A recent Panorama report has revealed data from 38 of the 43 police forces of England and Wales showing 30,000 reports of child-on-child sexual assault in the last four years, marking a 71% increase. They further revealed that 2,625 offences – with 225 alleged rapes – occurred on school premises, including primary school playgrounds, while reports of sexual offences by children aged 10 and under went from 204 in 2013-14 to 456 in 2016-17 (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/09/child-on-child-sexual-assaults-soar-police-figures-reveal).
Now some people argue that this is just a case of better reporting – ‘twas ever thus,’ they say. But this does not seem substantiated by the facts. Certainly children have always shown a healthy interest in what were once coyly termed ‘the facts of life’, but adolescents of the 50s and 60s were obsessing more over their pimples and wanting to be ‘hip’, than they were about sex. Sure, there were reports of the odd illicit kiss being stolen behind the bicycle shed, but that was usually as far as it went. So no, the truth would seem to be that children today are being prematurely and unhealthily ‘sexualised’ – not just by social and cultural pressures via television and media, but by the very education programmes ostensibly designed for their protection in schools. Which programmes, combined with the obsession to teach tolerance and diversity as a means of reinforcing British values, seem to have become a vehicle for indoctrination into the rebranded immorality and promiscuity so enthusiastically being pushed by adults with the power and determination to influence policy.
This is madness. If nothing else, these shocking figures demonstrate that children can neither assimilate nor cope with the sexual laissez-faire being promoted by adults. By definition, children have enquiring minds. We want them to apply their learning and to explore – how then can we be surprised when they do, when from the age of six we teach them the A to Z of sex, devoid of any kind of moral differentiation? So masturbation becomes healthy ‘self’ expression… anal sex a means of avoiding pregnancy… and so on.
Are these really the lessons most of us want to teach our children? Are they the lessons we should be teaching our children?
Placing all the emphasis on sex, while failing to teach children how precious they are – and how special the gift of sex is – is nothing short of abuse. It comes from adults who want to legitimise their own personal inclinations and promiscuity. Children don’t need to learn about unsavoury sexual practices like fisting or sunflowering – and if you haven’t come across the terms yet, look them up on the ‘Sextionary’ section of Respect Yourself, the sexual resource currently being put out to children and young people in Warwickshire (https://respectyourself.info). Rather, children need to be taught true respect – first for themselves, and then for others. And, as a part of that, they need to be able to identify perversions, and taught how to avoid them.
The truth is that we are failing as a society to protect and prepare our children, and, as a consequence, they are suffering. Teaching young people restraint is not unhealthy repression and denial of their human rights. Rather, it is giving them space to develop safely and in their own time, protected from the unhealthy and sometimes unsavoury excesses of certain adult desires.
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