When Parental Rights End aka. Keep the New Ontario Sex-Ed Curriculum

It seems to be a commonly known fact that Western society (and in particular, the USA), hates children. Recently, I have also seen push-back against feminists like myself, who say they hate children. However, in my experience these are two very different types of hatred.

My hatred is personal. I think children are sticky and gross, they don’t have anything interesting to say for the most part and they have way too much energy. I don’t like being around them. I also hated being a child, for anyone that wants to say it’s hypocritical to hate children since everyone was once a child. However, I think that children should be cared for, educated, and that their parents should be enabled to do these things for them and with them and nurture them. I support parental leave, universal daycare, robust public school systems, and universal healthcare. I want the government to take ALL THE TAX MONEY from me to make these things happen for other people’s children. I also want to combat climate change so that once/if those children become real people (decent adults/adolescents) they will have a planet to enjoy. I would argue that people that don’t want those things are the real child haters, even (and perhaps especially) if they want children of their own.

Now, me saying these thing about children is me talking about the kinds of rights that I think children (but let’s be real, all people) should have. However, as we know, rights come into conflict, and with children in particular parents seem to think that they have rights. Today I’m going to tell you why that’s pretty much bullshit, and rightly so.

Parental Rights

Whoops, you got me. This blog post is also about the Ontario Sex-Ed Curriculum.

So, parents like to assume that they have rights over their children, that they can direct their children’s lives in a certain way. Now, on a very superficial level this is true- you can attempt to tell them what to eat, what time to go to bed, you can dress them up like dolls and enroll them in extra-curricular activities that fulfill your unrequited dreams. You can educate them in the home in a certain way, and otherwise impose a draconian will and worldview upon them. Except, you can only do these things within reason.

If you harm your children, or neglect them, you can have them taken away from you, and rightly so, because, children are people, and people have rights. Their rights as people trump your rights as parents. Children’s interests to be safe and flourish trump all parental rights.

So, you may ask, how does Sex-Ed Curriculum fit into all of this?

Well, one of the big problems that people have with the 2016 curriculum is that children are taught about their own anatomy at a young age, and are told that families of all types (including LGTBQ+ families exist). At older ages, they are also now taught about safe use of online spaces, how to navigate many forms of sexual encounters, and taught that *gasp* masturbation exists.

I’m here to tell you today, that children are actively harmed and prevented from flourishing if they do not learn about these things.

Why? You might ask. Well, part of it has to do with making sure that they are well-adjusted and aware of how to avoid abusive partnerships later on, and to themselves behave sexthically. The other part is pure protection.

Statistically speaking, although child sexual abuse is poorly reported (so these are likely underestimates) 20% of girls will be sexually abused, and 5% of boys will be. Of those, 75% will be abused by someone they know well- that usually means a parent, relative, or other caretaker. For example, this story about an assault by a grandparent, which in many households would never have been discovered or reported. One of the best ways to end (if not always prevent) child sexual abuse, is, you guessed it! Educating children about their bodies and about sex. When you educate them they have language to communicate to you or another trusted adult what is happening to them. If you don’t want your kid to be protected in this way, no offence, but I’m going to think that you are creating an abusive environment or protecting a predator.

As far as other elements go, if you refuse to let your children learn about anything other than cis-heteronormative relationships you are A) harming them if they don’t end up being heteronormative or cis, and B) encouraging them through their ignorance to harm other children whose families are not heteronormative or cis. Similarly, if you refuse to let them learn about things like masturbation and safe sex, you are likely condemning them to extremely harmful psychological abuse, bad sex, and shame at feeling and desiring things that are totally normal. I don’t care about your religious beliefs, safe sex (which masturbation, by its nature is!) is super beneficial to your health.

But Religion!

You might whine. Welp, I have some answers for that too.

In addition to the fact that your child may choose not to follow your religion at some point in time (and should not be disadvantaged because of your religious choices), religion is not some get out of jail free card that enables you to harm your children. In fact, there are some religious things that are patently immoral, and depending on various regulatory schemes are illegal like genital cutting in women (or circumcision in boys, yes they are both horrific practices.)

Similarly, parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot prevent their children receiving blood transfusions should they be medically necessary, even if their child is in agreement with them (unless that child is legally an adult). Because, as most jurisdictions will point out, parents have control over their children so that they can act in their best interests. When they do not act in their children’s best interests, their rights end.

In Conclusion

I still hate children, but I wish that everyone else, including their parents, hated them a little less. And I really wish that my society was not going backwards in this regard, cow-towing to social conservatives and bad parents who want their children to be easier to abuse.

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