Students Analysed Pornography as Guidance for Respectful Relationships Behaviour

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By Athena Yenko | July 23, 2013 12:17 PM EST

As part of a respectful relationship curriculum for students in years 8 and 9, the Education Department at a Victorian state school included an activity wherein students were to analyse pornography to be able to discern what respectful relationships behaviour was supposed to be.

The activity aimed for students to keenly know the difference between what was unacceptably done in pornography and what should be rightfully done in real-life relationships as a form of respect to their future partners. The activity also required students to ask their parents about what they think about pornography.

Stuart Teather, spokesman for the Education Department said that "sexualised imagery and exposure to pornography is shaping young people's sexual expectations and practices in a range of sexual health areas such as body image, sense of self and safe sex practices. Schools are free to run sexuality education programs that are suited to their specific communities - some schools do this with the support of community agencies."

The respectful relationship curriculum was the Education Department's answer to a research from Deakin University academic Debbie Ollis, Brophy Family and Youth Services adolescent sexuality expert Maree Crabbe, the Herald Sun reported.

According to their research, "Pornography has become the main sex educator for many young people, driven by increased accessibility to pornographic images and videos online. Pornography was often aggressive and does not reflect the kind of sex that many people, particularly women, want or enjoy."

The research also revealed that pornography commonly depicted sex as violent, with 88 percent of the scenes showing violent acts of slapping, gagging and choking a sexual partner. What was even disturbing was that 94 percent of the violent scenes were inflicted towards female sexual partners. Usually, the scenes showed women liking the violence imposed on them during sex, giving young people the wrong idea.

The study also revealed that more than 90 percent of 13- to 16-year-old boys and 60 percent of girls the same age were already accessing pornography online.

Susie O'Brien from the Herald Sun said that the young people were "not just watching it, though, they're using it as a sexual primer, teaching them about what to expect from their sexual relationships. What that means will probably shock you: it means they're learning that rough, sexist, brutal sex is not only normal, but expected."

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