Abstinence based sex education is a dangerous message

I’ve written for The Guardian’s comment is free about Nadine Dorries and her victim blaming on yesterday’s Vanessa Show.

Tucked away on daytime TV on Monday afternoon, Nadine Dorries was justifying her proposals for elements of abstinence-based sex education for girls. The Vanessa Show saw the Conservative MP go head to head with Julie Bentley, chief executive of the sexual health charity FPA. The women, along with presenter Vanessa Feltz and retired rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio, discussed the bill that was unveiled to the House of Commons two weeks ago.

When it was first introduced, Dorries insisted her aim was to empower teenage girls to say “no” to sex. There is really nothing empowering about teaching young women that their sexuality is not their own. Abstinence-based sex education teaches girls that sex isn’t something that they participate in – instead, it’s something they give in to. Towards the end of the debate, Dorries said:

“A lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don’t realise until later that that was a wrong thing to do … Society is so over-sexualised that I don’t think people realise that if we did empower this message into girls, imbued this message in schools, we’d probably have less sex abuse.”

Read the rest here!

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  1. Millie says:

    Hi Reni,

    I just wanted to say thanks for such a well-written, level-headed article in the guardian yesterday. Whilst opposition to Dorries’ has been rife the last two weeks, so much of it has been whittled down to ad hominem that I don’t feel that our side of the argument has been terribly well represented.

    It’s nice to hear someone put in to words exactly what is so objectionable in a clear manner without resorting to sensationalism or the same fear-mongering we attribute to Dorries and her kind.

    Thanks again!


  2. Hi Millie, glad I can help- it’s important that her arguments are disproved, without us having to resort to personal attacks.