GIOVENTU » Sex Education Initiative to tackle violent crimes

Sex Education Initiative to tackle violent crimes

According to figures from women's rights organization “Telefono Rosa”, last year alone 128 women in Italy were victims of femicide, while thousands more have suffered domestic abuse or were victims of stalking.

 

Figures from Istat released in 2015 showed that the majority of femicides and rapes in Italy are carried out by partners or ex-partners. The overall number of incidents have declined slightly but acts of violence are becoming more serious, with more women risking their lives.

 

Currently, sex education is totally lacking from the Italian school curriculum.

The Italian feminist association FCome argues that introducing classes on sex education, consent, and gendered violence, into the Italian school curriculum, is necessary in order to tackle the "wave" of violent crimes against women. 

 

According to FCome  better sex education in schools would contribute to end a culture of gendered violence. Children from a young age should be taught about varying gender identities, informed consent, and violence. Part of the programme should be also how to recognize different forms of abuse, including emotional, cyber-bullying, and physical or sexual abuse. The concept of consent is crucial. Young people should be taught to understand their bodies and emotions in order to be able to consent (or not) to any experience with true awareness.

 

According to a 2015 bill there should be a commitment to raising awareness of gender-based discrimination and violence in schools, but the recommendations introduced with the bill are quite vague and the bill lacks any objectives, time-frames or procedures for putting reforms into practice.

 

Italy's lack of sex education contrasts with European trends. In many EU countries compulsory classes on consent have been included in some curricula together with workshops on healthy relationships introduced at university level.

 

In Italy there is also the opposition of numerous Catholic and socially conservative groups who are against introducing sex and gender education into Italian schools.

While there are no concrete guidelines for sex education on a national level, individual schools and regions have made some efforts to tackle the problem.

In northern Turin, schools introduced classes on healthy relationships and consent in 2013. Schoolboys are taught how to treat women with respect through texts and role playing, while girls are taught to have more respect for themselves and their own feelings.  

Giulia Lombardo

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