Australia Education Sex and sexuality

Is More Education the Answer to Australia’s Sex Abuse Crisis? AP

This weeks article in Australian Presbyterian….

We have had two weeks of continual news about sex abuse. The disclosures about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins by a staffer in the office of the Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, has opened up a whole can of worms. We are told that Canberra is a toxic culture of drunkenness and sexual abuse.

Abuse of Pupils

Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a petition by a former pupil who is now doing her Masters in gender and education at University College, London. The petition, signed by 1500 pupils and former pupils, complains about the level of sexual abuse of girls in Sydney schools – this abuse by boys largely taking place outside schools. It is a horrendous story – the details of which are gross and not suitable for this publication. The petitioners want there to be more sex education, particularly around the issue of consent.

I believe the petitioners and have every sympathy with them, and indeed with those who are complaining about the ‘toxic culture’ in Canberra. Sadly, neither of these situations are unique – every week it seems as though there is a new story of abuse within the Church – think for example of the horrendous stories coming out about Ravi Zacharias. And then there is the major problem of domestic abuse – much of it sexual.

Canberra and Edinburgh

As a Presbyterian minister I have witnessed the fruit of a sex obsessed culture in so many ways. I have contacts within the Scottish Parliament who tell me that it is the same in Edinburgh as in Canberra. Politicians having affairs, sleeping with staffers, using their power to abuse, or just simply being obnoxious. The latest court case involving the former First Minister, Alex Salmond, has been incredible to watch. Can you imagine Scott Morrison being accused of assaulting women, including attempted rape? Salmond was cleared of the accusations, but not before much of the grimy culture within politics in Scotland, and some of his own sleazy behaviour, was exposed.

Over the years I have heard many desperate stories, both personally and from colleagues. The student raped at a party and blaming herself for drinking; the young man raped by a businessman at another party who was told by the police that homosexual rape could not be proved; the female lecturer who was caught by a colleague kissing a female student; another female student who slept with a sleazy lecturer because he hinted that she might get better grades if she did so; the elder who left his wife and children because of an affair he had with a colleague; the middle-aged man accused of grooming a 16 year old; the teenage girl with gender dysphoria who was raped as a child – the list is almost endless.

So what’s the solution to this?

Is the problem really the lack of education? Yes – in at least one sense. I don’t think the problem is one that will be solved by more sex education in schools or teaching consent. Is it really the case that children and teenagers don’t know that their bodies are their own and they have the right to say no? It may be, but I struggle to see how. I knew, and I taught my children – it’s your body, no one else’s. More than that your body is sacred. But perhaps that is the problem. We don’t educate our children in a wholistic, biblical view of humanity, sex and relationships.

One thing is certain – our culture is sex obsessed. We bring our children up in an environment where they witness sexual acts and attitudes on mainstream culture and where hardcore pornography is available on any mobile phone. We give them the message that sex is an appetite to be indulged and as long as it is ‘safe’ and involves ‘consent’ then go ahead and indulge. In fact, our children are likely to get more warnings about sugar in food than they are to be told about the dangers of sex outside marriage. A society which teaches abstinence about certain foods and lifestyles (you need to look after your body and save the planet), cannot bring itself to say that sex is sacred, special and should be limited within the context of a loving relationship – marriage.

To give young men (and in some cases women – although sexual aggression is largely a male problem) the ideology of sex as appetite, and access to continual porn, and then expect them not to act upon that is as dopey as teaching a child to love chocolate, and then placing him in a sweetie shop and telling him not to touch! None of that is to excuse or minimise the seriousness of sexual abuse – but rather to enhance it.

Consent is an issue.

But it is not the issue. Education is an issue. But not in the sense that our secular society perceives education. We need a much bigger solution and a far greater education. We need to return to the Christian perspective of humanity, gender, sex, humility, sexuality, community, family and relationships. And respect.

In their 1981 song, Centrefold, the J Geils Band sang about how a man was shocked to discover his girlfriend was in a pornographic magazine he was reading. The song was about his own hypocrisy. I remember at the time thinking I need to treat all women with respect, not as sex objects like meat, but as though they were my mother, sister etc. I did not then know that this was the biblical perspective (1 Timothy 5:2). I determined not to look at pornography ever again or look upon women as sexual objects – again not knowing that was biblical (Job 31:1). I’m not claiming to have done that perfectly, but like many I can say that by the grace of God, the Christian understanding of sex and humanity has saved many of us from the Highway to Hell (Proverbs 7:27). If our society wishes to stay on that Highway to Hell we cannot expect the fruits of heaven. We reap what we sow. In the 1960’s we sowed the wind, 50 years later we are now reaping the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7) and it is children and women who suffer the most.

Sow the Wind, Reach the Whirlwind

If our society continues to reject biblical education, then families and the Church need to make an extra effort to ensure that our children are taught the way of the Lord so that they will not depart from it. We cannot leave sex education to an educational system which fundamentally is opposed to Christ’s teaching. In addition, we need to set an example by dealing with the sexual abuses within the church, clearly and openly. When we stumble and fall, we need to avoid the pathetic excuses and instead humbly and genuinely repent as David did (Psalm 51). We must not use grace to justify sin and abuse. We must not elevate some sexual sins above others. We must support and help one another – and when there are those within the Church who teach and practise the opposite, we must deal with them as Paul urged the Corinthian church to deal with the sexual immorality within its midst (1 Corinthians 5). If we do not practise what we preach why should anyone listen to us?

We live in dangerous and perverse times. Let us seek to be blameless and pure, “children of Godwithout fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).

How Christians Could Respond to Government Sex Education Guidelines

The Secularisation of Worship and the End of Spiritual Independence? – AP


  1. Very appropriate for today, Pastor. I was home from work today, so I saw both Grace Tame’s National Press Club address and the Christian Porter press conference. FWIW, I couldn’t tell if Mr Porter was telling the truth or not.

    “We cannot leave sex education to an educational system which fundamentally is opposed to Christ’s teaching.”

    Yes, as I mentioned on the post about Mary Whitehouse, attending an Australian Government school in the 1990s, we learnt how to practice safe sex to avoid accidental pregnancies and STDs and that “no means no” when it comes to consent. In other words, we were basically taught health and safety and how to obey the law. Obviously, this should have prevented many of the abuse situations you describe above but there was absolutely no teaching of any moral aspect of sex though, so we were not taught pre-marital sex is wrong, masturbation is wrong, viewing porn is wrong, etc, or general respect and not treating the opposite sex as an object of lust.

    1. “David Robertson @theweeflea

      It didn’t take long did it? Biden is bombing the Middle East – but at least his cabinet is diverse!”

      Spot on, by the way. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    2. Here are the two videos for international readers who don’t know what Dave is referring to:

      Tasmanian girl, Grace Tame, who survived child sexual abuse from a teacher and was named Australian of the Year last month, gave a speech about her experiences today and how she was groomed by her predator and the warning signs for parents, children, etc, to watch out for:

      In an unrelated matter, Australian Attorney-General, Christian Porter, has been accused of raping a girl in 1988. The girl later committed suicide.

      (The attorney-general is the givernment politician who is the top legal officer in the country.)

      Christian Porter defended himself today in a press conference that was pretty much unprecedented in Australian political history:

      Warning: these vidros may be traumatic to some readers.

      1. Thanks for providing links to the vids. Much appreciated.

        A few further ransom thoughts:

        * People often claim that paedophilia is all about power. That would seem to be true in Grace’s case because a girl suffering from severe anorexia is not going to look physically attractive to a normal man. Therefore, it apparently isn’t about physical lust in the normal sense.

        * I’ve read before about how some victims have multiple abusers, as in Miss Tame’s case. They seem to be able to sense who is vulnerable and prey on these soft targets.

        * The school where Miss Tame was abused is the most prestigious private Anglican girls’ school in Tasmania.

        * Some people have considered Mr Porter a potential candidate for future prime minister. With these allegations hanging over his head, though, it obviously seems like his leadership prospects are in tatters today.

        * There are clearly no winners from the Porter situation – a girl is dead after suffering mental health issues and a family has lost their daughter who was allegedly a bright, talented young girl with a very promising future ahead of her. Mr Porter’s reputation, as mentioned in the point above, is in tatters unless some way is found to prove or disprove the allegations, and he claims his own mental health is suffering as a result of the claims.

  2. “Your body is sacred.” And therein is the key. That’s the “education” that’s needed. How would you like your daughter, mother or sister to be treated?

    On the other hand, it’s easy to attribute anything that goes off track wiht this to “toxic masculinity”. Demonising of men or telling men to man up isn’t the answer either.

    The truth is for this to work requires the divine feminine meeting with the divine masculine. We are interdependent. And it’s fostering and nurturing this this that will bring about resolution to the kind of issues you mention here David. The more of what is beautiful with this is manifest, the less attractive alternatives will seem.

  3. We don’t educate our children in a wholistic, biblical view of humanity, sex and relationships.

    As an atheist and anti-theist I will naturally take issue with this sweeping generalisation and erroneous view.

    In the main, children learn by example. Respect shown, Respect given, Respect earned.
    The mechanics of sex are easily explained.
    The basis for good relationships are learned – usually by example.

    Nowhere in any of this is a god needed.

    1. ‘The basics of good relationships are learned -‘

      Your taking issue, refuting the possibility of objectivity I.e. that the mechanics have an objective, design, purpose and function, yet at the same time citing the virtue of a relationship needing to be ‘good’.
      Why do relationships need to be good? According to what?

      The man or woman who seduces, charms and persuades mutual consent to sex, but is later considered to have ‘exploited’ relies on a presumed standard for relationships.
      So who or what sets that standard?
      You contest the judeo-Christian view, but why?

      The law is not the standard, because many scandles of abuse are outside of the law, or have required the law to catch up with behaviours that have been considered wrong, based on objective truth.

      It not that good relationships are learned, they are discovered. Otherwise, a person who has only known manipulation and seduction would not feel abused, because they have learned nothing different.
      That an abused feels so, is not because they learned what was good first, (having been in a good relationship) but because the measure is not what they have learned but objective values. Abuse of anything presupposes a ‘’good’ against which the bad is measured.

      You can refute the origin being biblical, because that’s not the origin, the origin is God as creator, the biblical view just captures the truth of such facts. Capturing the truth and the origin of truth differ.

  4. Hi David,

    I don’t intend for this to be published but I couldn’t figure out any other way to get in contact with you as I don’t do social media such as Twitter etc! Relic, I know.
    Anyway, appreciate the work you do and have been praying for you in it.
    The other reason for writing was to let you know I’ve just done a series of lectures on ‘The Reformed Doctrine of God’s Will’ which you may be interested in watching. I did my Ph.D on ‘The Reformed Doctrine of God’s Will in the Theology and Pastoral Practice of Thomas Boston,’ at Aberdeen Uni, although I pitched the lectures at the layman. If you type ‘Forres Baptist Church’ into You Tube, they should come up.
    Keep on keeping on, the work is often hard but the day is short and there are far better things ahead!
    Grace to you, Jon

  5. In Education, as in much else in life , “more means worse” , to quote Sir Kingsley Amis.

    Anyone who has ever skimmed through a spouse’s M.Ed degree reading list cannot help but notice the emphasis is not on Education, in the drawing out sense, but Change in the Marxist Social sense.

  6. CS Lewis in the abolition of man

    “No justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat’, than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.”

    “… your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you…” (GEn 3:16)

    I’ve always pondered whether I entirely agree with the first, and the second wants some careful interpretation. The desire for the husband may point back to ‘nevertheless in spite of the curse of childbirth, you will still desire your husband’ and the ‘ruling over’ may be a plain interpretation. Note that I am querying what this verse tells us about how things are, not aiming to assert that a husband has any right to do what the verse says. It just ‘IS’ that way. ‘In Christ’ it is different, and ‘In Christ’ should be high up the christian education checklist!!

    David if you can, could use some help here…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *