In our society, where we are still learning to respect ourselves and each other, build relationships based on trust, set boundaries and say “no”, but also “yes”. We want to teach this to children, but we ourselves have problems with it, we don’t like our bodies, we compare ourselves, we often have unrecognized needs, we don’t know what is healthy for us – says Anna Jurek, sex educator and philosopher, vice-president of the SPUNK Foundation, for “Wprost”. .
Marta Byczkowska-Nowak, “Wprost”: How determined do you have to be to deal with sex education in Poland?
Anna Jurek: Let the answer be the fact that we have been operating for over ten years, but we are just at the end of the process of liquidating the foundation. We will continue to work, but as the SPUNK Group. Working with children and young people is so satisfying, it gives us such a great sense of meaning that we still find strength, but I must admit that the last eight years have pushed us through a lot – the authorities that hinder instead of helping, the language that divides and scares, formal difficulties in running small local government organizations – all this means that you need to have a lot of courage and determination to keep trying to enter schools and address these topics to young people, children and teachers.
We need a change in the narrative about sexual education, because in recent years there have been so many distortions, manipulations and fear around this topic that I was not surprised at all when parents and school principals were not willing to cooperate. We are tired of inflation, Covid, war, the struggle for everyday life, and we are tired of making decisions, so I understand that we may no longer have the strength to internally discuss with ourselves whether to let our child undergo sexual education or not. Therefore, sexual education should be included in schools permanently. Politicians threaten, public media talk about “sexualization”.
Even when we don’t fully agree with it, the message seeps through. It’s up to you as a parent, you as a school principal, whether you reflect on it or not, whether you look for more information on this subject, check what the meaning of the term “sexualization” actually is, who are the people conducting sexual education classes and what knowledge do they have? convey whether you will stop at this message.
Is introducing sex education to schools a good idea?
Of course, the educational needs are huge, and at the moment parents have to decide whether, where and when to send their child to extracurricular activities, how to combine it with the schedule for the whole week, not to mention the dilemmas I mentioned earlier. I hope that in the new political reality it will be easier, but it will take some time before the situation normalizes.
The women who have just taken up ministerial portfolios are people who have been working for education, social rights, civic activation, children and youth for many years. I think that this government has a much better understanding of the situation of the youngest and knows, for example, that the issue of child psychiatry is not just one of the important problems to be dealt with on the list, but that it is a burning problem.
Now explain why you, sex educators, want to sexualize these poor children so much.