When I knew I was going to take up sex education in high school, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had learned about the reproductive system in science class when I was in grade school but I was sure it was going to be a bit different. Maybe it was going to be a more mature discussion since we were all older and could understand better and be open-minded. But coming from a Catholic school, that obviously wasn’t the case.
Instead of learning about our bodies and the importance of being safe or the dangers of STDs, they taught us abstinence. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. To an extent, I appreciate that they taught us the importance of sex and waiting for the right person but I feel they missed the opportunity to keep their students informed. They had the chance to make sure we young ladies knew the risks of having unprotected sex or the changes we would be seeing during puberty. As a student, it would have been nice to get that sort of information from teachers rather than finding out through friends or the Internet.
What took the place of impactful topics were films of childbirth and a movie titled Pamela’s Prayer. This movie focused on the life of a girl who grew up in a strict Christian household and was not allowed to date. Instead, she was encouraged to stay pure until marriage and pray for guidance. Yes, it is as old-fashioned as it sounds. Not only did I not acquire new knowledge but I was also left confused.
As an adult, looking back at those sex education classes, I feel disappointed. Somehow, our education system has failed us. The birth rate is rising and there are people who have kids even when they can’t provide for them because they weren’t taught proper sex ed. Sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread because people don’t know about protection and the number of HIV cases in the Philippines rose by 18 percent last year. And the list goes on.
For someone in high school, sex education might not be a big deal but as you get older you notice the things that you didn’t learn. The topics that actually matter and remind you of how you have control over your body.
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