China’s first authorized sex educators to break decades of silence打破多年来的沉默——中国日益重视青少年性教育 时间:2018-07-10 单词数:5350
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Wu Shuang, a 24-year-old college student, recalls the day when she asked her parents to explain how she was born.
"My parents told me I was picked up in a bathroom," she said.
It might sound peculiar, but Wu’s is not an uncommon answer when it comes to the descriptions Chinese children hear around matters of sexual education.
Apart from a few experimental lessons launched in a handful of schools in China’s larger cities, most schools haven’t introduced formal sex education courses, leaving nearly 22% of youths under the age of 19 mostly in the dark.
But that situation is about to change.
In March, the first batch of sex educators for middle-school children in China was certified by the national government.
The training courses provide a variety of content, including information tailored for both children and adults, online videos for family education, and summer and winter campaigns for adolescents.
Among the topics covered are matters such as sexual consent, common questions about sexual intercourse and debates around real cases involving sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution.
But the courses also aim to highlight issues of human rights and sexuality, said Fang Gang, the program initiator and associate professor of psychology at Beijing Forestry University.
Fang described the training courses as "empowerment sexuality education," as they teach adolescents how to have sex safely and responsibly.
Until recently, there had been very little, if any, sex education for young people in China, apart from the basics on sexual reproduction learned in biology textbooks.
The lack of information on issues around sex has left many Chinese teenagers dangerously in the dark.
For example, young people are a growing concern for HIV rates in the country; although national rates are very low -- under 0.1% -- an estimated 14.7% of new infections in 2015 were among people 15 to 24. The year-on-year growth rate of new HIV infections among young people is around 35%.
For Ke Xi, a 20-year-old student at Hebei University in Hebei Province, central China, the lack of sex education made it more difficult to understand herself and how to carry herself. She described feeling anxious about mainstream societal norms around women and sex and whether she should have to confirm to them.
"Chinese men view ignorance as cuteness when it comes to being a woman," she said. "Some girls around me don’t even know the process of intercourse, and they listen to their boyfriends. But their boyfriends learn from Japanese porn."
Other women want to ensure that their daughters don’t lack the sexual education they themselves missed out on and know how to protect themselves.
Wang Bing, a 36-year-old employee in a Chinese state-owned enterprise, said that when she was young, she was taught nothing by the older generation, who preferred to ignore the topic.
"Just like the saying, women begin to know their biological structure through her husband, after getting married," she said.
With two daughters at home, Bing passes on her limited sexual knowledge and buys books with cartoon pictures for her oldest, now 10.
"It’s necessary to know something. At least you know how to protect yourself when danger comes to you," Wang said.
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