Sexual Consent in Sex Education Curricula: Case Studies of Ghana and Kenya

Ann M. Moore , Guttmacher Institute
Juliette Fry, Columbia University
Elizabeth Witwer
Melissa Stillman, Guttmacher Institute
Sarah Keogh, Guttmacher Institute
Ellie Leong, Guttmacher Institute
Kofi Awusabo-Asare, University of Cape Coast
Estelle Sidze, Université de Montréal

Sexual consent is of fundamental import when teaching young people about how to negotiate their sexual lives. Examining sex education in three regions in Ghana and three counties in Kenya via interviews with teachers (Ghana: N=346, Kenya: N=196), and students (Ghana: N=2,990, Kenya: N=2,484) in 2015 found that one-third of Ghanaian and a quarter of Kenyan teachers reported not teaching sexual consent. Less than a fifth selected “sexual relations should always be consensual” as a priority message, focusing on abstinence messaging instead. Half of the Ghanaian students and two-thirds of the Kenyan students did not learn about recognizing forced sexual contact. Almost half of the Ghanaian students agreed with “most of the time, when girls say ‘no’ to sex, they really mean ‘yes,’” while in Kenya only 7% of boys and 1% of girls agreed. Inadequate education allows harmful social messages about sexual consent to remain prevalent among young people.

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 Presented in Session 135. Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV, Fertility, and Reproductive Health