Ali’s Angle: Poland’s sex education is failing its children

Sex. We like watching it, we like talking about it, we especially like doing it. What we don’t like to think of is children doing it. However, whether we like  it or not, they are. Earlier this month thenews.pl reported police figures which show that half of all rape cases tried in Poland in 2014 were committed by minors, some as young as 13 years old. It is worth noting that the number of rapes committed by minors has apparently decreased from previous years, but this by no means indicates it isn’t still an issue in Polish society.

The reason given for these statistics? Sexologist Dr Andrzej Depko believes easy access to pornography is to blame, with minors ‘not grasping that the consent of two parties is necessary for sex.’

I’m not disputing that easy access to pornography, especially in the age of smartphones and tablets, can and does have an effect on childrens’ ideas of sex and what it entails. What isn’t being considered is the fact that it isn’t the only reason why children are committing these crimes. So why is pornography being made a scapegoat? Because the other factors mean taking a long, hard look at society—and we might not like what we see.

About a year ago I wrote an article about a judge who gave a four-month suspended sentence to a man who had beaten and hospitalised his wife, stating she had ‘provoked’ him. The way in which she had provoked him? She’d received a text message from a work colleague saying ‘hello… how are you?’ He had also been accused of rape, which he denied, saying, ‘… she came to my bed.’ As I stated at the time, whether the rape took place or not isn’t the issue. That man seemed to believe he was entitled to his wife’s body, regardless of her feelings, just because they slept in the same bed. This viewpoint, although limited to a minority of the population, is not uncommon. Speaking about the case with students afterwards, many of them (and sorry, but it does have to be said, all male) believe that rape can’t take place within a marriage. This warped sense of entitlement, coupled with what can be viewed online, surely skews with what children think about sex.

There is also the matter of sex education in Poland. Having requested information on what actually is taught in schools here, a friend sent me a document which details what should be covered from primary school up to high school under a topic called ‘Life in the Family’, taught as part of religious education. It covers the usual things: reproduction; puberty; interpersonal relationships. At secondary school students are offered optional sex ed courses covering contraception and medical testing, but most opt out as the lessons are scheduled for after normal school lessons. Like in many countries, people feel that this level of sex ed is sufficient. But with Poland’s rate of teenage pregnancy increasing and the continuing high rate of sexual offences committed by minors, it’s obviously not working.

Clearly, the fault doesn’t lie just with pornography itself: the fault lies with society’s inability to discuss the topic without referring to people who view porn as sexual deviants; it lies with society’s general attitude towards gender and sex; it lies with an education system which refuses to acknowledge that porn is an essential part of sex education, if children are to understand the differences between what happens on screen and what happens in real life.

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8 thoughts on “Ali’s Angle: Poland’s sex education is failing its children

  • March 27, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    Also the denial of child sexuality; Even when its staring them in the face!

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  • March 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm
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    If you watch a car chase in a James Bond film, does that qualify you to drive a car ? No, but it’s exciting and fun. If you watch porn, it may also be exciting and fun but I doubt it prepares you for a healthy sexlife. We may include porn in our lives but shouldn’t think of it as educational.

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  • March 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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    “But with Poland’s rate of teenage pregnancy increasing and the continuing high rate of sexual offences committed by minors, it’s obviously not working.”

    How about comparing statitistical data on teenage pregnancies and sexual crimes in Poland with those from a country with a “working” sex education? Say, Great Britain?

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  • March 28, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    It is interesting that author does not mention rapes in Poland are about 1/10 in USA. I wonder who Ali Angle is.

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    • September 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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      You mean the quantity or you mean Poles are raping in the US?

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  • March 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm
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    Children are now raping each other and assaulting each other in all countries where they are exposed to porn. They also started stabbing each other to death, following exposure to hardcore violence in interactive games and on film! What do people need to make the obvious connection? Our increasingly selfish culture is producing a true horror story we which we have yet to see the full expression.

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  • September 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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    What I don’t get is why sex ed is an afterschool program. I think it should be something taught as part of a proper curriculum… In the US, we are facing a similar problem as many school districts focus on abstinence-only programs, which have failed miserably. In spite of such failure, conservatives continue to push it…

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  • February 20, 2016 at 12:32 am
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    As a Brit of Polish extraction having observed over many years society in the UK becoming more violent the more frequently people are exposed to violent film, the disrespectful attitude of a lot of cultures towards women fuelled by the ease in obtaining pornography and you get an idea of why our societies are becoming less cohesive, more obsessed by what I would term the McDonalds way of life. Everything has to be instant. Talking about sex and relationships as part of a whole rather than separate things helps young people understand the role of sex in society, not just something adults do. Young people need to be able to understand how to use all those feelings and hormonal drives that are fuelling the urge to rape and turn them into something that benefits not just them but society as a whole.

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