Rotherham MP blames pornography for frightening children

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion says boys are anxious about having sex as pornography has led them to believe they must strangle their girlfriends.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st July 2016, 10:21 am
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2016, 11:24 am
Sarah Champion
Sarah Champion

And she said girls in her Rotherham constituency are 'terrified' as they believe they will be subjected to violent behaviour during sex.

She branded pornography an 'online manual of how to abuse a woman' while calling for more to be done in schools to provide children with age-appropriate education about relationships and how to protect themselves.

Ms Champion, a campaigner on behalf of sexual exploitation victims, told MPs the education must start as soon as youngsters start school - although she stressed this does not mean she wants five and six-year-olds to be taught about sex.

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Instead, the MP said children should learn that 'no means no' and how they should tell someone if another person wants them to 'keep a secret'.

Leading a debate on the prevention of online child abuse, Ms Champion said: "Porn has always been here but the internet is putting a new, more sinister overtone on that.

"When I was 14 a gang of us had a porno mag, which we kept in our den. It's very different looking at an image of a naked woman to looking at a video of someone being gang-raped, and that's what our children are finding.

"There is no suggestion, there is no imagination. This is basically an online manual of how to abuse a woman and it is by far predominantly abuse of women that's happening in porn.

"So from a child's perspective they are curious about relationships, they try to find out, they find out by going online. What do they find? Porn.

"I've had boys in my constituency who are really anxious about having sex because they don't want to strangle their girlfriend and they think that's what they have to do.

"I have girls in my constituency who are terrified about having to endure the violence but they want to have a boyfriend so that's what they're going to have to go through.

"They have no background to see this as a fantasy. They have no background knowledge of consent, of respect, of the ability to say no."

Ms Champion said children are not learning about the dangers of the online world.

She went on: "Introducing compulsory, age-appropriate resilience and relationship education in schools would show that the new Prime Minister, new Education Secretary, new Home Secretary are serious about acting to prevent more child abuse.

"What I'm saying is we need to give the children the tools to protect themselves and I would urge that to happen from the youngest age.

"For example, as soon as you go into a school I would want children to be taught about 'no means no', about if someone wants you to keep a secret that makes you feel uncomfortable then you should tell someone and you should be listened to.

"I want them to understand that there are people that are bad out there and that you can tell people if you feel uncomfortable.

"I'm not talking about teaching five and six-year-olds about sex. Nothing about that.

"But what I would say is if you think when your two-year-old is starting to go to play group you will teach them not to snatch toys, not to push a child over so why can't you also teach them about respecting themselves and about respecting other people in the language they will understand?"

Ms Champion added parents and those who work with children must be helped to understand the signs and symptoms of abuse and how to tackle it.