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Sexual Health Education’s Impact on the Human Rights of Youth in High-Risk Situations
August 17, 2019 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
This presentation examines the impact of an evidence-based sexual health education curriculum within the context of human rights and sexual freedom. Rather than primarily an intervention program, this curriculum centers each individual’s values and goals for their lives. The speakers will present the curriculum and show its human-rights framework. We then present how the 50 cis and trans girls understood human rights in relation to their bodies, sexual experiences, and sexuality, and how those ideas changed (and in what ways) throughout the progression of the program. Drawing on focus groups and interviews with the girls as well as measures designed to understand their sexual health practices and sexual encounters, as well as experiences of violence and exploitation. The participants in the program are all youth involved in foster care or group homes, who are often shuttled from home to home without the 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. Central to this presentation is how the young women understand human rights in general, as well as how it relates to their sexuality and ability to make choices about their sexual experiences. Participants will learn how the youth in the program understood their human rights in relation to sexual health education and their own sexuality prior to and at the conclusion of the program. We will then provide an outline of the best practices we gained from this program, our research of it, and other sexual health education curriculums, and presenters and participants as a group will add to that list throughout the presentation. That list will be available to all participants after the session.