Assembly Speaker - Monday 4 June - Alison Havey, The RAP Project
The RAP Project (Raising Awareness and Prevention Project) aims to raise awareness for teenagers and adults about personal safety and how to deal with situations of sexual assault and rape. They also look at issues around consent, relationships and some of the dangers associated with social media and pornography. This project openly explores the expectations and norms that pornography and social media project onto society and particularly young people. They also consider how media can significantly influence body image and self-esteem.
Since 2012, the RAP Project has raised awareness in over 150 schools throughout the UK with more than 40,000 students. Camden School for Girls were lucky enough to be a part of this on Monday.
Alison Havey, the co-founder of the RAP project, addressed the effects of porn and how it negatively impacts young people today as an increasing number are accessing it online. A survey showed that 70-80% of boys, and 60-70% of girls are watching porn, yet are unaware of the underlying effects of it. Alison explored how porn is changing individuals’ mindsets about sex by describing porn as predatory, misleading, theatrical, male dominating and unrealistic. She also outlines how it also projects an unrealistic body image for both girls and boys which can cause them to desire these type of enhanced bodies, or even worse, dislike their own as it is different to what is shown online.
Alison Havey also explained that one of the worst effects of watching porn is that many become desensitised to normal sexual stimulation and intimacy due to the numbing effects of the more extreme porn scenarios.
Alison did underline however, if porn is used safely, it can have some positive aspects, such as allowing people to explore their sexuality. The RAP project isn’t against porn per se, however they want to ensure that young people are being safe while consuming it, as there is so much accessible online which can be harmful towards individuals and give them a misleading view of the expectations within a sexual relationship.
A key way to do this is by educating students about mutual respect and consent, but also about the risk of STD’s and the use of condoms, and assuring them it is okay to say “No” if they are ever uncomfortable with something.
Alison also gave a powerful message to Camden School for Girls students: “When you learn how to drive a car, do you watch ‘Fast and Furious’ to learn how? No. That is the same with porn and sex.”
Here are some websites she suggested for information/ help and advice:
It was good to have such an eye-opening, frank and interesting talk about a subject that many feel very uncomfortable about.