The DESEM project aims to develop a sexual education model/methodology for mentally disabled individuals. Each activity that constitutes the project content will provide coordinated work of educators/guidance specialists and disabled families, which are the main actors in sexuality education.
Disabled individuals are at the forefront of disadvantaged groups facing many difficulties in social, business, educational life. However, sexual education is one of the most important needs that are overlooked from the most basic problems of disabled people. The concept of sexuality that individuals who are in the process of healthy development due to external factors such as various prejudices and socio-cultural values, learn outside the educational environment in an unofficial way becomes a much more difficult subject when it comes to disabled individuals. However, there is a need for sexuality education that includes specific learning/teaching methods and techniques appropriate to their learning competence so that disabled people can positively behave in the social integration process, protect themselves from possible sexual violence and health risks, and find the sexual identity. Therefore, persons who will play a key role in education should adopt the complementary role of each other. Rather than seeing the responsibilities of parents or school partnerships on sexuality education, it will be necessary to create a system of mutual exchange.
When we compared to partner countries’ sex education studies for disabilities, LT is working at a higher level than in other partner countries (TR, ES, HU, GR, IT). However, when the education systems of the partner countries are examined, it has been found that they apply various educational approaches but there is no sexual education model, specific approach/ methodology and modular education programs for disabled people in education systems.
The lack of knowledge about sexual education (on how, when, which methodology, approaches) by trainers is what prevents people with intellectual disabilities from receiving adequate sexual education.
The scientific research published NWSA- (Education Sciences) emphasized the role of parents in sexual education: “In fact, most of the parents of mentally disabled individuals are disturbed by their children’s interest in sexuality, parents always think their children will remain as a child, as they have the belief that they do not need sex education because they will not need sexual necessity and that they feel helpless in the face of this situation and then parents tend to feel helpless in the face of such a situation.”
The UNFPA World Population 2014 report shows that every year 91 thousand girls give birth and 1 of every 3 marriages are made up of one woman under 18, and in this ratio “Around 68% of girls with developmental and intellectual disabilities are at risk of exposure to sexual violence before the age of 18”. In the other mean, Children with disabilities are 3.4 times more likely to be sexually abused than their non-disabled peers.
The intellectual outputs and and the target group of the DESEM project are directly related with the message
“Every learner is equally important at the same level”
as stated in the 2030 Equality report on social inclusion and education.
It is stated that there is a correlation between education and sexual health at the United Nation World Health Organization Sexual Health Promotion Action Frame (WHO / RHR / HRP / 10.22), it is emphasized that the main actors in the process of providing access to sexuality education especially disadvantaged groups in the society and those who play an active role in these training (teachers, families, social workers) should be in the training process within collaboration also.
Each activity of the project address the problems mentioned. DESEM Project activities, intellectual outputs and sub-outputs will eventually ensure the establishing sexual education model for people with disabilities to provide gap closure within the education systems of the partner countries, will enable the key actors to move in coordination to complement each other. In general framework of DESEM project will support the realization of international organizations’ goals such as; EC, WHO, Erasmus +, UNCRPD, European Agenda for Adult Learning, Education 2030.