Equality Bahamas urges govt. to implement sex education courses

Equality Bahamas urges govt. to implement sex education courses
Equality Bahamas Director Alicia Wallace

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Following a recent study by the University of The Bahamas regarding the sexual knowledge of Bahamian college students, Equality Bahamas is once again urging the government to implement sex education based courses throughout schools in the country.

Researchers concluded that individuals respondents “may not have a full understanding of their own agency, and certainly suggest an imperfect knowledge of their rights in situations of sexual pressure.”

Equality Bahamas Director Alicia Wallace told Eyewitness News that while the study is shocking, the results are not new.

“The study was really focused on consent which is a critical issue which we need to address holistically,” Wallace said.

“One of the major problems that we have is a lot of people don’t even realize it when they are violated or when they experience a form of sexual violence because we don’t have a clear understanding of what consent is.”

Wallace noted that the matter has never been addressed directly, despite the continuous push for comprehensive sexual education in both public and private schools.

“We need to be having conversations about the use of contraceptives, about consent, about how you negotiate for condom use,” she added.

She added that the concept of consent should be taught at a younger age about what is appropriate and not appropriate.

The study, undertaken by Dr Nicollette Bethel and UB Director of Planning William Fielding reviews the “Attitudes and Knowledge of Bahamian College Students Regarding Sexual Consent”.

The Internet-based survey questioned 621 students (74.1 percent female and 25.4 percent male, with 0.5 percent indicating that their sex was “other”).

It revealed that more than 35 percent of respondents experienced statutory rape or sex without their concert in their lives.

Of those surveyed, 35.5 percent of females had been raped due to their age, 19 percent at first sexual intercourse (15-years-old or less) and 17 percent had been raped due to being unable to give consent when over 15.

“The self-reported responses of ever being raped, show a cumulative pattern of a steady increase in lifetime rape for females and a much lower cumulative increase in the case of males,” the report noted.

“By age 19-24, 23.1 percent of females had experienced rape”.

An article about the study printed ina local daily, with the headline of the study inferring that 35 percent of college students have been raped while on campus.

University of Bahamas Dean of Students Joe Stubbs yesterday refuted the claims, noting that the headline as misleading.