Possible classroom activities include students acting out scenes of sexual coercion after which students would suggest more appropriate behaviour.
A VicHealth report for the state Education Department calls for teachers to be trained in gender, violence and sexual health issues so they would be comfortable discussing “taboo” issues.
But it would help if teachers could “make the program fun”, the authors said.
The report says programs for all students should start at primary level and be reinforced across all year levels in subjects including drama, English, science and sport.
They would combat common attitudes among boys such as young women are either “good girls or sluts”, the report said.
It said feminist theories were best at explaining the link between gender power relations and violence against women, and must underpin the programs.
But the authors of the “Respectful Relationships Education” report admitted there was considerable community hostility to feminism, even among teachers and students.
The hostility comes with good reasons. Programs like the one Michael Flood wants instituted are little more than demonization and blaming tactics meant to belittle and attack boys. They are incredibly insensitive, completely ignoring female-on-male violence and ignoring the fact that many of the boys who will be subjected to these programs are victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, often by their mothers. The language and tactics used in these programs can have a disastrous effect on boys who have been or are being abused, essentially blaming the boys for what was done to them and leaving them with the impression that they either deserved it or their experiences do not count as abuse.
Flood halfheartedly tries to address this problem:
Report author Dr Michael Flood admitted there was always the risk of a backlash, but said it was crucial that students were taught that sexist attitudes and unequal relationships between the sexes were central to explaining violence.
“We need to do that in ways that are careful and respectful and don’t make boys in particular feel blamed and demonised for the problem,” he said.
“Not by shoving capital ‘F’ feminism down their throats.”
Yet that is exactly what will be done. Recently I emailed Flood in regards to his XY Online site. For a site supposedly concerned about men’s issues there is a complete dearth of articles, research, links and information about male victimization, male rape, male suicide and other issues that affect boys and men. The bulk of the content on the site revolves around feminist propaganda attacking males and masculinity. As I said to Flood in the email, the site leaves the impression that male victimization essentially does not exist and unfortunately the language used on the site can be quite triggering for male victims, especially since the many of the articles belittle and minimize male victims’ experiences.
Even in Flood’s responses to the live blog comments he could not manage to explain away the obvious biased nature of what he intends. The effect it can have on boys, especially young boys who cannot articulate the reasons they may be hurt by Flood’s intentions, is severe. I wrote about one such program that was done in my cousin’s school and how it harmed him. In my correspondence with Flood he seemed rather dismissive of acknowledging abuse against males and particularly dismissive of acknowledging that women commit such acts. One must wonder just what he has planned in regards to teaching boys about “respecting” girls while teaching girls to express their sexuality and wills however they wish regardless of the impact it has on boys.