‘Refugees & British men need lessons in how to treat women’ – Labour MP
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees chair Thangam Debbonaire said newly arrived migrants need a “sensitive” introduction to British culture.
Debbonaire suggested the lessons could be similar to the personal, social and health education (PSHE) classes taught in schools, which include subjects such as sex and relationship education.
The MP said the program is necessary to avoid the kind of backlash against refugees seen in Germany after some migrants were accused of sexual assaults at New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“What I don’t want is for the British people to respond to a case of assault or sexual harassment by saying no to more refugees, which seemed to be what the public’s response to Germany was in danger of becoming,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“We need to think about how we have those men understand what is expected of them without pretending we ourselves are perfect. It would need to be sensitively worked out and could be part of a nationwide campaign to help men and boys in general to look at gender equality in a different way.”
Police forces across the UK have launched sexual consent campaigns in recent years with the intention of educating men about what constitutes rape.
Several universities have also introduced compulsory classes on sexual consent for first-year students, but there has never been a nationwide campaign to educate men on attitudes towards women.
Debbonaire said such a campaign could draw on existing PSHE classes in schools.
“I’m not saying there’s a little ticket you can give incoming men. But I do believe we need compulsory PSHE classes in schools for all young people and an appropriate version for new arrivals.
“All men need this education. Our indigenous population is not a haven of gender equality and you could have a situation where boys who have settled, just arrived, or been born here, would all get the same information on how they should interact with women.”
According to campaign group Million Women Rise, one in four women in the UK experience domestic violence at some point in their life.