The Let’s Talk About Sexuality Conference: Evidence-Based Lifelong Learning the importance of an educational process that contributes to breaking down prejudices and stereotypes in order to make visible the importance of sexual rights and comprehensive sexuality education (EIS) in childhood and adolescence.
This was stated by Mariela Castro Espin, director of the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex) at a meeting with adolescents, teachers, activists and specialists as the culmination of this initiative organized every year by this scientific institution.
The initiative concluded this week in Cuba with a review of progress and lessons learned in the debates, exchanges and workshops organized by Cenesex in the context of the conference on the EIS as an important step in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
EIS is an essential tool because of its ability, as a teaching and learning process, to provide minors with knowledge that enables them to enjoy health, well-being and dignity; as well as establishing social and sexual relationships based on respect.
Between July 11 and September 28, girls, boys and adolescents took part in countless activities aimed at increasing their creativity and participation in the recognition, protection and dissemination of sexual rights, especially the right of CSE in favor of the prevention of sexual violence against children.
Nearly thirty workshops were organized in basic secondary schools, pre-university schools, special education, trade schools, mental health centers, among other institutions, and in which 675 adolescents participated, said psychologist Ana Maria Cano, also of Cenesex, which He also highlighted the spaces for reflection in vulnerable communities with the presence of family members, teachers and the children themselves.
Let’s talk about sexuality: a lifelong learner, under the motto Like your rights, he took his message to several municipalities in the capital and to the provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque in the west and Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba in the east of the country..
“Our main goals are that children and adolescents are able to recognize that they are subjects of rights; explain the feelings associated with the changes that occur during puberty; recognize the self-care of their bodies as an essential element for their well-being and overall health and identify when they may be immersed in situations of sexual violence and seek help and protection,” said Ana Maria Cano.
“It’s about actively listening to girls, boys and adolescents and enabling them to live in a society free of violence, feeling empowered, dignified and respected,” he said.
With a program including online panels and debates in social networks, virtual conferences aimed at professionals, the conference addresses issues such as family violence due to rejection of sexual diversity in adolescence and the prevention and educational management of child and minor abuse.
Among the concerns revealed by the adolescents during the work sessions, the specialist mentioned the lack of trust in primary adults, the fear that they will not be believed when they refer to situations of abuse or not seeing teachers as figures to whom these circumstances.
These are issues that require deepening and investigation, Mariela Castro said, along with others such as bullying, abandonment as a form of violence, suicide related to situations of violence, or violence exercised or permitted by those responsible for parents.
The director of Cenesex emphasized the importance of approving a popular referendum on the new Family Code, the entry into force of which provides greater protection for children and adolescents and is harsh in terms of punishing violence in all its forms.
The legislation also promotes the hearing of minors and progressive autonomy, aspects that are being worked on during the conference.
In Cuba, the recognition and guarantee of the rights of children and adolescents are priority goals of the state and of the whole society, he affirmed, but he believes that it is still necessary to advance a culture of rights that also provides for respect and protection related to sexuality , the goal of initiatives like this.