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It was excellent to see the strong contingent of parents who joined us for Dr Tessa Opie’s Sexuality and Relationships seminar a fortnight ago. Equally pleasing has been the positive response from parents and students to the unit of work that our Year 8s have subsequently commenced studying. Tessa has delivered the first two of four Sexuality and Relationships presentations to the Year 8 students and our Health & PE teachers have continued the conversations during follow-up Health lessons.

This week’s presentation focused on ‘Gender, Power and Pornography’. Amongst a range of other figures and statistics, students learnt that:

  • the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is now 8 years old
  • the most frequent users of pornography are males aged 12-17
  • there is a correlation between watching violent pornography and perpetrating violence towards women, including sexual violence
  • 25% of sexually active students in Years 10-12 report an experience of unwanted sex
  • Only 2-3% of reported claims of sexual assault are false, a figure grossly overestimated by young males

One of the aims of the program is to support our students to understand how to be involved in mutually respectful, positive relationships where they are empowered to look after themselves and each other. The program also examines the roles played by passive bystanders to violence, including sexual violence, and the perceived negative impact that being an active bystander can have on your masculinity and acceptance within a peer group.

This topic segued beautifully into the moving presentation that Arman Abrahimzadeh delivered to Middle Years students this week. Arman spoke honestly and powerfully about his personal experiences of domestic violence which culminated in the tragic death of his mother, Zahra, at the hands of her husband in 2010. Arman has made it his life’s work to prevent domestic violence happening to other families. His work aligns perfectly with our commitment to White Ribbon Australia which was a focus for both Saints and PAC during Intercol Week. I encourage parents and caregivers to talk to your sons about this presentation, particularly ways that we can stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.

James Tamblyn
Head of Middle Years