Before I get into the details of what the sex ed curriculum could look like in the future, I want to tell you how the current state of sexual education not only hurts girls with disabilities, but puts them at risk. I was sent to a private school in fifth grade, graduated there in eighth grade, but before I could, I had to do a joke class. New creation, this class was called, taught us about pregnancy, the birds and the bees, and sexual immorality and all that crap. First and foremost, I’m glad I never spoke about that kind of thing to too many people, the part about new creation being a joke, but it is a real joke. Yes, there are a few things the class gets right, and I’ll explain how. First, let me analogize sex ed with driving a car. When you first meet the car, what happens?
In this one book on sexuality I found, written by a certified health and teenage sex pro, I found an interesting analogy to introducing teenagers to the concepts of sex and such. Michael Basso wrote an entire first few paragraphs in the first chapter as though he were talking about driver’s education. It makes sense, but what Mr. Basso wanted to know, regarding the car, was when do I get to drive it? Mike from Monsters Incorporated is best known for that little reason for buying a new car, so he could drive it. But I think both Mr. Basso and Mike from Monsters Inc. could have used a lesson on the behind the hood parts and pieces of the automobile, something akin to what we do when we teach about sexual anatomy. So here’s what the vagina and penis do for each sex, okay, and here are the ovaries. Okay, that’s the same thing as explaining what the clutch pedal of your car does, and here’s the steering wheel. Okay, it makes sense to always make people aware of what parts are private, behind the hood, that sort of thing.
If it gets any better, the school version of “new creation” class gets pretty serious. Morality and eighth grade new creation/family life included discussions about love and dating. Unfortunately, it did not prepare me for the obvious problems I would face in finding a date. It was patriarchally biased so that it would validate my mother’s awful diatribes on how “girls don’t call boys” and “girls don’t ask boys on dates.” Boys at Titusville High probably were threatened in the patriarchal gut when I asked them out for dates. Ugh, I can’t stand the idea of Jason and others I wanted to date in situations where they rule and dominate the female species. It makes me vomit thinking of guys trying to make sexual harassment at school stick, but when a boy gets the same complaint when a girl says it, it doesn’t. Sexism much? Yes.
What the St. Teresa morality classes never would have taught me was that 90% of girls with disabilities like me will have been raped this year. Many women with disabilities, grown women I’ve spoken to over the online platform Skype, have been prior rape victims and they are now survivors, some are thriving. I learned later about the victim survivor thriver system in a rehabilitative spot in 2006, and it took me years to process. My parents did not utterly prepare me for the possibility of smashing the patriarchy, rather they were the patriarchy. I will never try to sum up what the patriarchy is; one should know what it is by now. The matriarchy is a lot more energy driven, and I’m sorry, sorry to see what people say in class is a joke.
St. Teresa did not teach the facts, only the predictions and not based on a scientific facts. They want to tell you how to live right, be clean, all that jazz, but it doesn’t work. STS and THS were both patriarchally programmed against girls with disabilities, and I frequently saw no effort on STS’s part to make girls with disabilities welcome and actually teach scientific facts about rape and the evolutionary explanation of rape. Evolutionary consequences abound for rape victims who end up pregnant, on top of the fact that they are disabled. The rape victims have to either carry or adopt out the baby, according to Catholic doctrine, no abortion is acceptable, and that could hurt someone whose uterus can’t technically carry a child. I knew a woman who had twins, but one of them didn’t make it. It wasn’t her fault, but the Catholic church would have been so obsessed with her keeping both babies, even the one dying, and that’s kind of not what happened. The baby that didn’t make it had to be cremated, and an autopsy report was mailed to the mother, and it was just sad. When a baby dies, sometimes even the woman dies, but that didn’t happen. However, angel babies, as one would call the baby that didn’t make it, are a blessing in disguise sometimes. For this mother, I hope she raises the baby that did make it to understand that sometimes, not everything goes as planned. However, when a baby passes in utero, it can endanger the life of a second baby or woman who carries it. None of this information is found in the STS approved science curricula or sex education no less.
So what should a real sex ed textbook look like? For cisgender heterosexual white males, this book should not even be placed in the hands of such to be ripped apart. So I think the males would, however, benefit from reading such a book if they would please pay attention to waht the book says.
Here’s the basics of what curricula should be acceptable for children in the next generation whether Catholic or not, disabled or not.
1. Starting with the anatomy, all sex ed curricula should give an overview of body parts, and this should start with preschool. Okay, give the preschoolers the proper names for genitalia as well as the physical limbs, lungs, etc.
2. When a child reaches pubic age, around ten or eleven years old, please, I beg the writers of sex ed curricula, include something about evolutionary fertility in a scientific perspective. Talk in this curriculum about girls and transgender boys having periods and such. Persons who have periods should be given a proper heads up about what pregnancy and menstruation does, etc etc.
3. LGBTQI+ individuals should have history in a separate textbook, but any sex ed book should include tips for dealing with parents who won’t accept you as you are. If a parent threatens to kill you over being transgender or gay, or whatever, there should be one or two things in there about this, and resources at the back of the book to help said children. All kids should be accepted as they are, but that doesn’t happen. Catholic schools don’t understand that their dress codes don’t help (see the posts on dress codes), and the worst part of it is that these schools aren’t for kids who are LGBTQI so please, do us all a favor and send them to schools with acceptance policies, good curricula that validates their existence, and so on. Threatening a child with death or punishment for being who they are or for who they love is a bastardly and cowardly thing to do, and as a Christian parent, you should look to Jesus for the answers. Jesus did not say to kill the gay child, he only said love thy neighbor as thyself, blah blah blah. However, the love has become twisted, and Jesus’s teaching has become very patriarchally programmed more than a call to love and care about everybody in your circle. STS simply won’t get that part.
So what to do with Catholic schools? Yes, government shouldn’t stick their noses into private schools, but how can we help disabled females who end up raped in Catholic schools after being exposed to this dangerous curricula? Well, here’s what we need to do.
STS should not have any more family life discussions with second grade classes, and marriage should be edited out of their curriculum. As hard as this will be, the only way a school like this is going to thrive is that they teach consent, acceptance, and comprehensive safety measures for all students, including those with disabilities. Self defense and RAD (rape aggression defense) should be taught to all students, including especially the young ladies and those of female persuasion. I like how my choir director for Soar calls the women and higher singers of chorus “those of the female persuasion” or, because a nonbinary member joins us later, she said, “Soprano and alto” or “trebles”. That makes sense. This director demonstrated full inclusion, and I’m proud of her for that.
STS should never emphasize dating norms. As hard as this is going to be for any religious framed school, keep your rosaries out of my ovaries, as one girl puts it at Notre Dame. In fact, please, if you are at a Catholic university or high school, allow the students to perform the Vagina Monologues, all with women, or transgender male to females, whatever. Study the Good Body, and I Am An Emotional Creature. Those books by Eve Ensler are amazing, and she founded V-Day, so please, whatever you do, do it right. Teach that it is not okay to do violent acts against girls and women for any reason. Teach the boys not to take advantage of girls with disabilities, period. Teach the girls that it is okay to express yourself and have feelings. Period.
Any Catholic diocesan school should work closely with a special school for disabled children, and this might be a good way to get students aware and accepting of those with disabilities. However, all diocesan high schools should be educated in developmental and physical disability history. As part of the service project at MCC, Melbourne Central Catholic High School, I think there should be a requirement for all students to serve the disabled and go visit them on occasions like Christmas, Birthdays, etc. The students will provide friendship like in Best Buddies, but this would be a requirement for all students. The requirement to join a Best Buddies service team would help the disabled students not be isolated in their own special room all the time. Behaviorally handicapped students are often abuse victims themselves, and some are like that because of brain anatomical anomalies. However, that need not encourage MCC students from doing the right thing and being generous with the disabled population. I also believe that diocesan schools should be required to teach scientifically based psychology classes, so that they learn about things like what happens with schizoeffectives and so on. If a schizophrenic individual hears a voice or sees things, it’s a symptom they have to deal with. Also, psychology classes would help the students consider, not require them, to get a career in psychological therapy and specialize in disabled people and their needs. There is a need for psychologists in all school avenues that can believe disabled women so that these women can get the care and services they need while recovering from rape and sexual abuse. Family members often molest the women with disabilities, so this might require the women to leave their immediate home families, but it would be worth it if a psychologist says to the parents, “You need to keep this registered sex offender away from your disabled daughter.” IS it that hard? Social work should be an emphasis at all schools, including Catholic ones, because we the human race are going through a big transition point in which the patriarchy is happily being smashed, and women are doing the right thing.
Diocesan schools should be required to do service at nursinig homes, unpaid service that would require them to visit, feed, and care for elders just like in the Giver, but for all students. If you’re a med student, ditto for that.
All these things do have some relevance in the sex ed curricula. We should be teaching our children that the elderly do like it, but they do it amongst themselves. That we should also teach that adults should never ever have sex with kids is a ditto for those who are under eighteen. Mary K. Letourneau obviously had problems, having had sex with a sixth grade student, bearing two children for him, and after being married for a time, they split up. Now, she’s dead. However, let’s define Mary’s action as abusive, and then we need to be cautious in looking at what Mary did. Yes, the consequences for her children in both marriages have been bad, but for her, Mary wasn’t the right fit for Vili anyway because of the generation gap. Even if she didn’t abuse Vili after he turned eighteen, there’s a problem here. Women offenders are traditionally relationship driven, so it’s hard for me to analyze this without saying that what Mary did was wrong. Yes, it is common for boys to have crushes on female teachers, but what these copycat Mary Letourneaus are doing is wrong. There are many copies of Mary K. Letourneau running around in many schools, and these women are usually insecure. Kids in all schools should be encouraged to step forward and report the male or female offenders to a trustworthy adult, and I’d have done it if God forbid a coach molested me. I’m glad it didn’t happen, but to hell with the way a school might have handled this. FSU lost a great teacher in James Nally, convicted of soliciting sex from a minor out of state, and she might have reported it. Good for the girl who did this, and sadly, Nally had been a professor of piano music until that incident. Now, he’s a registered sex offender in the state of Florida or Kansas, I don’t know where. He was disgraced, rightfully so, and his disgrace should be a lesson to other adults who plan to solicit sex from minors. A minor with a disability should be more cautious because even family can’t be trusted. If Nally’s victim was disabled, who would believe her? I don’t know if anyone would.
The big thing that schools are not doing is believing women. If you are interested, please read the book “believe me” by Jessica Valentin. It’s a good book, and I can tell you, it’s awesome. Thank you for reading, and if you want to comment on this post, please use the Facebook or twitter thread from which this post comes. Thank you again.