Critical ThinkingEducationPop QuizSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: You Have One Hour To Learn All There Is To Know About Rape

Hi there, Doubters! I’m really sorry that this post is a little late; Friday night traffic is rotten. I’ll make this a quickie so that we’re not delayed too much longer.


Today we had a visitor from a rape counselling service in our school. Each year she visits for one week and delivers a presentation to all of our senior pupils. She takes groups of no more than 25, hence the need to do several sessions over a week. She speaks to the pupils openly and candidly, discussing many issues surrounding rape. A lot of the content of her presentation focuses on date rape, given that she’s delivering it to pupils who are just on the cusp of moving into the world of pubs and clubs.


I’ve seen her presentation a few times and I’m always impressed. She is an excellent speaker and the pupils are always transfixed by her presentation. She’s able to draw them into frank and open discussion of difficult issues, and the pupils always speak very highly of her afterwards. She talks a lot about victim-blaming and about how a lot of rape prevention advice seems to involve making it the girls’ responsibility to actively avoid being raped. She spends a lot of time speaking directly to the boys in the room and highlighting the issue of consent.


It’s a truly wonderful hour, but that’s the problem. Pupils hear this stuff for one hour, once in six school years. At the moment, our PSE (“Personal and Social Education”) programme doesn’t have any other content regarding rape or consent or sexual violence. There’s plenty of very open and detailed safe sex discussion (I once wrote a post about the joys of using a plastic penis-shaped condom demonstrator with a class of 14 year olds), but no more about rape. I feel like we have this one brief shining moment of brilliance where really genuinely useful discussion happens, but then it’s over and we’ve moved on. We’ve “done” rape education. I’ve spoken to the folk who run our PSE programme (and who do an otherwise super job) about trying to run follow-up lessons after this visit, but we always face the problem of time. So much to cover, so little time.


I know that having this discussion once is still far better than never having it and I truly hope that it helps some of the students, particularly the boys, to think more critically about their sexual behaviour. It’s just so frustrating to have to move on so quickly.


Does your school or educational establishment have any form of direct rape education?


If so, how much time is devoted to it? What ages is it delivered to and what form does it take?


Have you ever run into the problem of time, where seemingly genuinely useful educational discussion has to be cut short due to a crowded schedule?


The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm ET (thereabouts, at least today!).


Featured Image Credit: Cloud-A-Day

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Alasdair is a high school English teacher in Scotland. He's a passionate skeptic and science fan, which is why he runs a discussion club for young skeptics in his school. He loves space and astronomy more than pretty much anything and is studying for a physics degree in his spare time in order to become qualified to teach science.

He lives with a cat made of distilled hatred and spikes.

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