Australian sex education campaign branded ‘concerning’ by activists

Australian sex education campaign branded 'concerning' by activists
A video showing a young woman smearing milkshake on a man's face is used as an example of requiring consent. Source: THE GOOD SOCIETY
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Daily US Times: The government of Australia has been criticised for a new sex education campaign designed to teach schoolchildren about sexual assault and consent.

The online programme uses metaphors such as smearing milkshake on someone’s face and eating tacos to depict abuse and disrespect.

Equality activists have described the videos as “concerning” and “bizarre”.

The Australian government has defended the campaign, which it said was created with the help of experts.

When announcing the sex education campaign last week, Education Minister Alan Tudge said: “These materials will provide additional support to better educate young Australians on these issues and have been designed to complement programmes already being offered by states and territories.”

The online learning platform, published on The Good Society website, includes more than 350 podcasts, videos and stories. It was developed as part of the Respect Matters programme, an Australian government’s scheme to teach respectful relationships in schools.

One video shows a teenage girl smearing milkshake on her boyfriend’s face without his permission. The video, designed for students aged between 14 and 17, then uses other examples of eating pizza and “touching your butt” as situations where permission would be required.

Another video about respecting other people’s choices and decisions shows a teenage girl doubting whether she wants to swim with sharks, while a boy tries to convince her to do so.

A section entitled “sex and gender norms” confuses “myths” and “norms”, for example by suggesting that ideas such as “females that wear short skirts want sex” and “males enjoy sex more than females” are examples of gender norms.

The learning material are described by the Good Society’s website as an “engaging, flexible, online program that helps students develop safe, healthy and respectful relationships”.

But anti-rape campaigners and women’s rights activists say the content is harmful, avoids using the words sex, assault or rape and does not reflect realistic situations or relationships.

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