Why this story matters:
The current Polish educational system completely ignores sex education, deeming it an incentive for “risky sexual behavior”. It has therefore been entirely eliminated by a recent educational reform, criticized by both teachers and parents.
Nowadays, instead of sex education, children and teenagers attend so-called “family life education”. There, instead of learning about contraception, they are introduced to NaProTechnology and other strategies for family planning endorsed by the Catholic Church.
Anja Rubik, Poland's most famous super model, decided to take action to fill the gap that this reform created in the basic education of Polish teens. She and her friends from the creative and entertainment industries created SexEdPl - an educational social media campaign that just went live online this past weekend.
The campaign consists of short videos in which Polish artists and public figures discuss everything from masturbation and consent, to doctor's visits and birth control.
Poland desperately needs sexual education
Sex education should be critical in a country where hundreds of thousands of women and men took to the streets on Black Monday in September 2016 to protest the curbing of an already draconian abortion law. And where 87% of women admit to having fallen prey to some kind of sexual harassment. Instead of safe and legal conditions, thousands of women in Poland turn to risky black market abortions.
Although official, governmental statistics mention a couple of thousand illegal procedures per year, feminist associations and NGOs estimate that the real number is between 90 to 180 thousand. Solid sex education could be the only way to realistically reduce this number. Maybe that's why the whole country is talking about SexEdPl.
Aside from practicle information, the campaign also strives to address the underlying paradigm where, as Anja Rubik puts it,
"Boys grow up in a culture which permits pulling up girls’ skirts, playing with their bras, and forecefully stealing kisses."
When such behavior is commonplace, it creates fertile ground for sexism and misogyny that are the foundation of Poland's deeply rooted rape culture.
The statistics are ruthless -- 90% of rape victims never report the crime to police. In a recent interview with Wysokie Obcasy, Iwona Byśkiniewicz from the Centre of Women’s Rights, an expert on sexual violence, explained that
the prevalent conviction in Poland is still,“if a bitch doesn’t put out, a dog doesn't take”.
Perhaps Rubik’s campaign will help parents take sex education into their own hands, so that future generations will not fall pray to ignorance in the bedroom and refrain from victim blaming so consistently. After this weekend's launch, it seems that #sexedpl is going viral. How cool is that?
Details from the story:
- On October 28, the educational campaign #sexedpl created by Anja Rubik was launched online with Wysokie Obcasy
- The campaign consists of short videos in which artists, left wing politicians, film directors, and other popular personalities narrate short films on sex related topics.
- According to STER Foundation’s report on sexual violence, 87% of Polish women have experienced some kind of sexual harassment.
- 9 out of 10 rapes are never reported to the police.