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Letter: Utah desperately needs better sex ed curriculum

The Utah flag waves in the wind at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In the Deseret News article “Utah lawmakers nix idea requiring ‘consent’ as part of sex education,” published on Feb. 8, Marjorie Cortez explains that the House Education Committee voted 4-7 against HB177.

HB177 would have added instruction about consent, coercion, sexual violence behavior deterrence and sexual assault mitigation to Utah’s sex education curriculum.

Consent — and the lack of education surrounding consent — is a major problem in Utah, and it’s undoubtedly affecting your kids. Crime statistics gathered and reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that Utah has the 11th highest rates of rape and sexual assault among the nation. Rape is the only violent crime statistic, in Utah, that is consistently higher than the national average.

Cortez quotes victim advocate Alan Buys who has worked with students who have “done sexual things without getting consent and didn’t have a clue.” This clearly points to a widespread educational problem. If adolescents are not equipped with a proper understanding of consent, how can they be expected to avoid nonconsensual encounters?

They can’t.

I urge you to contact your local representatives to declare your support for HB177, and I urge you to teach your own children about the nuances of consent.

Carlie Lythgoe

Ogden