The Morrison Government is the Prime Example of Why We Need Early Consent Education
It appears that the Morrison Government is a little behind the times when it comes to frank conversations on gender equality and consent. Phoebe Metcalfe asks, is anyone taking action to update our sex education in schools?
(Content Warning: The following article discusses sexual assault, violence against women, and suicide. If this brings up any issues for you, you can contact any of the helplines included at the bottom of the article.)
I’m going to be honest. This piece is not going to be unbiased. As a women who has been victim of sexual assault, getting cat called in the street while wearing baggy clothes, and basic sexism in the workplace, it’s hard to write a piece like this without rolling my eyes in sheer frustration.
The disgusting behaviour and events occuring in Parliament that have been broadcast over the few months exhibit perfectly the need for the Australian Curriculum to revise the consent education currently in schools.
Let’s quickly breakdown the events I’m referring to.
Since the beginning of the year we have had one government staffer accused of rape, one, minister accused of rape, and one minister accused of misconduct towards two female constituents, all from the Liberal-National party. There have also been allegations that these issues start from the top, with workplace culture, systemic misogyny and victim blaming within the Morrison Government.
✨Empathy training and a cute little milkshake video ✨
Thankfully, The Moving the Line campaign was pulled due to backlash on it’s ambiguity and stupidity.
It’s clear that the topic of sexual assault is a foreign concept, and a little uncomfortable for our Prime Minister; which is why he has combated the issues in the most indirect and useless ways possible.
MP Andrew Laming got a slap on the wrist with empathy training, Attorney-General Christian Porter‘s case was dismissed as the victim committed suicide, and, according to officials, there was not enough admissible evidence. And, Brittany Higgins‘ assaulter was already fired for breaching Parliament security, so who knows what’s going on there?
However, Higgins recently met with Scomo and had an “honest and frank” conversation with him about the state of his government. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in that meeting!
Higgins’s stated the PM agreed the system let her down (yeah, thanks for the confirmation Scott).
In a statement to the press Mr Morrison said he acknowledged Higgins’ courage in coming forward.
“Ms Higgins’ views and experience will be invaluable to the work of (Sex Discrimination) Commissioner Kate Jenkins.”
Thankfully, people in the Australian Education System are having legitimate conversations about combatting the issue early on to change the culture of consent through revised education programs in both the primary and secondary curriculums.
CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACRA), David de Carvalho, stated in his address at the Values Education Summit in March this year.
“The dark side of our culture’s warped attitude to physical intimacy in personal relationships has also been exposed through events at our Parliament House.”
“We have a public reckoning now in Australia on respect for women, respectful relationships and the issue of consent following a chain of shocking events sparking off a conversation that had to be had.
“There is increased focus on how these matters are dealt with in the school curriculum, which we at ACARA are currently reviewing.
“But strengthening the curriculum should not be seen as the solution to this problem. It is not just the having of the conversation that it is important – it is where these conversations are taking place. The classroom is not enough.
“What is being talked about around the dining room table, in the boardroom, or at the local bar or in the halls of parliament?”
Hopefully, steps will be implemented soon, to help ensure our Government and our culture can change, and, which will assist victims to find justice.
If this article has brought up any issues you can find support at:
1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732
Lifeline – 13 11 14
NSW Rape Crisis – 1800 424 017
The University of Newcastle After-Hours Support – 1300 653 007
Feature Image by cottonbro via Pixels, no changes made.