Pulse pushes for inclusive sexual health education policy

Student organization Pulse delivers presentation on lowering age of consent in Parliament

Yesterday, student organization Pulse delivered a presentation on the lowering of the sexual age of consent in front of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, together with the Social Affairs Committee and the Family Affairs Committee.

Pulse used this opportunity to further stress its position in favour of the proposal, while shedding light on the need for an inclusive and relevant sexual health education policy.

Pulse President Wayne Sammut together with Vice President Ayrton Mifsud and Secretary-General Joseph Masini said that a reduction in the age of consent is needed to start eliminating the culture of fear which has gripped our educators, professionals, and above all, our youths when it comes to having an honest and inclusive approach towards sex.

“A responsible change in the law would not only eliminate its abuse to incriminate young men and women who had consensual relations with their partners, but also serve to create an environment where discussion on responsible relations is encouraged, and not hindered by fear of repercussions,” Sammut said.

The group added that Pulse believes in the need for a complete overhaul in the way students receive sexual education.

“Unfortunately the current approach is not only being late, but is failing to be relevant in an-ever changing society,” they said.

“It is also a must for our sexual education policy to cater for the realities of young LGBTQQI students who have a right to receive support from their educators. Indeed, Pulse believes that schools should be at the frontline of dealing with the reality of different sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Pulse added that given this last reasoning, it proposed an increased presence of sex counsellors, together with regular sexual health check-ups in secondary and post-secondary schools.

The Pulse representatives also took the opportunity to highlight the alarming problem of STI and STD risk, especially among young couples.

“Pulse believes that while access to contraceptives has increased in the last years, much more still needs to be done. Indeed, it is telling that at this day and age, there still isn’t a condom dispenser installed at the University of Malta,” they added.

It added that this was an issue which Pulse will be advocating for in the coming months, clear in its belief that a comprehensive approach towards sexual health promotion includes a ‘normalisation’ of the use of contraceptives, which would help lift the taboo and encourage more teenagers not to shy away from protecting themselves and their partners.