When 17-year-old Agatha Tan attended a sex ed workshop last week at her Singapore high school, Hwa Chong Institution, she was flabbergasted at the victim-blaming rape culture and gender stereotyping lessons being taught.
On Monday, Agatha posted images from a booklet she received at the workshop on Facebook:
Agatha also posted a letter she wrote to HCI's Principal, Dr. Hon Chiew Weng. In it, she boldly voices her disgust about the assembly, particularly its promotion of stereotypes about the ways men and women are "naturally" wired:
I learned a simple yet important lesson: that bigotry is very much alive and it was naïve of me to think I could be safe from it even in school. While I do have many concerns with regards to this workshop and its content which I consider to be pressing, the most pressing is perhaps that the workshop and booklet actively serve to promote rape culture in school. On the cover page of the booklet itself, it is written, “no means yes?” and “yes means no?” ... they spent their four hours with us discussing things such as what a girl “really means” when she says something else, as opposed to guys who are “direct” and “always mean what they say." By telling the student population this, FotF sends a dangerous message: that you should always assume that a girl means something else (like “yes”) when really she just means “no”.
Below is Agatha's full letter, as posted to Facebook:
According to Singapore's Today, the program was run by an outside group, called "Focus on Family." Hon said that the facilitators were "ineffective" and that the school is planning to design its own workshops for future use.
Hopefully, the school will design a curriculum worthy of students like Agatha.