Raise Your Voice has been working alongside other organisations to push for urgent reform on Relationships & Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools. It is apparent through our work as well as through a wealth of evidence that our current RSE provision is insufficient, and it is not fully equipping young people with the information that they need to embark on healthy, safe and consensual relationships.
In light of the murder of Sarah Everard in March and, shortly thereafter the murder of two further women here in Northern Ireland, a debate took place in the Assembly during which mandatory, standardised and inclusive RSE was recognised as the crucial piece of the puzzle that we have always known it to be, alongside a strategy to combat violence against women and girls and the recognition of misogyny as a category of hate crime, which we have been campaigning on for some time.
In the past month Raise Your Voice have written to the Education Minister Peter Weir MLA to urge action on this, and you can read this letter here. You can also watch a recording of an event that took place in late April, where a number of the organisations who signed our letter joined us to explain why they, too, support our campaign; these included Rape Crisis NI,Relate NI, the Homeless Period Belfast, Alliance for Choice Belfast, Transgender NI, Unison’s Education Branch and NIWEP. This isavailable to watch here.
We recognise that education and awareness takes place outside of school settings, too, and Raise Your Voice is involved in the Gillen Review Implementation Team, which will soon release a survey that will be used to shape a campaign to tackle common “rape myths” across society.
We also provide free, interactive, online workshops on these issues which are available to everybody. We have scheduled two for early June; “What Is Sexual Harassment” on Tuesday 8th June, and “Everything You Wanted to Know About Consent, But Were Afraid to Ask”, on Tuesday 15th June. Both begin at 7pm, and last one hour, and you can register on our website.