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When 'Safe Schools' sexualises children, should we be surprised about school porn rings?

By Wendy Francis - posted Monday, 22 August 2016

Australian parents have been shocked and horrified to learn that pornographic pictures of girls from as many as 70 private and public schools across the country have been shared on an online message forum. Also deeply concerning is the discovery that Australian schoolboys have been involved in the running of this child pornography ring.

But should we be shocked?

Our children swim in an ocean of online pornography thanks to their ubiquitous technological devices and parliamentary advocates for porn such as Victoria's Sex Party MP, Fiona Patten.


But are the increasing revelations of sexualisation in our schools surprising when we consider the introduction to our schools of the highly sexualised and misnamed Safe Schools and Building Respectful Relationships curricula?

The Safe Schools Coalition developed much of its materials in collaboration with Minus18 and schools around the country used their material which promoted so-called adult resources to children. Following an outcry from parents, materials endorsing Minus18 were removed from the Safe Schools Hub in all States except for Victoria which retains it in its entirety, including instructions on how children can cover their tracks online from their parents and teachers.

Are we surprised that our young men are disrespectful to our young women as they spread degrading and humiliating images of fellow students when we have allowed the promotion of games that tell them to "name three people in the order that you would like to "F***, marry and kill.

Why do we wring our hands and wonder what's going wrong when government-funded school curriculum has included instructions such as:

One Grindr hook-up gone wrong, and that's how I got myself some gonorrhoea. But let's backtrack here so I can fill out some holes (pun intended) in my little life drama… So it's not as terrible as you may have expected, in fact it's not terrible at all.

I've had friends who count their first time giving oral as their virginity.


Penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex, and certainly not the "ultimate" sex.

But the government-approved sexualisation of our children begins even earlier than school. Early Childhood Australia is one of our nation's peak early childhood organisations for children from birth to 8 years old. Their resource, 'Children's Sexual Development and Behaviour: Pants Aren't Rude' instructs parents and teachers to think about their children, and even babies, as "sexual beings".

They state that "Children are sexual beings and it's a strong part of their identity". Quotes from this book include - Children have sexual feelings from birth. Children are born as sexual beings without sexual inhibitions; Children need to learn that... sex and the sexual parts of their bodies are good.

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About the Author

Wendy Francis is the director of the Australian Christian Lobby’s Centre for Human Dignity. Prior to this Wendy has served in managerial positions at the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University and also Queensland Baptists. Wendy also ran for a senate position with Family First in 2010. She commenced a campaign in 2009 calling for outdoor advertising to be G rated.

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All articles by Wendy Francis

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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