CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Let's Talk About Sex: Why the Topic of Sexual Violence Prevention Should be Prioritized in K-12 Sex Education

Abbie Starker

Division: Humanities; Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Gender Culture & Society; Political Science; Women's Studies

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Demie Kurz

Date of this Version: 28 March 2017



While campus sexual assault has recently garnered a lot of attention in the United States, there has been less recognition of individuals who experience sexual and gender-based violence outside of the university/college system. Many people who experience sexual violence have never attended a post-secondary institution, or they experienced sexual violence before they were college-aged. Because of this reality, it is important that there are resources and education about sexual violence for people at a younger age. Through an analysis of public policy, interviews with experts in the field, and a survey that I administered, this thesis examines both formal sex education in schools and informal sex education from media, porn, and other sources, to determine where and how young people are learning about sex, intimate relationships, and sexual violence. This study found that young people learned the most and the most relevant information from formal sex education in schools as well as from intimate partners. This study also found that media and porn play a role in young peoples’ learning about these topics. I argue that sex education in schools is not doing an adequate job teaching about sexual violence and prevention, but that sex education could be used as a tool in sexual violence prevention efforts if there were more funding and more comprehensive curricula.


American Politics | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Education Law | Gender and Sexuality | Health and Physical Education | Other Education | Politics and Social Change

Suggested Citation

Starker, Abbie, "Let's Talk About Sex: Why the Topic of Sexual Violence Prevention Should be Prioritized in K-12 Sex Education" 28 March 2017. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 15 May 2017




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