Sex education: Parents need to be proactive, not reactive


The headline was sickening…’Cork secondary school investigates ‘rape list’ found in boys’ toilets’. The allegations sent shockwaves around the country, and so they should. Now folks, I remember a  time when writing a cheeky note to a fella or a girl you fancied in class and leaving it on his/her desk or slotting it into one of their copies was viewed as exciting and risqué; and, if I’m honest…cute. 

  However, there is absolutely nothing cute about a situation where boys allegedly single out young girls and add them to a so-called ‘rape list’ which they post on their school’s toilet wall, the end game being that the girl ‘with the most ticks will get raped’. Nay, that’s perverse, devious and highly disturbing.

  And, while I know the school at the centre of these alarming revelations has moved swiftly and is doing everything possible to deal with the wretched situation, this latest incident has come hot on the heels of another highly startling report where Gardaí are investigating an allegation that an 11-year-old boy raped a 9-year-old girl in a field over the Easter weekend. How does an 11-year-old child get to this level of sexual activity? Now while both of these alleged incidents occurred at different ends of the country, the fall-out from each will have a catastrophic and wounding effect on everyone involved.

  You see readers, it appears that in a culture which encourages ‘sharing’ information and images freely, and, the wide usage of smartphones and the availability of pornographic material, it’s clear that some kids/teens are going to believe there is absolutely nothing wrong in engaging in certain, let’s say, questionable activities; believing it’s all part of their normal sexual development.

  And while yes, being curious is definitely part and parcel of growing up, as is a heightened interest in sexual activity, coupled with trying to figure out who you are, etc., parents absolutely need to ensure that everything their child is exposed to as part of the learning process should always be age specific; with emphasis placed rigidly on consequences, because, let’s face it, no pre-teen/teen comes complete with a clear understanding of cause and effect, now do they? It’s a parent’s job to be proactive and try to recognise the triggers.

  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and there’s nothing wrong with your teen engaging in age appropriate consensual sexual communication, so long as you, the parent, discuss everything with them beforehand; in particular the worrying upward trend of ‘sexting’ (a ticking time bomb among kids, in my opinion), and place strong emphasis on the serious consequences and pitfalls attached to it. Not to mention the emotional distress it causes for both the sender as well as the receiver. It’s time for some parents to stop using the internet as their babysitter and their kids’ teachers as their primary sex educators and moral guardians. The teacher’s job is to deliver academic skills, and while the issues around life skills, sexual relationships and gender respect should be included in the school curriculum, if you wish to educate your children regarding the onslaught they face in today’s technological revolution – especially when it comes to exposure to certain adult material – then the discussion must begin at home.

Comey turns out to be a ‘dorky dad’!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that former FBI Director James B Comey is on a book publicity tour; hawking an opus I’ll highly likely buy, simply out of nosiness.  However, I’m disappointed in his level of pettiness; a behaviour which is unbecoming of an individual who was previously entrusted to head up the USA’s federal law enforcement agency, responsible for its day to day operations. 

  My opinion of Comey lessened slightly when, speaking to ABC last week ahead of the launch of his much-anticipated tome, ‘A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies and Leadership,’ the 6’8” one didn’t come across as the cool clean hero I’d hoped he was; rather instead, he presented like a bitter, vitriolic begrudging little man as he gave a physical account of the perma-tanned one who once famously issued him with his P45!

  Now I’m not referring to Comey’s comment that Trump is “morally unfit,” to be president of the US, because I’d have to agree with him there and respond with ‘er, no s**t Sherlock, tell us something we don’t know!’ I mean, we’ve read The Donald’s erratic tweets, his latest being to label Comey a ‘weak and untruthful slimeball’…an invective one would hardly expect the most powerful individual in the world to use.

  But you see readers, while I initially thought Comey was the bigger man, and not just height-wise, but righteously, his bitchy remarks regarding Trump’s hands not being ‘as large’ as his own, and the fact his face is ‘slightly orange, with bright half-moons under his eyes,’ has diminished him (in my eyes) from the tall, dark, brooding, tell-it-like-it-is sexy specimen of everything a high-ranking, powerful law enforcement officer should be, to embarrassing dorky dad. In my opinion, Comey’s unvarnished physical description (of Trump), gave us the impression he was not quite a bona fide champion; and if I was his PR I’d advise him that until his book is on the bestseller list, while he’s doing future interviews, (no matter how half-hearted the effort might be), he should at least make an attempt to preserve his relationship with the media!