Lifestyle

AFL star pushing for better sex education for young men

EDUCATION GAP: Luke Ablett ... ‘No one really talks about what happens when you do have sex – it’s just the mechanics of it. There was nothing about consent.’
EDUCATION GAP: Luke Ablett ... ‘No one really talks about what happens when you do have sex – it’s just the mechanics of it. There was nothing about consent.’ MARTIN PHILBEY

EXASPERATED, frustrated and heartbroken - Luke Ablett feels a lot of emotions when he thinks about young men hurting women.

The former AFL player told APN Newsdesk on Friday that young men needed to change their attitudes towards women.

Mr Ablett, 32, is the face of The Line ( http://www.theline.org.au) - a social media campaign-based tool pushing to change young attitudes towards gender and sexism in the hope of fostering healthy relationships.

The passionate social justice advocate has football royalty in his blood.

His AFL days are long behind him, but Mr Ablett is still kicking goals - albeit for much higher rewards. His aim is to help lower the epidemic of domestic violence.

With two women on average dying each week this year at the hands of their violent partners, Mr Ablett is desperate to turn back the tide.

"Exasperation, disappointment - domestic violence, it definitely has an emotional response within me," he said.

"I don't know what the label is - the injustice of it, the unfairness of

it. This is the person who is meant to love you, meant to respect you. I just find that completely heartbreaking ... I just find it really sad."

Mr Ablett, like many young men, learnt only the rudimentary elements of relationships at school.

"It wasn't until the AFL came around to the club at the Swans and said 'this is what rape is, this is what consent looks like' - that was the first time anyone had really sat down and explained to me what that was," he said, referring back to when he was 23.

"Young boys often aren't getting that information.

"There was a big gap in our education program because no one really talks about what happens when you do have sex - it's just the mechanics of it. We found out about the mechanics of sex at school. There was nothing about consent, the relationship element of sex."

Mr Ablett says parents and coaches must also step up. "A lot of parents tell their daughters how to not get raped, but no one is really telling young boys what rape is," he said.

"We expect boys to be sexually active and go out and hook up with girls and do all that kind of stuff and we expect our girls to do the opposite. We don't think young men are going to be victims of sexual assault, but at the same time we never expect that our sons will be the ones doing it."

WHAT THE STATS SAY

 33.3% of young people do not think that exerting control over someone else is a form of violence.

 25% of young people do not think it is serious when guys insult or verbally harass girls in the street.

 25% of young people think it is normal for guys to pressure girls into sex.

 15% of young people think it is okay for men to pressure girls into sex if both parties are drunk.

 25% of young people don't think it is serious if a guy, who's normally gentle, sometimes slaps his girlfriend when he's drunk and they're arguing.

 More than one-quarter of young people think it's important for men to be tough and strong.

 16% of young people think women should know their place in society.

ON THE WEB

 Sign the petition at http://www.communityrun.org/ petitions/end-domestic- and-family-violence

 Visit http://www.theline.org.au to start making change

Source: Hall and Partners Open Mind/Our Watch.

Topics:  domestic violence, editors picks, rape culture



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