Easy access porn to blame for teen sex abuse

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Easy access porn to blame for teen sex abuse

Easy access online pornography is being blamed for a surge in the sexual abuse of schoolgirls.

Figures from the UK show that up to a third of sixth-form girls (aged 16 - 18) had been touched inappropriately by boys in their school, and fingers are being pointed at the internet.

Related: Documentary exposes 12-year-olds who think porn is the norm

Ann Coffey, from the all-party parliamentary group on runaway and missing children, told British MPs that porn was distorting teenage boys' views of sex.

"There is a problem that boys are accessing adult websites which gives them a distorted attitude," she said.

"It gives them a sense of entitlement, which means they may touch a girl inappropriately and use bullying or coercive behaviour.

As the accessibility of online porn is difficult to regulate, the shocking statistics have led to a push for compulsory sex education in UK schools in order to give children and teenagers a more realistic sexual education, and to give those being abused the courage to speak out.

"To speak out, first children need to feel confident that what is happening to them is wrong and that is why sex and relationship education education in schools is so important," Ms Coffey said.

"They need to know, indeed they are entitled to know, about issues such as sexual consent, what sexual coercion and exploitation is and how to shape healthy relationships and respect for each other as well as alerting them to the signs that they are being sexually groomed."

A similar push is underway in Australia, where sex education is part of the curriculum but is not compulsory.

A national survey of 15-29 year olds released earlier this year showed that while some schools teach sex and relationship education comprehensively, other don't teach it at all.

Related: Why girls are having sex at 12

Australian figures show that 64 per cent of young people got information about sex from pornography, and most young people have an appetite for better sex education.

The push for more comprehensive compulsory sex education is not only coming from MPs, young people have an appetite for it too.

Eighty per cent of those surveyed supporting standardised sex education across the country, highlighting things like sex and pleasure, and sexuality, that they felt needed to be discussed in schools.

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