|Posted:||April 21, 2021 03:02 PM|
|From:||Representative Brian Sims and Rep. Jessica Benham|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Sexuality Education and Affirmative Sexual Consent|
|Students in Pennsylvania deserve to have a health and sexuality education that empowers them, teaches them to value their autonomy and keeps them safe. Sexuality education is vitally important; it should be comprehensive and include inclusive, accessible, science-based information with the goal of holistically supporting the health and wellbeing of young people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that “comprehensive sex education programs have been shown to reduce high-risk sexual behavior, a clear factor for sexual violence victimization and perpetration.” Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health thoroughly reviewed literature published in the last three decades about the effectiveness of comprehensive sex education. The Journal found that beyond clear improvements to sexual health outcomes, rates of domestic and intimate partner violence decreased and students who were victims of violence were more likely to report it. Bystander intervention also increased, homophobic attitudes and bullying declined, students developed knowledge and skills related to healthy relationships, and they learned attitudes and skills related to personal safety and bodily autonomy which included child abuse prevention.
The myriad benefits of comprehensive sexuality education have been proven time and again. This is why Representative Benham and I are reintroducing legislation to require that schools teach age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sexuality education to all grade levels. For elementary school students, this includes concepts like identifying unwelcome and unwanted touching and progresses to contraception methods for older students. Our legislation would also mandate the teaching of affirmative consent as part of the required sexual violence awareness and prevention educational program at institutions of higher education. This legislation will require programing that helps children to identify and avoid risky sexual behaviors and supports the development of positive relationships with others and themselves.
Please join us in supporting this legislation to safeguard the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s children.
Introduced as HB1335