our bodies, our selves / by mrm

There are several important issues that are being addressed by Peer Health Exchange, including obesity, alcoholism, and drug-abuse. And while I'm comfortable asserting that all of these issues have intersections with feminism, I particularly want to give PHE mad props because they're also tacking violent relationships and teen pregnancy. Which is important, because they work with high schoolers. Apparently one in three teenage girls in this country becomes pregnant. Meanwhile, conservatives throw their aprons over their faces at the thought of teenage girls taking sex ed. Because, you know, obviously all the girls who are pregnant had great sex ed classes in high school. Of course, the science doesn't bear that out. And while (predominantly male) politicians dither about if and how to teach our youth about consent, safety, personal boundaries, and contraceptives, girls are getting unintentionally pregnant. Male and female people are entering and staying in violent and unsafe relationships. Which brings us back to PHE. PHE targets "high schools that lack health education and in which the majority of the students live at or below the poverty line" and then "recruits, selects, and trains college student volunteers to teach high school students a comprehensive health curriculum consisting of thirteen standardized health workshops on topics ranging from decision-making and sexual health to substance abuse and nutrition." In a nutshell: Free, quality, no-agenda sex- and health-ed for underserved youth. Now you see why I'm excited. 

Was sex ed a lousy, insulting, awkward joke and complete waste of time when you were in high school? Yeah, me too. Wouldn't it be awesome if that stopped being the case? We talk a lot about individual rights in this country. But I for one refuse to believe that a parent's right to raise their child "the way they see fit" trumps a child's right for safe and honest information about their own body. Children and teenagers are also citizens, and it's past time we start treating them as such.

So, PHE? They're hiring and looking for volunteers. (And of course, they'll take your money, too.) Check 'em out, & spread the word.