Child Sexual Exploitation – a growing problem

“It needs a revolution”, this was one of the responses of a 24- year- old secondary school teacher who is rightly concerned by the alarming stories she hears from her teenage pupils. But may I suggest that we have already had the revolution, the sexual revolution of the 1960s, which freed up adults to live as they like. But where has it left the children of this country?

Recent news confirms that all is not well. First, we had further evidence of child sexual exploitation in English towns or cities which has already led to eight serious case reviews; and then this week a report that child on child sex assaults have soared by 71%  over the last three years leaving teachers desperately concerned for their pupils.

We have a law which states that all sexual activity involving children under the age of 16 is unlawful. But it is ignored. It has been decided that we should attribute to children and early teens a maturity that they do not have. Does a young teenage girl who desires love and attention from a boy really have the strength to say “no” to his sexual advances? One consequence of ignoring the law is that girls feel that there is something wrong with them if they have never been asked for a photo of themselves, or no one has taken a sexual interest in them, or they turn up at university as a virgin. Respecting the law on the age of consent is so important for the protection of young people.

More sex and relationships education is consistently proposed as the solution to these problems, but maybe sex and relationships education is actually part of the cause. Instead of protecting children, the normalisation of underage sex is just as likely to result in the sexual exploitation of children and the child on child sexual assaults that we are now hearing about. Our current culture is depriving young people of the moral absolutes they so much need. The time has come to have the courage to teach our children (and remind ourselves) that some things are right and others are wrong. This is the counter-revolution that is so badly needed.