I wish I could say that we were the only nation that was hurting from poor sexual education standards. There are some countries which as a whole do not allow any sexual education instruction, which means women and men are not getting the tools they so desperately need to protect themselves and those around them.
I travelled to the Philippines this month on vacation and had the opportunity to speak with a group of women there. In speaking to them, it was interesting to discover that they had the same concerns as I did, even though our lives seemed so different. They care just as much about education, family, success, and more just as much as I did. My heart was filled with joy by these women. They were so fun to be around and they made me feel right at home.
As much as I was thrilled to meet these women and speak with them, I couldn't help but later feel disheartened that I couldn't help them in the way I so desperately wished. You see, sexual education in the Philippines is lacking, to say the least. Basic concepts such as disease prevention, contraceptives, and more are not taught. Advanced topics such as the ones which can reduce the rates of sexual assault- consent, coercion, and refusal skills, are not even thought of.
I had the opportunity before going to the Philippines, to learn about the effects poor sexual education has on the people there, but it was different to see it in person and to learn truly about the conditions of this country. I wanted to help, but I feel helpless.
I expressed this discouragement to a friend who pointed out to me that I was helping. That I couldn't be expected to do more. She wisely shared that by making positive changes in my own community, this will cause a ripple effect that, although maybe not immediately, can eventually cause positive change throughout the world.
This is the message I wish to share with all of you today. Although it may not be today or tomorrow or even next month or next year, you can make positive change. Start small by simply trying to change the way your family talks about sexual assault, or your friends, or even just share a message about it on social media. I know that you all can make an immense difference, I have seen it on the We Will instagram page. I've seen the immense support and love that can change a woman who is ashamed of her journey into a strong survivor.
I encourage each of you to start small, but in that to start a ripple which will be set in motion and cannot be stopped.