The Australian has opened a new front in its battle against education programs that cover anything that isn’t the three Rs, taking on the Victorian government’s Respectful Relationship program (only two Rs), which aims to teach children about domestic violence. The program’s teaching and learning materials include classes on learning to name emotions, what empathy is, and also explore gender norms and male privilege and how these can contribute to gender-based domestic violence. Naturally, The Australian has trotted out sex therapist Bettina Arndt to write on the topic, where she labelled the program “nonsensical”, and that it “wastes millions on making little boys feel ashamed”. Arndt writes:
“Let’s hope parents are prepared to take on schools which subject their sons to this vile feminist posturing and put the Victorian government on notice for wasting millions on teaching little boys to be ashamed of themselves instead of addressing the real issues underlying domestic violence.”
Arndt is a regular writer for The Australian, having taken up the call of defending men from being misunderstood in relationships, and for years has prosecuted the case that men are also victims of domestic violence. She also argues that factors such as neglect, abuse, alcohol and drugs should be given more weight when combating family violence. But Arndt’s teaching on gender relations in heterosexual marriages makes us wonder if she really has anything better to teach teens about respectful relationships. She has previously quoted studies and came to her own conclusions that women should have sex with their husbands, even when they don’t feel like it:
“When I wrote about [Rosemary] Basson’s work in my book The Sex Diaries, most female commentators weren’t having a bar of it. The notion that women could gain any benefits from having sex without prior desire was dismissed as outrageous white-picket-fence thinking. The prevailing culture embraces the idea women are entitled to just shut up shop if they aren’t interested in sex. And the growing male sex deficit? Well, that’s their problem.”
In 2013, Arndt wrote that if one half of a marriage denies the other sex, they are not holding up their marriage vows:
“Athol has firm ideas about the problem with sexless marriages: ‘The spouse who denies sex is cheating the other out of their marriage agreement.’ He’s right, of course, but it’s so rare that anyone dares run with that suggestion.”
Now we know what we should be teaching teenagers for “respectful relationships”.