THE sister of a schoolgirl who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a hotel owner in Blackpool has launched a petition calling for better sex education.
A year on from the death of 16-year-old Bolton girl Sasha Marsden, sister Gemma Aitchison, is campaigning to stop the objectification of women in society.
Last year Ms Aitchison met Labour leader Ed Miliband in Westminster to discuss her concerns, and has been supported by Bolton West MP Julie Hilling.
The 29-year-old, from Westhoughton, was outraged when the House of Lords rejected a mandatory Personal, Social and Health Education programme in state-funded schools on January 28.
She has now started an online petition, which has attracted hundreds of signatures in less than a week. Ms Aitchison has also organised a day of protest in Bolton town centre, starting on the town hall steps, on March 8, the day after International Women’s Day.
Sister protests have been organised in Manchester, London, Newcastle and Ports-mouth.
Ms Aitchison accused the government of being unwilling to take responsibility for sex education, given that the Department of Education has acknow-ledged the need to modernise it.
She said: “We want to make sex education broader — at the moment it feels like, for whatever reason, they do the bare minimum. It is crucial people are thinking about things from as young an age as possible.”
Ms Aitchison is keen to stress that young girls are not the only victims, with boys brought up anxious to live up to character-istics thought normal of men, such as competitiveness, mas-culinity and controlled emotions.
But, the Girl Guides says 70 per cent of girls aged 13 to 21 experience sexual harassment at school, while 87 per cent of 11-21-year-old girls believe they are judged more for looks than ability.
The main driving force for Ms Aitchison is Sasha.
She said: “I can’t do anything to save her now, but perhaps I can make things better for other people.”
Sasha was killed on January 31, 2013, with 23-year-old David Minto found guilty of her murder and sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison in July.
You can sign the petition here.