Demonstrators will urge government to make sex education compulsory

The Bolton News: Sasha Marsden Sasha Marsden

PROTESTS are to take place in Bolton, Manchester and Westminster tomorrow urging the government to introduce a new mandatory sex education programme.

The campaign, YES Matters, was started by Gemma Aitchison, the sister of murdered teenager Sasha Marsden.

Ms Aitchison, aged 27, from Westhoughton, was outraged when the House of Lords voted against a compulsory personal, social and health education programme (PSHE), despite the Department of Education recommending it be adopted.

The demonstrations start at 10.30am in Victoria Square outside Bolton Town Hall, and will be mirrored by protests outside Downing Street and Albert Square, Manchester.

Ms Aitchison has previously had meetings with Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Bolton West MP Julie Hilling about the sexual objectification of women in society.

Mr Miliband, Bolton-born actress Maxine Peake, Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi and the campaign group No More Page 3 have sent messages of support ahead of the protests.

Ms Aitchison said: “Children are exposed at an early age to messages about sexuality and relationships, including objectifying messages that have the effect of normalising sexual assault and victim blaming.

“Children deserve to be taught about healthy, consensual relationships.”

A Girl Guide survey from 2013 found that seven out of 10 girls aged 13 to 21 reported experiences of sexual harassment at school or college, while 87 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 think women are judged more for their looks than ability.

Ms Aitchison added: “People contacted me on Facebook about staging protests elsewhere and I’ve visited them to give them T-shirts and signs.”

Labour peer Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, a member of the Lords’ shadow education team, said: “The emphasis of mandatory sex and relationships education should be about the complex emotional, rather than physical aspects of relationships.

“It should be taught in all key stages, in all state funded schools, in an accurate, balanced and age appropriate way.”

Sasha was murdered in Blackpool at the age of 16 after being lured to a hotel by its owner, David Minto, in January, 2013. Minto was found guilty of her killing in July, 2013, and given life imprisonment.

For more information about YES Matters visit yes-matters.co.uk

Comments (3)

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3:32pm Tue 11 Mar 14

noteverythingrevolvesaroundyou says...

You know it REALLY annoys me when people say "the poor woman has lost her sister" The only true part in this is that Gemma's sister was tragically taken, not that she was much of a sister! What Gemma fails to inform you of is that while Sasha was alive she never had any time for her, she broke more promises than she kept and when Sasha needed support when she was alive Gemma was nowhere to be seen.
Now Sasha is gone, when was the last time she visited her grave? (July) Gemma is using what happened to Sasha to promote a cause that lets face it, has nothing to gain. Men who rape know it is wrong, this is why majority tend to deny it in court. Why take away a child's innocence? I certainly wouldn't want my child being taught about rape so young.
Gemma has told a string of lies and when she gets confronted about them she doesn't bother to reply, perhaps if she ignores people they might go away? Guess what we wont!
To Gemma. Stop using Sasha's name, Stop going against her parents wishes, Stop telling lies on twitter and last but certainly not least get your priorities right girl! Most families pull together at such a hard time but not you. You are also depriving your son of a relationship with his Nana, Granddad, Auntie and Uncle by choosing attention over them AND by not allowing him to visit Sasha's grave is also depriving him of the right to pay his respects to someone who loved him to bits.
I don't care how many thumbs down I get these are the facts and the only people who argue are those who have no respect for Sasha or her family and choose to believe the lies they are told by that hypocrite!
You know it REALLY annoys me when people say "the poor woman has lost her sister" The only true part in this is that Gemma's sister was tragically taken, not that she was much of a sister! What Gemma fails to inform you of is that while Sasha was alive she never had any time for her, she broke more promises than she kept and when Sasha needed support when she was alive Gemma was nowhere to be seen. Now Sasha is gone, when was the last time she visited her grave? (July) Gemma is using what happened to Sasha to promote a cause that lets face it, has nothing to gain. Men who rape know it is wrong, this is why majority tend to deny it in court. Why take away a child's innocence? I certainly wouldn't want my child being taught about rape so young. Gemma has told a string of lies and when she gets confronted about them she doesn't bother to reply, perhaps if she ignores people they might go away? Guess what we wont! To Gemma. Stop using Sasha's name, Stop going against her parents wishes, Stop telling lies on twitter and last but certainly not least get your priorities right girl! Most families pull together at such a hard time but not you. You are also depriving your son of a relationship with his Nana, Granddad, Auntie and Uncle by choosing attention over them AND by not allowing him to visit Sasha's grave is also depriving him of the right to pay his respects to someone who loved him to bits. I don't care how many thumbs down I get these are the facts and the only people who argue are those who have no respect for Sasha or her family and choose to believe the lies they are told by that hypocrite! noteverythingrevolvesaroundyou
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Dizzy Lizzy says...

Ms Aitchison is clearly trying to address rape culture, which is prevalent in the UK and around the world. It seems to be a fitting tribute to her sister to work to make the world better for other women and girls.

Shouldn't we all be working towards that?
Ms Aitchison is clearly trying to address rape culture, which is prevalent in the UK and around the world. It seems to be a fitting tribute to her sister to work to make the world better for other women and girls. Shouldn't we all be working towards that? Dizzy Lizzy
  • Score: 0

10:53am Tue 25 Mar 14

noteverythingrevolvesaroundyou says...

No not in Sasha's name. It isn't a tribute to Sasha, Gemma is using Sasha's death to get attention and has gone against Sasha's parents wishes. I know Sasha will be appalled at Gemma's behaviour, perhaps if she had shown this much interest in Sasha when she needed support from her big sister Gemma's actions would make more sense now.
No not in Sasha's name. It isn't a tribute to Sasha, Gemma is using Sasha's death to get attention and has gone against Sasha's parents wishes. I know Sasha will be appalled at Gemma's behaviour, perhaps if she had shown this much interest in Sasha when she needed support from her big sister Gemma's actions would make more sense now. noteverythingrevolvesaroundyou
  • Score: 0

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