Sex Education is Everyone’s Right

Sex education is the teaching of knowledge and understanding of our bodies in their natural sexuality. It’s important for many reasons. Many privileged sectors of society have access to this knowledge and understanding, but in many parts of the world, it can’t be taken for granted.

There is a huge problem with sex education worldwide.

In the United States, a survey showed that of 1000 participants between 18 and 29 years, only 33% reported having had some sex education. In the United Kingdom, a similar poll proved that from the same number of participants, 16-17 years old, only 45% felt confident to define their sex education as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the adolescent pregnancy rate is 30%. Mexico has the highest rate of teen pregnancies among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Sex education simply means teaching young people to know how their bodies work and how to take care of them.

A sex education of quality provides us with the tools to respect our own bodies and the bodies of other people. It enables us to be conscious of the respect sexuality deserves, to prevent sickness, and to value the importance of open, shame-free dialogue.

Sex education should be part of every education. Sadly, many cultures still think that sex education is not a priority matter. Many people believe it shouldn’t be included in basic education because for them, talking about sex is a synonym for shame.

Consistent, high-quality sex education must not be only an option.

The importance of the subject goes beyond the individual. It matters deeply because a correct education can actually save lives. According to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), sex educations is:

“[…] teaching and learning aspects of sexuality. It aims to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships…”

Sex education can:

  • Prevent sexually transmitted diseases
  • Provide knowledge of how to use contraceptive methods
  • Prevent unwanted pregnancies
  • Create understanding of the menstrual cycle
  • Reduce stigma and shame

A thorough sex education also gives young people an understanding of the boundaries of their body’s intimate space. This helps them to identify sexual abuse.

With the correct information, people are more able to make responsible decisions.

Sex education must be a right. It is about more than just sexual life. Education helps young people to take decisions about their bodies, health and lives in their own hands. This can, in turn, create a better lifestyle for all.

It’s important to visualize the body as the natural thing that it is. If parents and textbooks would teach about the naturality of our bodies, it would be easier for people to demand respect over their own.

In the world I envisage for the future, everyone will receive high quality sex education. They’ll understand what sex is about, and there won’t be more fear or taboo. No child, woman or man will be limited in speaking about sexuality as a personal and social priority.

If you enjoyed this post, we think you’ll like these too!

The Sneakers Inspiring & Empowering Women

Just as clothing must be looked after and cared for, it seems increasingly essential that human beings come with a ‘how-to-care-for’ label, so that they are not destroyed by another person.

Josefinas is the only shoe brand born with the purpose to inspire and empower women through flat shoes.

Based on our passion for creating meaningful pieces, we conceived the You Can Leave special edition, which aims to alert to the growing and expanding plight that is gender-based violence and contribute to its eradication.

There are more and more cases of violence, happening earlier and earlier, leading to more and more deaths. The main victims? Women and children.

We created three pairs of sneakers and a pair of shoelaces, all with five common symbols that show ‘how-to-care-for’. They are printed so that no one forgets that a relationship should be based on love, mutual care and respect, and there is no place for violence, guilt, shame, intimidation, or control.

One of each pair of sneakers has a hidden QR Code; it symbolizes a relationship where domestic violence exists and proliferates in silence and shame. This QR Code comes with a message: You Can Leave. A victim may not be able to leave an abuser the first time, but eventually they will be able to leave, for good.

Did you know it often takes between five and seven attempts for a victim to abandon an abuser once and for all?

This cause means so much to us at Josefinas, which is why 30% of the sale of any one of these three pairs of sneakers or shoelaces goes to associations that help and support women victims of domestic violence, namely APAV and She is Rising.

Two pairs of the You Can Leave sneakers not only have the ‘how-to-care-for’ label, but also meaningful numbers:

  • 7 in 10 women experience physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime

  • 603 000 000 women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime

  • 15 – 44 is the most common age range for domestic violence to occur

It’s our mission to raise awareness. We want to talk about domestic violence. We want you to talk about it! Don’t judge, don’t turn a blind eye.

It is only when we are in someone else’s shoes that we can truly understand how pain and suffering, covered by shame, leaves us incapacitated and feeling like a victim with no way out.

But there is always a way out and it’s very important to know that there is a path that comes after all this.

Domestic violence isn’t a couple’s problem; it’s yours, it’s all of ours. It’s is highly likely that we all know someone who is suffering or has suffered from domestic violence. Domestic violence doesn’t choose age, religion, or social status, so never assume it won’t happen to you or to someone you know. Talk about it! Let’s keep the conversation going.

#ProudToBeAWoman

About Josefinas: Josefinas is the only shoe brand born with the purpose to inspire and empower women through flat shoes. In 2013, three women started Josefinas with the dream of inspiring other women to follow their own paths. Now Josefinas is taking it even further, helping other female leaders grow their businesses and supporting individual women in Rwanda. Josefinas has become a favorite among celebrities, has won the award for Best E-commerce Brand and has become a much-loved brand on social media. @josefinasportugal.

Give Yourself…You

We’re all taught that if we treat others as we’d like to be treated in return, we’ll live happier lives. But isn’t it about time that we turn that around and focus on providing ourselves the same kind of admiration and love we give to others?

Self love goes beyond the stereotypical pamper sessions. It’s about so much more and a deeper-rooted concern. Too often, we don’t have a big enough inner container for the love we deserve to give ourselves. We are infatuated by the idea of other people giving us love, but it will never work if we can’t even provide ourselves with a small portion of the same kind of love.

Many people associate self love with being selfish, when in fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Being able to take time out for yourself and your own needs eventually reflects on the way you act towards others. Constantly being negative and hard on yourself leaves no room for others to give you love.  If you can practice self love around others, it will be a subtle reminder to them to love themselves as well.

Self love is such a vital part of our existence, yet one we ignore – often purposefully – on a daily basis. We can get caught up in the complexities of life while trying to balance the need to achieve, impress and belong. We can forget about the most important part of this complex puzzle – ourselves.

“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” Charles Bukowski

I am my own harshest critic. I am always the first to criticise and tear myself apart for the slightest mistake or failure, time after time. It took me a long time to realize that I do not need a green light from the rest of the world to reassure me that I’m on the right path. I’m now learning to trust my instincts instead of my ego.

Listen to your body and ignore all the whispers and dark murmurs in your mind. It’s true that if you talked to others the way the little voices in your mind talk to you, those people may not stay your friends for very long.

Choose yourself first before you let anyone else in. Appreciate yourself for the extraordinary being that you are. If it helps you, thank yourself for getting up in the mornings and then reward yourself for making it through the day. Just as you are a well-functioning, powerful machine put on this earth, there is also a delicacy and fragility within you. You must refuse to seek permission or approval to be yourself. Recognize that you, like everyone else, deserve to take up space on this planet just as you are right now.

As award-winning slam poet Caira Lee says, “I am the most important person in the world to me. I accept that person and I admire that person, and I will do everything in my power to see that person’s dreams come true.”

Why She Leaves: Music for Advocacy

This is an anthem for women who’ve made up their minds. They’ve had enough of putting up with a relationship that was emotionally, physically, sexually or financially abusive. Maybe it was all of those things. Or maybe their partners were dismissive and unloving, depleting rather than strengthening them. Maybe it was just too much work. In any case, these women are tired, they’ve given too much and they’re fed up of being disrespected. The title of ANML’s song says it all – It’s Over.

ANML, an LA based and Canadian born singer, songwriter, producer and advocate, feels a person leaves a relationship “when it becomes unfulfilling or unbearable.” She tells me, “I see us all as animals, and I watch other species as an example. They bond. They stay together. So to be in a place where it’s time to let go, your needs are not being met.

ANML emphasises the need to discuss what abuse looks like more openly: “This is different for everyone but it takes a lot of shit until we let go. And we shouldn’t have a high threshold for shit.” She highlights the importance of being educated about abuse so that girls and women have the power to choose what they will do in any situation they might find themselves in. “We should know the signs of abuse so we’re able to decide. We should understand this better.

The video for It’s Over – a poignant display of liberation and self-love – has received over one million hits. ANML says the women in the video are not actors: “Some were in abusive relationships, some needed to say goodbye. I wanted to create a platform for women to talk about their experiences.

The video is raw in other aspects, too. ANML says there were no enhancements, no make-up, no frills. She adds, “It was just the way it was shot. We’re all real people.” In fact, she originally tried shooting professionally, but the video we see -filmed on her birthday in her bedroom the night before moving to L.A. – is the version she found to be most authentic. “So that’s how the video was made. To weave stories together.”

To tackle a problem as systemic and pervasive as gender violence and abuse, we need advocacy that spreads throughout every sector of our society – including the arts. Music is a powerful and emotive form of advocacy, and the potential for artists to create widespread changes in attitudes and behaviour seems unlimited. Show your love for ANML’s music on Soundcloud, Facebook or Twitter.