My name is Nadine Nyhus. I am a mother and a practicing medical doctor and psychiatrist for over 20 years. I want to apologize at the start that this presentation is not as detailed or as footnoted as the topic deserves but I have only 10 minutes. I have copies of this presentation for board members.
我叫Nadine Nyhus，我是壹位母親， 也是壹名有著20多年從業經驗的執業醫師和心理治療師。在本次演講的開始我想向大家道歉， 就本演講主題要求而言，應有更加詳盡，更充足的備註資料， 但事實上我只有10分鐘時間。我已為每壹位教育局成員準備了該演講的打印稿。
I am glad there is a health and sex education curriculum. HOWEVER, I believe this curriculum is very inadequate to inform and protect our children. I will summarize 5 areas of concern.
#1 AS A MEDICAL DOCTOR I HAVE A CONCERN ABOUT THE LACK OF ACCURATE AND ADEQUATELY DETAILED INFORMATION ON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STIs) – which, in the end, leaves the impression that sexually transmitted infections are not such a big deal. Some examples:
-there is no mention that silent chlamydia infection can result in girls never being able to have a baby
-there is no mention that you can contract HPV (Human Papilloma virus) at your first experience of intercourse WHILE using condom because HPV is not transmitted by fluids, but by skin to skin contact.
-there is no mention that HPV is a known causative factor in cervical cancer
-there is no mention that different types of intercourse carry different risks – that anal intercourse carries the greatest risk of sexually transmitted infection –AND our teen girls are caving in to increasing pressure to have anal intercourse as this is promoted in pornography
I think it’s important for us to look more closely at what the curriculum says about HIV:
我還認為， 我們必須進壹步審視大綱對HIV 所持的說法：
Written as a teacher prompt the curriculum says: HIV is a serious viral infection that can be controlled with treatments… With treatment, the damage that HIV does to the body’s immune system can be slowed or prevented. ,, Today, when people get tested for HIV early in the infection and access HIV treatments, they have the opportunity to live a near-to-normal life span.”
（大綱相關內容）正如壹位支持大綱的教師所說：HIV是壹種嚴重的病毒感染，但通過治療可得到控制…治療能夠減緩或防止HIV病毒對人體免疫系統的破壞…時至今日, 感染者可通過測試盡早發現HIV病毒的存在並獲得相應治療, 他們仍有機會享有與正常人幾近同等的壽命。
It doesn’t sound so bad really, right? And to teens, who are at the developmental stage where they think they are rather invincible, I would think it would sound like even less of a concern.
情況聽起來不壞， 對吧？對於仍處在成長階段的十幾歲青少年來說， 他們秉持的是“青春無敵”的理念，這樣的情況對於他們更不算什麽了
But where are the FACTS about HIV? This curriculum needs to be more honest.
It needs to explain that one may (or may not) live a normal length of time, but in either case your life will be very different in significant ways:
-if you are infected with HIV you should never have intercourse without a condom for the rest of your life
-you may have to adopt children
-if you are female you will not be able to breast feed (very significant transmission rate of virus through breast milk)
-you will have to take strong medications – 2 to 4 medications at a time -- for the rest of your life – the medication itself can damage organs in the body
-the medication has to be taken in a highly structured schedule, often more than once per day (not only to keep viral load down but also because if you miss doses it can result in treatment failure because the virus can become resistant to the medications)
-HIV will restrict your ability to live in other countries (people with HIV are subject to “residency restrictions” for chronic illnesses)
So this curriculum’s description of HIV as something that can be “controlled with treatments” so that you “live a near-to-normal lifespan” significantly minimizes the reality of HIV infection, is misleading and could decrease condom use.
I didn’t think that was the goal of the curriculum.
This kind of vaguely optimistic information is perhaps part of the reason that there is some evidence that condom use is down in teens and that HIV infection rate among teens is rising again.
“Ontario: HIV cases reported for the period 2007 to 2012 increased by 2.4%”
Up to 60% of infected youth are unaware of being infected – so it won’t necessarily help to have good, honest communication.
Here are some references:
#2 THE SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS THAT CLEARLY SUPPORT THE VALUE OF DELAYING SEXUAL ACTIVITY ARE ABSENT Part C1.3 does mention the option of delaying sexual activity but gives no reasons to do so.
There is solid scientific evidence for delaying sexual activity and I think our teens have a right to know the science.
-risk of depression increases 3x in teens who are sexually active
-suicide attempts go up 3x in female teens and 8.5 x in male teens that are sexually active. .
-there is no discussion of the documented increased risk of STIs from having intercourse as a teen because the skin on the cervix is more vulnerable to infection until the late teens or early 20/s when the skin of the cervix becomes durable and more resilient to infection
- I think it would be supportive of teens who are deciding to delay sexual activity to know that there is more to being sexually active than appearing “cool” or “worldly wise and experienced.”
-in fact, sexually active teens are the ones who are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviours
-teens who grow up in families with more resources are more likely to delay the onset of sexual activity.
-it may seem like “everyone is doing it” but 30% of age 15-17 year olds have had sex, so 70% have not
- the value of waiting until one knows themselves and has a solid sense of self before becoming sexually active.
-there is no mention in the curriculum about the hormone oxytocin being released with sexual intercourse and petting and how this establishes an intense attachment and bonding that will impair one’s ability to make a decision about a relationship that is based on rational values and the character of the person. Once you have sex you are hormonally bonded and it will be that much more difficult to end the relationship .
#3 OMISSION OF ANY MENTION OF PORNOGRAPHY
If this curriculum is about health and keeping our children safe we need to be willing to discuss the risks of pornography – the mention of which is conspicuously absent in this curriculum despite research linking aggressive sexual behaviour and rape to porn use.
We need to be aware and informed that pornography in 2015 is different than it was 20 or even 10 years ago – it is more aggressive and degrading to women. Should not something be said about this in terms of risks?
WHAT ARE THE RESEARCH FINDINGS ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY? Those who use porn have an
-increased acceptance of rape myths, for example that women want to be raped or that women cause rape
-increased sexual aggression and increased risk of committing sexual offences
-increased risk for difficulties in intimate relationships
-association between age of first porn use and sexual risk taking
-higher number of sexual partners
-lower rate of condom use (given this one fact and the goal of condom use wouldn’t porn need to be addressed?)
Given that this sex education curriculum has a goal of increasing safety including increasing condom use, decreasing rape and sexual aggression – not educating teens on porn is a significant omission.
I am well aware that there is controversy over the concept of pornography “addiction.” The pornography industry is the biggest money maker on the internet and a very powerful lobby group. But I would hope that the “experts” writing a curriculum for our children would be more concerned about our children than about supporting the image that pornography is fine. I also have heard the government’s claims that Ben Levin did not write the curriculum. However, he did have oversight and it is hard to believe this omission is not a reflection of his influence.
我清楚地意識到有關色情“癮”的概念存在爭議。色情工業是網絡上最賺錢的產業也是選舉中很有力量的勢力。但我本指望“專家”在為孩子們寫課程時更多地考慮我們的孩子而不是選擇制造色情圖片無害的形象。我也聽說了政府宣稱Ben Levin 沒有參與書寫該課程。然而，他的確參與監督工作，很難相信忽略對色情危害的教育不是由於他的影響。
#4 the complete absence of any education around how to be safe given the sex trafficking industry
Our teens need to be aware that there is a risk for the average Canadian teen, especially girl.
It is a myth that the girls who are trafficked are foreign. The vast majority are our own children.
This report explains:
-the risk is significant from age 14 – 22 (from 7 or 8)
-sex trafficking victims come from all walks of life.
In October 2013 the RCMP published a report on trafficking
(put on a slide: Domestic Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Canada Oct 2013 -- Project SAFEKEEPING, an assessment of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada
PUT ALL THIS ON A SLIDE AND JUST SAY I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO OVER THE IMPORTANT THINGS TO COMMUNICATE WITH OUR TEENS ABOUT TRAFFICKING – I just want to say there are important things to communicate and NOTHING is said in this curriculum.
-victims are Canadian citizens, 50% have no previous experience in erotic dancing or prostitution.
-In recent years, individuals with relatively stable backgrounds are increasingly becoming victims of human trafficking.
-niave and vulnerable girls are lured in by pimps who pretend to love and care for them:
-Traffickers commonly initially gain and then maintain control over their victims by establishing trust through false friendship and romance, psychological control, threats, intimidation and violence.
- It is common for victims to fall in love with traffickers, willing to do anything to maintain
- Victims usually meet traffickers directly, or through mutual friends or acquaintances.
-Traffickers often move their victims within and across provinces. Major hubs include the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, with victims commonly trafficked between the neighbouring provinces.
-Some people mistakenly believe that victims are participating by choice, so are not motivated to help
them. However, 78% of Canadians agree that girls under the age of 16 are not in prostitution by
-On average, a sex trafficker in Canada makes an annual financial gain of $280,800 from each
victim they control. Since this is a highly lucrative crime, traffickers will go to extreme lengths to
control their victims and evade law enforcement agencies.
-The anonymity of the Internet makes it easier to lure victims
(Put all this on slides but don’t go through it all)
I find it very disturbing that this curriculum, which is supposed to be all about safety, is silent on this risk.
GRADE 7 and 8 is the age we must tell our children about this.
Education on the risk of being trafficked is parallel to educating young children about stranger danger. The writers cannot possibly see this as unnecessarily scaring our teens when educators are already committed to warning very young children about stranger danger.
Yet there is not a word about trafficking in the curriculum.
I just don’t understand what the people writing this curriculum were thinking?
It does not strike me that their primary concern was the safety of our children.
-Premier Wynne has said she is not going to enforce the prostitution law in Ontario which means this risk for our children will go up as the research is incontrovertibly clear that trafficking increases where prostitution is legal.
This Ontario government acts as if those who oppose this curriculum have their heads in the sand and are standing in the way of progress. Well, I trust that it is very clear that I do not have my head in the sand. In fact, on numerous crucial points I would say that Ben Levin, Premier Wynne, and education minister Liz Sandals have their heads in the sand.
I am concerned about the lack of ownership on the part of the government that this curriculum is written from a certain worldview, a worldview that not all subscribe to. Many faiths have a religious worldview that has a teleological view of things – a view that there is a purpose to things, things including sex. .. such a person might conclude that the scientific documentation of oxytocin release with sexual intercourse has a purpose, for example, to enhance bonding in a partnership that will increase the stability of the basic family unit so that children have a safe place to grow up. I would venture to say that many people with a religious worldview would see this curriculum as inadequate because it doesn’t address purpose.
I am not saying that this curriculum teaches about sex without a worldview. It does very much teach about sex from a worldview – a worldview that sees purpose as irrelevant. For each of us has a worldview whether we are religious or not and when we speak or teach we do so against the backdrop of a worldview.
Why are the risks of HIV and STIs softened?
Why are the advantages to delaying sexual activity not spelled out?
Why is pornography not mentioned in this curriculum?
Why does this curriculum not empower our girls to be aware and safe around the risk of being trafficked.
These are glaring gaps if the purpose of this curriculum is to protect our youth in the sexual area.
And I predict this curriculum may have the effect of decreasing condom use not increasing it by the way it glosses over the seriousness of sexually transmitted infections.
I would like to know who the experts are who wrote this curriculum – I would like disclosure – was there an expert involved in writing this curriculum who is involved clinically with adolescents? Someone who would have real world experience with the health issues of teens?
Was there anyone on this committee who had a faith based worldview? If not, this is a travesty of the democratic process. Why the big secret about who wrote this?
In conclusion, I would not have my children participate in this sex education curriculum because it gives vague, inadequate and in places misleading information; it does not acknowledge the reality of different worldviews and does not address the dangers of porn or sex trafficking. I do not believe the driving force of this curriculum is the safety of children and I think the government should be honest with itself about the poor quality of the curriculum to withdraw it completely.