Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
peace@peace.ax
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Publication about
the Åland Example

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Ulle_fairsex“When is it too late to say no?” ” Is it ok to nag oneself to sex?” Is it true that boys always want sex?” As part of the ÅIPI violence prevention work, these and other questions about sex and relationships are being discussed with all students in grades two in upper secondary school on Åland. The project, called Fair Sex, started in 2011. In 2012 workshopsfor students are complemented with educational sessions for teachers on issues such as gender inequality, violation of boundaries and sexual harassment and how to spot it and stop it.

Media, pornographic films and the sex education in schools, sometimes give conflicting messages about sex. Often, there is a lack of discussion about communication, relationships, respect, values, norms and equality in relation to sex. During Spring 2011, within the project ”Challenging Gender Roles for the Prevention of Trafficking”, ÅIPI carried out the campaign FAIR SEX. The campaign material addresses questions such as: “What do I want? How should I express what I want? How do I know what the other person wants? How should I deal with what other people think?” To discuss and think about such questions can increase the probability for positive sexual experiences, as well as decrease the risk of becoming a victim of, or the risk of victimizing someone else through insulting treatment and assault.

Using the campaign material, the ÅIPI has, by request of the high school health services and financed by the Government of Åland, developed and run workshops about Fair Sex. The workshops have been offered to all grade two upper secundary school students. During 2012 the project was broadened to cover educational sessions on related topics for all teachers in upper secondary and hith schools on Åland.

5HangelThe purpose of the Fair Sex workshops is to encourage discussions about sex and relationships, reciprocity, respect and equality, in order to prevent sexual violence and to promote positive sexual experiences among youth. Besides the
questions already mentioned in the campaign, the workshop also focuses on questions such as: “How can I avoid hurting someone (even by mistake”)?” “How can I make sure that I don’t hurt myself and that I act out of concern for myself and others, rather than for example based on norms, expectations and opinions about how one ’should’ behave?” All this is connected to communication - the ability to dare discuss issues about and around sexual relationships – before, during and after.

The workshop is interactive. For two class hours (tot. 75 minutes), students discuss sexual expectations and norms , with trained leaders. Students have the opportunity to among other things, practice how to say no to things they don’t want to do,
both before, during and after sexual intercourse. Students also have the opportunity to think about how to communicate one’s own wishes in a positive way and also how to find out what the other person wants, before acting, so not to risk overstepping
anyone’s boundaries.

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