Notes: The 'letter' below is an abbreviated version edited by me as it is too long.
"Christian charity defends workshop which Hwa Chong student called 'sexist' - The Straits Times Oct 07, 2014
The student wrote the following in a public post on Facebook:
So I wrote an open letter to my principal about last week's sex ed:
Dear Dr. Hon,
I am Agatha, a C1 student, and my purpose in writing this open letter to you today is to express my sincere concerns about the MSF "It's Uncomplicated" workshop all C1 students had to attend on Friday, the 3rd of October.
I attended the workshop with my class in the AVT. Before it started, I flipped through the booklet provided by Focus on the Family (FotF). From merely glancing through this booklet, I learned a simple yet important lesson: that bigotry is very much alive and it was naïve of me to think I could be safe from it even in school.
While I do have many concerns with regards to this workshop and its content which I consider to be pressing, the most pressing is perhaps that the workshop and booklet actively serve to promote rape culture in school.
On the cover page of the booklet itself, it is written, "no means yes?" and "yes means no?" (See attached photo for reference.) The facilitators from FotF neglected to mention that thinking a girl means "yes" when she says "no" is actually completely wrong. Rather, they spent their four hours with us discussing things such as what a girl "really means" when she says something else, as opposed to guys who are "direct" and "always mean what they say" (see photos of pages 20-21).
By telling the student population this, FotF sends a dangerous message: that you should always assume that a girl means something else (like "yes") when really she just means "no".
Granted, the facilitators did make clear that these gender stereotypes they were promoting were subject to "some exceptions" and that they should be taken lightly, as a sort of joke.
When someone else tried to raise that the facilitator's views were too narrow and that they failed to consider, for instance, LGBTQ or polyamorous individuals, he effectively shut her down by saying that her views were not what the audience wanted to listen to and that perhaps she could remain quiet for now and bring it up with him afterwards so they could end the first half of the course for break, which was coming up "very soon". (He failed to actually ask the audience if we wanted to listen to her opinion and assumed we wholeheartedly accepted his, and break was in fact almost another half hour later.)
The most alarming thing I read in the booklet provided was that "A guy can't not want to look" and that what a girl is wearing matters only "lest she become an "eye magnet" that cannot be avoided" (see attached photos of pages 27-28).
The booklet states that "Many guys feel neither the ability nor the responsibility to stop the sexual progression with [girls]", and thus they "need your help to protect both of you" (page 28). I felt it disgusting that, for one, FotF has reduced guys to nothing but their hormones, and for two, instead, then, of suggesting that we should cultivate a sense of responsibility in guys with regards to respecting boundaries, FotF suggested that girls therefore need to support guys so that they are able to play heroes and guardians.
It should be noted that in the earlier half of the workshop, the facilitators had shared that in moving the relationship to the next stage, "the guy has to take the lead". When I asked them why, they were unable to provide an answer beyond "It was just a general statement".
FotF had no problem using a clip with a gay character when it suited their purposes (a scene from My Best Friend's Wedding), yet was also quick to denounce any relationship outside of the binary heterosexual norm as "unstable" and "unfavourable".
The quickness and ease with which the facilitator dismissed anyone outside of his limited moral framework was a clear display of bigotry and tells students that acceptance is beyond him.
By engaging the services of groups such as FotF to teach sexuality education in school, the management hence indirectly participates in promoting rape culture, tells students that we should conform to traditional gender roles instead of being our own persons, demonstrates that the acceptance of diversity in people is unimportant, and erases minority groups in the student population.
I hope that these concerns will be taken into consideration for future events and workshops.
Agatha Tan (14A10)"
Good to read about how Agatha feels about the program conducted in her school, my old school.
Lessons for me are:
1. sexuality has no right or wrong outside religious and social context. It is just natural to have sex;
2. sex without any restraints cannot be good for social orders and human relationship as one would not be able to form 'stable' and longer term relationship if it is just for pleasure;
3. 'man will be man' is an excuse for lack of self-discipline. If 'rape' is committed, 'man will be man' does not provide a reason for the laws NOT to punish the rapists! So, the law is fair and QUITE clear on what penalties this crime deserved;
4. as for 'inclusive and diverse' view of sexual orientation including LBGT, this topic has been discussed and debated in the past with NO conclusion. My take is still the same: if it is genetic, it is natural. If not, it is unnatural. As long as the LBGT community acknowledges that it is a lifestyle choice, and the participants are of legal age and consenting, I have no issue with that. Just that IF this is the dominant lifestyle choice of Singaporeans, we will have a problem of procreation;
We will have to import MORE foreigners to boost of population to a size that the government believes are necessary to sustain or/& promote economic growth!
5. as for engaging religious organization to conduct Sexuality classes, it is always flawed for non-religious schools!