Steve Beegoo comments on the outbreak of information since the revelations from the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ initiative.
Children are by nature immature. Children are by nature learners. And children are designed to be loved and nurtured by parents.
Parents are the God-given guardians and stewards of children. Our schools have been delegated responsibility by parents and the state to teach children. So, is it really any sort of surprise, that when these immature learners are, from a young age, presented with unbiblical ideas about sex from school, polluting pornography on devices, and are left to non-parents to nurture, that we end up where we are?
A logical and inevitable outcome is a rape culture between children, which is becoming more apparent since the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ revelations started to come out. There is a vicious circle here. As pornography has become pervasive, so society ‘must’ teach young children about the dangers of pornography, so stirring thinking about such sexualising images in those as yet untainted by its toxicity. As unlawful under-age sexual activity has become acceptable, so teaching about ‘safe sex’ has become the emphasis in schools, and thereby stirring thoughts of sexual conduct in those unwilling, unprepared, and unready to even consider such activity.
Do we still believe there is such a thing as innocence in children which needs to be protected? Or do we believe, for example, that at the age of 11, where unfettered secondary RSHE is set to predominate from the summer, it is appropriate to educate every child about the details of sexual intimacy in all its currently acceptable forms; heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise. It seems that as a society we believe this is entirely appropriate. And it appears that parents, on the whole, are generally happy to go along with whatever the culture says.
Until the truth breaks out. ‘Rape culture’.
A culture of rape, as it is being coined, is an apt description indeed. Children, having been groomed to believe sexual practice and expression is the main form of identity, are seeking in their immature, egocentric, hormone-fuelled behaviours, to express their immature sexual urges. After all, our feelings are who we are, and unless we express our feelings, we are being ‘repressed’.
The Biblical teaching is that ‘I am who you say I am’, as the recent Hillsong song reminds us. That ‘you’ being our loving heavenly Father. I am not who my feelings say I am, and I am not bound to what my feelings say I should do.
Repression of feelings, a mark of maturity, is now scorned. The virtue of self-control is abandoned for the deification of self-expression. A new idol of self. A new cult of sex. And a rape culture can develop easily in the immature, vulnerable, egocentric child-child relationships. The innocent led into temptation.
Immature children learn through play. Like all mammals. They learn through play with each other and their environment. They learn what they should and should not do, guided by the clear rules of the parents around them. They like to compare their strengths and play at winning and cooperating. But without the full maturity they need to restrain feelings. The combination of the infinite internet playground, filled with pornography, the sexualised teaching through media and schools, and the sad ignorance of parents, leads to sexual chaos. Just like a school playground without any supervisors, restraint is disregarded.
Children do not understand consent and they are too easily coerced. And coerced by whom? Peers, media, advertising, school curriculum, ‘well meaning’ teachers… They are designed to play and explore with safe people and safe peers. And they will play and explore with the items and ideas that the ‘mature’ adults around them provide them with.
I have heard stories of 13-year-old boys in school penetrating with a ruler to bully a younger male pupil. The pain, fear and torment of this bullying was devastating. This week, I hear of science lessons where 11-year-olds are having explained to them how ‘moist’ the vagina gets, so that an erect penis can easily enter. Appropriate? We have heard stories of how in RSE, 12-year-olds were encouraged to research on the internet at home what ‘hard pornography’ is. The list goes on. Much will come out in the months ahead. The judgements about what is appropriate is increasingly being removed from parents, and we have the results before us.
Thankfully, the law remains that it is illegal for under-16s to engage in sexual activity. We must acknowledge the law. Thankfully, the ability of parents to remove their children from Sex Education remains in place. We must exercise this right. Schools are also required to consult with parents about the policy and content of RSE lessons being introduced. And if parents raise their voice, and churches support parents, then the sexualisation of our children can be withstood.
We grieve with those children and young people who have suffered at the hands of their peers as rape culture has been allowed to grow. We pray healing would come. But we also must take responsibility for allowing the sexualisation of immature children, and pray for a healing of our very land.