Sexual Health Education’s Impact on the Human Rights of Marginalized and Underserved Youths
Birch ◆ August 6, 2022 ◆ 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
This presentation examines the impact of the evidence-based Adolescent Sexual Health Education and Research (ASHER) program along with the “Choosing Myself” curriculum within the context of human rights and sexual freedom. Rather than a sexual health intervention program, the curriculum centers on each individual’s own values and goals to discover and determine their sexual lives. Youth are presented with information via discussions, group work, and mindful art activities to increase their retainability of the information and participation. These unique attributes allow for a comfortable environment, welcoming participants to connect with each other and create a community that can support them throughout their lives.
Evidence-based measures are administered throughout the program and are designed to help understand their sexual health practices and sexual encounters, as well as any potential experiences of violence and/or exploitation.
The “Choosing Myself” participants are youth in the judicial system who often do not have consistent housing which may decrease their ability to form stable and healthy relationships with those around them. This lack of stability has proven to lead to increased sexual violence, violent behaviors, decreased self-esteem, increased teen pregnancy, and future incarceration. The speakers will present the curriculum showing the human-rights framework by examining how 25 adolescents understood human rights in relation to their bodies, sexual health, sexual experiences, and sexuality. Finally, the speakers will share how those ideas changed throughout the progression of the program and in what ways.