Sexual and intimate partner violence prevention practitioners often see the links between their fields and the sexual health and education field. Advocates for Youth recently released the new trauma-informed National Sex Education Standards, solidifying the links between violence prevention and promoting healthy sexuality.
In addition to including sex education standards focused on consent, healthy relationships, and interpersonal violence, the new standards also focus on power, privilege, and promoting equity. Students are empowered to learn how race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, sexuality, socioeconomic status, ability, immigration status, and family configuration impact sexual health and violence prevention, and learn how to show respect and dignity for everyone, especially those with marginalized identities. The standards include education and analysis on how systems of oppression impact a person’s sexual health. There is also a standard that influences students’ advocacy by developing plans for how school environments can promote the dignity and respect for folks with diverse identities. Education standards like these provide a great blueprint for transforming individual education into community-level prevention that addresses root causes of sexual and intimate partner violence and oppression.
The National Sex Education Standards cover a wide array of topics that impact and intersect with sexual health and violence prevention, including technology and sexually explicit media, impacts of alcohol and other substances, and sex trafficking. These new standards are comprehensive, and their focus on how systems of oppression impact health show the power of using a health equity framework to advance sexual and intimate partner violence prevention. It’s not enough to teach youth what not to do, but adults have a responsibility to empower youth and set up educational environments that promote protective factors and healthy, safe communities.
PreventConnect has explored the connections between sexual health education and sexual and intimate partner violence prevention previously. Check out these resources:
- Podcast: How Healthy Sexuality Education Can Change Social Norms
- Web Conference recording: Affirmative Consent Policies: Cultural Barriers and the Need for Affirmative Sexuality
- Web Conference recording: Let’s Talk About Sexual Health to Support Sexual and Domestic