We’re multiplying our creative teams in order to take the good news of Jesus into more schools, tough communities and prisons in the years to come.
Respect Me is one of our exciting new teams.
The team consists of Emma Owen (formerly of The Tribe) and Georgia Houghton, a previous Urban Hero Award winner. Since the spring, they’ve been in schools sharing their own personal stories to communicate lessons on sexuality and self-image.
It’s urgently needed: Ofsted recently found over a third of British schools are failing to provide pupils with adequate sex and relationships education, leaving them more likely to make poor choices and vulnerable to exploitation by others. It means we have some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the world.
‘Respect Me didn’t come about because we thought it would be a good idea – it came about because teachers are asking for it,’ says Emma. ‘These issues have always been there, but there has never been such a need to address them frankly as there is today.’
‘Girls need to hear that whatever the culture tells them, it’s always their choice what they do with their bodies, and there are good choices and bad choices.’
Teachers in schools including Cheadle Hulme High (lessons pictured) have commended the team for their challenging yet approachable style: ‘Having this material delivered by yourselves rather than school staff made the students able to be more open and honest with their opinions regarding sex and relationships,’ they commented after one lesson.
‘We had one parent ring school to tell our assistant head that her daughter couldn’t stop talking about the session when she got home and that she thought it was excellent that our school was dealing with such issues in a sensitive way.’
What makes Respect Me’s lessons so powerful is the personal connection Emma and Georgia are able to make with the girls. Their own life stories coupled with illustrations from popular culture bring alive the Bible’s clear teaching on identity, beauty and value. Because of this, they are able to hold whole classes captive for up to two hours at a time.
‘A crucial part of this is our personal journey with God which regularly comes up during the lessons and in the Q&As at the end,’ says Emma. ‘We’re showing how our faith makes a very real difference to the decisions we’ve made and the lives we lead.’