Sexual Assault Prevention Education and Comprehensive Sex Education: Why the two go hand-in-hand

Here at CCS we have an entire department dedicated to prevention and education, where our Prevention Coordinators go out into the community to engage folks in the prevention of relationship and sexual violence. As one of the educators, my job means talking to people of all ages about healthy relationships, how the media influences our views on relationships and gender, what consent is and how we get it from our partners, and how we can be UPstanders in our community.

I am afforded the wonderful opportunity to work with primarily high-school age youth to talk about these topics in fun culturally humble, developmental, and age appropriate ways. I do this through different lenses in an effort to meet my students where they are at. Additionally, I teach them through a comprehensive sex education model, because we cannot talk about sexual violence prevention without talking about sexuality education. Through our classes we are teaching youth about healthy and ethical sexuality, while also defining what sexual violence is. We want our youth to grow up to be sexually healthy young adults, who will become sexually healthy adults!

Why is this important to discuss? Sex education often gets a negative rap for teaching youth inappropriate topics about sex – but that couldn’t be further from the case. Comprehensive, medically accurate, inclusive, age and developmentally appropriate sexuality education helps youth to build beliefs, attitudes, and values around human sexuality. In addition, these beliefs, attitudes, and values are developed in conjunction to the messages and education youth receive at home, in their communities, from their faith, etc. By teaching our youth to have healthy sexuality, we are preventing sexual violence in our communities.

I am asarah-diamond-pay-it-forward-national-sexed-conferencelways looking for new ways to engage youth on topics like consent, healthy relationships, and gender. As an educator, I look to my fellow colleagues in the field to learn from them. One of those ways is at conferences, like the National Sex Ed Conference held every year. It is a huge honor to say I was awarded the National Sex Ed Conference Pay It Forward scholarship this year. Through this conference, I will be able to further my knowledge in the field. I am excited to learn new things and be able to implement them in the classes I teach.

Sarah Diamond holds a Master of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University, and focuses on the intersections of comprehensive sex education and sexual assault prevention education.

 

By Sarah Diamond, CCS Prevention Coordinator, M.Ed.

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