Assembly Speaker, 17 June 2019 – The Rap Project
The Rap Project speaks to children aged 10-19 about social media around the laws of sexual harassment and assault and how porn is affecting body image and attitudes; some examples of their empowering company mottos are:
“Awareness is power “, “Mutual respect mutual consent “
The speaker was Allison Havey, co-founder of the RAP Project, and she showed us some very interesting statistics. In a survey taken in 2018 of 110,000 14 years olds, 22% of girls and 11% of boys admitted to self-harming. Their main reasons were stress about exams/friendships and feeling unhappy about their appearance. She then went on to explain how gender stereotypes can cause problems with an individual’s view about their appearance when combined with prolific use of social media, which makes young people have unrealistic view of how they should look and what the opposite sex is attracted to. The discussion then moved onto the way that porn is contributing to this with the shocking statistic that 90% of women have breast implants and men who appear in porn have 34% have bigger penises than the average size.
Allison then spoke about porn addiction, the severity of this condition and how to identify if you are a porn addict, how much is too much and where to get help. She outlined that If you are feeling anxious and not spending time outside but instead locked in your room with your laptop then you are probably an addict; how much is too much is subjective but if you recognise it as a problem you can call Childline or the Rap project or even go to your parents. She referred to the concept of generation porn as 60-90% of under 16’s regularly view hardcore porn on line and one third of teens today believe that porn dictates the nature of sexual relationships with a significant number admitting they use porn for guidance about sex and totally separate it from the importance of relationships.
When the students were asked how would they described porn they said:
Then the statistic that most shocked the audience and highlighted why new government ruling is to be introduced around access to porn is 11 years old is the average age when children first see porn in the UK - so on the 15 July this year the viewing of online pornography will have an age restriction of 18 and will require official ID to enter the site.
Allison Harvey believes there is a link between these unrealistic images of the female body and lack of self-confidence, which is at an all- time low in adolescents. She again used a personal anecdote from a previous assembly where she quoted a girl who said “I love my boyfriend very much but I’m never gonna have sex with him because I don’t look like the girls he sees online “.
The discussion then moved onto consent and how people often cross the line. Allison gave an example and said “If a girl mumbles ‘yes’ when she is drunk is that consent?” NO: ‘Consent is a discussion between mature individuals who aren’t drunk“. She backed up her point with another anecdote where a year 12 young man met a girl at a house party and he hooked up with her after she said she was 16, but she lied and later admitted she was 14 and she then said she might go to the police. This young man was facing the prospect that he might be on the sex offenders register. Luckily he spoke to a teacher and they sorted it out. The main message is to be cautious, and to think very carefully about what you are doing, especially under the influence of drink.
And finally Allison highlighted the rules the Rap project think everyone should follow:
RAP TOP TIPS for Teens:
She also supplied us with interesting TEDTalks around the issues she’d covered as well as contact and phone numbers of key organisations which provide support.
In all it was a very thought provoking and useful assembly.