Family First NZ is calling for the government to withdraw funding of Family Planning and Rainbow Youth's sex education programmes, resources and websites which fail to tell the full facts and which compromise the concerns and wishes of parents, and the safety of young people.
"Despite groups like Family Planning and Rainbow Youth being challenged by US psychiatrist Dr Miriam Grossman to a debate last week to defend their websites and pamphlets targeted at young people, they ran for cover. They also appeared to take down one of the offending websites during Dr Grossman's visit," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Family First is especially concerned about websites such as curious.org.nz, theword.org.nz, getiton.co.nz and a number of Family Planning pamphlets.
"The current approach in NZ sows confusion about right and wrong and says the moral absolute is - use condoms. The government should fund evidence-based education resources which are approved by parents rather than saying one thing to parents and another to their children. Family Planning receives more than $11m from the government of which $2.6m is for education."
A nationwide poll in January 2012 of 600 young people aged 15-21 found that only 19% supported just the 'safe sex' message currently being taught in schools, with one in three (34%) wanting 'values, abstinence, and consequences such as pregnancy' taught instead, and a further 42% asking for a combination of both - especially amongst older teens. A poll of parents in 2010 found that three out of four parents of young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education - with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the 'wait' message.
"This is a direct rebuke from young people to the 'use a condom' and 'everyone's doing it' messages being pushed by groups like Family Planning, AIDS Foundation and Rainbow Youth," says Mr McCoskrie.
"Many parents were rightly horrified last year when details of what was being taught in schools under the guise of 'sex education' surfaced. Judging by the results of the current approach - which is a good place to start - sex education has been an utter failure. New Zealand has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the OECD, our STD rates are out of control, and the number of teenage girls having abortions is tragically high."
"For those youth who are sexually active, they are not being told the truth. Groups like the Family Planning Association and the AIDS Foundation are perpetuating the myth that as long as you use a condom, you can pretty well do what you like in terms of promiscuity, experimentation, and fringe behaviours - with little or no information on the physical or emotional ramifications or prevention of disease."
In one example, a mixed class of boys and girls were asked by the AIDS Foundation if they had masturbated lately and were given condoms and strawberry-flavoured lubricant. They were also given a leaflet featuring graphic pictures, terms including "co*k" and "wa*k", and advice on the best condoms. Reports last year highlighted that children as young as 12 are being taught about oral sex and told it's acceptable to play with a girl's private parts as long as "she's okay with it". In other cases, 14-year-old girls are being taught how to put condoms on plastic penises, and one female teacher imitated the noises she made during orgasm to her class of 15-year-olds. One concerned father took his 12-year-old son out of a sex education class at his all-boy school after he came home upset about what had happened during one of the lessons. It included a question-and-answer session that focused on, "I have learned that my girlfriend has a thing called a clitoris. I really want to play with it. Is that okay?" The answer was: "Yes, if you ask her and she's okay with it."
"A government-funded organization should be willing and able to defend their ideology and services which the taxpayer funds. It is time the government held them accountable," says Mr McCoskrie.
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