14:13 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Kindergarten in Sweden

    Kids These Days: Swedish Preschoolers Taught About Sexual Harassment

    © CC BY 2.0 / Niklas Hellerstedt / Lillekärrskolan, Gothenburg
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    Following the #Metoo anti-harassment campaign, which united tens of thousands of women speaking out against rape and sexism, a Swedish city has launched an educational program that enlightens kindergarteners about sexual abuse, an experiment that Swedish Education Minister would like to roll out nationwide.

    The sexual enlightenment happens in the form of a theater performance, organized by teachers Lisa Jisei and Gustav Deticek Svensson, which is repeated several times a week. By their own admission, the performance is aimed to give the kids the courage to say 'stop' if they get unsolicited attention from fellow toddlers.

    "We saw that children generally cross each other's integrity limits, perhaps hugging someone without the counterpart actually wanting to be hugged," Lisa Jisei told the national broadcaster SVT.

    One of the scenarios in the performance features a child getting slapped on the backside while playing in the sandbox.

    "It's about highlighting situations that children encounter in the education process or at home and giving them the necessary tools for how to handle it," Gustav Deticek Svensson explained.

    To the joy of their tutors, the children seem to pick up the message pretty fast.

    "You must ask first before touching someone's private area," 5-year-old Emma Karlsson said.

    ​The innovative concept of sexual education for preschoolers was hailed by Education Minister Gustav Fridolin, who called for the experiment to be expanded throughout the country.

    According to Fridolin, the concept of educational performances coupled with the motto "Stop, my body!" coined by the organization Rädda Barnen (Save the Children) is unique in Sweden and should be disseminated to reach a wider public and made a fixture in future curricula.

    "Protecting bodily integrity, such as with 'Stop, my body!' is something we intend to do," Gustav Fridolin told SVT.

    READ ALSO: The Horse Who Wanted to Be a Dog: Swedish Kids Taught About Transsexuality

    Earlier this year, Sweden, a country viewed as a beacon of gender equality, was rocked by reports of past scandal amid the #Metoo campaign. Starting from October, tens of thousands of Swedish women stepped out with their personal experiences of sexual harassment. In weird aftershocks of the "Weinstein effect," dozens of Swedish industries signed petitions against abuse, which was described as the biggest women's movement since the suffragettes' struggle a hundred years ago. In many cases, the names of alleged perpetrators were revealed, despite the fact that it is considered unethical in Sweden to publish names of the accused unless they are convicted. A number of journalists, TV presenters and a high-profile figure in the Swedish Academy had to leave their posts following the accusations.

    ​The #Metoo campaign was also praised by Sweden's self-described feminist government and the Swedish royals, including King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia.

    READ ALSO: Time for Change: Sweden to Fast Track Gender Realignment Amid High Demand

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    Tags:
    education, child abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, MeToo, Gustav Fridolin, Scandinavia, Sweden
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