual education course students would be able to have a healthy environment as an outlet for these questions and pressures they find themselves in.

As per the school punishing its students in school for out of school activities, I think there is a more effective way to go about dealing with student conflicts about sex in the school system. Perhaps suspension is not the correct way to make a lasting impression of right versus wrong in this situation for the students involved. A comprehensive course offered either before or after school for the students involved by the guidance department regarding consequences of students’ actions. This course can also cover such information as sex education and also a better way of dealing with attention seeking behaviors in school. I believe that parents should also take a preventative role in the lives of their students. For one day, the parents should take part in “class” with their student and have an authoritative outlook/ role with their student from that point on. As a united front, both the school and home life of the student will be supporting a different path for that particular student.

As most high school students may find, the things in high school will not follow you to college. But they can affect the choices that you make in your life to come. By beginning with a strong stance on student wellbeing focused, a school district can be a helpful asset to the individual student. If a school system can be seen as understanding and not as a punishing aspect of school, students will be much more receptive and confident as members of the school community.

http://www.mlive.com/annarbornews/news/index.ssf/2008/10/school_officials_suspend_10_pi.html

10 Pinckney students suspended over revealing photo of 14-year-old girl

by Leanne Smith | The Ann Arbor News

Monday October 20, 2008, 8:07 PM

Sex in School

After reading this article, I was left with many conflicting feelings about what should and should not be allowed in public school settings. On one level, this article explains the role of teen pregnancy not only as a serious problem, but also as a preventable occurrence. While many seem to dispute this fact, they also seem to embrace the idea that abstinence only sex education is working well enough. As to the statistic mentioned in this article, that 750,000 teens will become pregnant this year alone, clearly this stance on sex education is not working. The article also cited that teens are very capable of seeking this information for themselves via the Internet or other technology based resources. I find this to be most disturbing of all. As educators, they have the responsibility not only to teach their subject of expertise, but also to shape the lives of the teens in their classroom. If a teen is experimenting with sex or asks questions about sex, they should have an accurate and helpful resource to count on for that information. Ignoring the problem is the same as denying there is a problem. As a prospective teacher, I believe this is the worst thing an authority figure can do. The more students are ignored, the more they will be left to their own devices, one of which was briefly alluded to in this article as well. A group of teens in Massachusetts all have gotten pregnant as a sort of “club” or elite statement of popularity. Clearly if they were alerted of the risks and serious nature of their choices, perhaps they would not have made them in the first place. The pay off of such an asset as a sex education class can not only be helping to prevent teen pregnancy, but also the prevention of contracting STDs and STIs at a young age. This article also stated that three in ten teen girls will become pregnant before the age of 20. Although there is no “cure-all” for this situation, I believe that addressing the problem to teens as you would adults will warrant an in depth discussion as well as providing a knowledgeable base on which they can make more informed decisions. On a more personal note, the things about which people chose to remain ignorant make me sick. Just because one is uncomfortable with information or think it to be indecent to discuss, it does not make it right for them to withhold knowledge from people who need it most.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94332508

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