• THE AUSTRALIAN by Jennifer Oriel
There are few forms of predation that offend our common morality more than child sexual abuse. During the 1970s, pedophile groups capitalising on the sexual liberation movement sought to redefine their exploitation of youth as an expression of children’s sexual rights, self-determination and autonomy. Groups such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association claimed children were sexual beings and sought to repeal age of consent laws to liberate their sexuality. They were welcomed by fringe elements of the neo-Marxist minorities movement that advocated sexual libertarian ideology under Queer and “sex positive” politics.
Today, the discourse on children’s sexual rights and the belief they are sexual beings are invoked to justify school programs that sexualise youth at ever younger ages.
Daniel Andrews’ Labor left government in Victoria invokes neo-Marxist rhetoric to defend highly questionable school programs that encourage the sexualisation of children. The Safe Schools Coalition and Building Respectful Relationships programs were introduced using minority politics as the rationale. In each case, a state-designated minority group and political cause are aligned in a program of social change that uses youth as change agents. Program designers create an urgent health case for government funding without causal evidence to validate a linear relationship between program activities and core objectives.
The Safe Schools program was created for the state-designated minority group LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) for the cause of anti-bullying with the stated objective to improve health outcomes. The program encourages young people to become change agents for the cause of sexual ¬diversity. When the program was criticised by conservative Senator Cory Bernardi, Labor leader Bill Shorten accused him of homophobia. After community outrage following revelations that program co-founder Roz Ward designed Safe Schools as part of a Marxist social change strategy, the liberal coalition withdrew commonwealth funding beyond 2017. Despite the Marxist objective of the Safe Schools program — or perhaps because of it ¬¬¬— Daniel Andrews continues to defend it.
His education minister James Merlino vilified politicians concerned about the hard Left’s indoctrination of children, calling them “bigots”. It is uncertain what pejoratives Merlino, a heterosexual married man, has devised for the lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who oppose Queer politics and the Safe Schools program.
Unfortunately, the SSC debacle is not isolated. Last week, it transpired that the Andrews government had produced another school program that sexualises children. As with the SSC program, Building Respectful Relationships began with a state-designated minority group, women, aligned with the important cause of domestic violence prevention. The case for government funding was again framed as a health imperative, namely, the prevention of violence against women. And once again, the program was introduced in schools without causal evidence linking its exercises to the stated objective.
Like Safe Schools, the BRR program promotes a radical agenda divorced from its stated program objective. It promotes the sexualisation of children by inculcating techniques and beliefs centred on the premise that children are sexual. Instructors are encouraged to sexualise children, and children to sexualise themselves and their peers. They are asked to view highly sexualised personal ads and write their own, discuss transgenderism and anal sex. Program authors acknowledge that one exercise may cause “disassociation” in children.
Sexualising and inducing a dissociative state in children are methods of pedophilic predation. They are not methods of domestic violence prevention.
It is increasingly common to find the sexualisation of very young children promoted as part of sex education in schools. In 2009, the United Nations produced International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. The first iteration met with controversy after conservatives revealed it sexualised prepubescent children by promoting masturbation. The offending sections were removed only after public outcry.
NGOs have joined the UN in a push for radical sexual programs aimed at youth under the auspices of sexual diversity and sexual health. The International Planned Parenthood Foundation claims that “the taboo on youth sexuality is one of the key forces driving the AIDS epidemic”. In fact, the premature sexualisation of youth, especially the exploitation of girls for prostitution and other harmful cultural practices, have been key drivers of HIV transmission in Southeast Asia and Africa for ¬decades. Despite the fact, the IPPF asserts repeatedly that “young people are sexual beings” and criticises the Catholic Church for imposing barriers on young people, denying “pleasurable and positive aspects of sex”. Its solution is comprehensive sexuality education, which it describes as perhaps “the single most important gift that parents can offer to their children”.
The Netherlands government promotes comprehensive sexuality education in what some call the Dutch model. Under the Dutch CSE model, schoolchildren begin sexual programs at four years of age. Modules for young children include “what feels nice” and “does bare make you blush?” Lessons marketed under the “Spring Fever” package include “being naked”, a module that explores nudity, undressing and being in the bath.
It is unclear why any adult would solicit an account of how a child undresses or why the Dutch state would mandate such discussion in schools. CSE advocates defend their programs with studies that indicate efficacy, but mainly in comparison to abstinence programs. There is a more moderate middle path that provides children requisite knowledge in biology, safety from violence and mutual respect without encouraging their sexualisation in activities that resemble grooming.
The sexualisation of childhood by governments and NGOs should be a source of broad community concern. The state has no business interfering in childhood by conditioning children’s sexual responses. As a whole, parents remain the best arbiters of their children’s morality and guardians of their development. Australian children are ranked 14th in literacy and 19th in mathematics according to OECD reports. Governments should take remedial classes in teaching kids the basics of reading, writing and arithmetical instead of indulging messianic pretensions to parenting by proxy.