Australian Sex Education Campaign Slammed As “Concerning And Confusing” By Activists

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The online programme was designed to teach schoolchildren about consent and sexual assault, but faced backlash for being confusing and inadequate

Australian Sex Education Campaign Slammed As 'Concerning And Confusing' By Activists

In one ad, a teenager smears milkshake in her boyfriend’s face.



The Australian government, facing criticism for a sex education campaign that activists branded “concerning and confusing”, has removed a ‘milkshake’ video from the campaign that became the focal point of criticism. 

According to the The Guardian, the online programme was designed to teach schoolchildren about consent and sexual assault. Consisting of about 350 videos, stories and podcasts, the campaign was published on The Good Society website, which is part of the Australian government’s Respect Matters programme to “support respectful relationships education in all Australian schools.”

Rape prevention and sexual education experts raised concerns over the videos in the campaign, saying that they employed confusing metaphors and failed to get the point across. 

In one video, a teenaged girl smears milkshake in her boyfriend’s face without his permission. In another video about respecting boundaries and choices, a girl is hesitant about swimming with sharks while her boyfriend tries to convince her to do so. 

Fair Agenda and End Rape on Campus Australia’s Karen Willis told news.com.au the government’s online programme on sex education was “concerning and confusing.”

“Young people are more sophisticated than this content gives them credit for. And sex and consent is far more complicated than videos about milkshakes and sharks at the beach,” Ms Willis said.

Dr Jacqui Hendriks, a sexual health academic at Curtin University, told The Guardian that the videos failed to address the issue of sex and consent.

“Trying to talk about sex without actually talking about sex isn’t helpful,” she said. “We need to be specifically talking about consent in an intimate and sexual relationship.”

The videos faced backlash on social media as well. 

Dr Michele Bruniges – secretary of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment – said on Tuesday that two videos have been removed from The Good Society website.

“In response to community and stakeholder feedback, two videos have been removed from The Good Society website,” she said.

“The website is designed to be a live and dynamic resource, with content added, removed, and modified, to ensure it remains current and appropriate.

“The Department will continue to engage with experts to evaluate the materials that appear on the website to ensure they are fit for purpose and reflect current experiences and community issues.”

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