Protestors in Victoria Square demand better sex education after teen's murder

First published in Politics
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A PROTEST — organised by the sister of a murdered teenager — has called on the government to introduce radical changes to sexual education in schools.

Gemma Aitchison, whose 16-year-old sister Sasha Marsden was murdered in January last year, held a protest outside Bolton Town Hall on Saturday.

Mrs Aitchison, from Westhoughton, has set up YES Matters, a national campaign, after the House of Lords rejected plans by the Department for Education to make a new sex education programme mandatory in schools.

She, along with other campaigners, spoke to shoppers and held placards with the aim of increasing awareness.

The 27-year-old said that sexual assault, rape and abuse have been “normalised”, because of the objectification of women in pornography.

She added: “People tend to be quite shocked when you say to them that from the age of 14 to 55, the most likely cause of death for women is male violence. That statistic is not OK.

“Studies show that boys are OK with the actions of rape, just not the name.”

Leonie Smith, who got to know Mrs Aitchison after debating these issues online, travelled from Oxford to support her demonstration in Bolton.

She said: “Having sexual education at a relatively young age will be helpful. It should talk about real relationships, about what consent means, and what rape really is.

The YES Matters campaign has also received the backing of Labour leader Ed Miliband, and Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi was at the demonstration to throw her weight behind the movement.

She said: “I don’t think the Lords should have rejected the plans, and if Parliament can pass an individual act, it should be brought up.

“Young girls often feel pressured to carry out sexual activities.

“We need to teach young people properly what sex is really about, what a proper relationship is and what is the right thing to do.”

Sasha was murdered in Blackpool, aged 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

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