Book’s non-confrontational approach opens new doors
“Educators have been fed misinformation from higher sources who have hidden agendas. These are the facts. This is the truth about the risks.”
If you want ammunition to show the school board that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise, and chastity, not the condom, is the answer, you have it in Dr. Rosemarie Gilbert’s resource booklet, Adolescent Sexuality.
“I want to enable the lay person to say to the skeptics and the cynics. ‘It doesn’t matter what you think of me, it’s in the medical literature.’ School boards are so resistant to lay people,” says Dr. Gilbert.
Gilbert’s resource is certainly not the first to use current Canadian sources. Dr. Stephen Genuis’ book, Risky Sex, is excellent. But books, no matter how fine, tend not to be read by politicians and bureaucrats.
School trustees and superintendents need quick briefings, easily digestible material that jumps off the page at them. There must be lots of white spaces and not a lot of clutter. The facts must be clear and simple. Give them something they can read in under an hour and refer to instantly.
Gilbert has created a reference file for principals, educators, and PTA’s that can be quickly accessed. Every reference is from a medical journal or government publication. There are no Christian sources. Most references are Canadian and as recent as 1995.
Her resource is an excellent starting point for the teacher who could easily adapt it into overheads. For a research essay a student would need to delve into Genuis; Risky Sex.
When Gilbert talked to the chairman of her local Renfrew school board about sexually transmitted diseases, he listened amicably. He even invited her to speak to the school board and later to the area principals. Since then things have snowballed. She addressed the annual Ontario Home and School Association when it was held in Pembroke last year, as well as PTA meetings, high school assemblies and chastity seminars.
Why do doors open for Rosemarie Gilbert? As an individual she shies away from public appearances yet she has had amazing opportunities. Why do they listen to her? She has the professional credentials lay people lack. She doesn’t push aggressively for opportunities, but prays that God will open doors. In fact she finds aggression often meets with resistance. She tries not to be arrogant or dogmatic but rather gracious and non-confrontational.
“My involvement with sex education began in 1992, when an investigation into the high incidence of teen pregnancies in Renfrew county led to a heightened awareness of the prevalence of STDs. I realized that if I as a physician, was so woefully ignorant, how much more so would be our educators and parents, let alone our teens? The first step involved intensive research of medical journals and government statistics.
“I present my case as a concerned physician not as a concerned Christian. Unfortunately the latter approach closes many doors. Our school board chairman told me that if I had presented a moral or religious viewpoint, I would not have had an audience. However, in this era of political correctness, no one can dispute the medical crisis of STDs.”
The resource has a simple structure
- Statistics on sexual behaviour in the 90’s
- Profile of the seven most common STDs:
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, hepatitis, Genital Warts, and HIV.
- Alternative for Prevention of STDs
- Sex education: The myth of success
The book clearly concludes that chastity is the answer. A list of excellent abstinence programs available in Canada, however would be a welcome addition. It a phone interview Gilbert cited the Abbotsford Public School District program K-12 as “excellent.”
“Kids have been told whopping untruths. Kids have been ripped off by pharmaceutical industry. Even the medical profession has been promoting condoms as safe. Condoms are a band-aid solution that glosses over the real problems
“This is the resource for defending the need for chastity from a health point of view. Educators have been fed misinformation from higher sources who have hidden agendas. These are the facts. This is the truth about the risks.”
Rosemarie’s husband Jim, is a surgeon. Both are founding members of Focus on the Family’s Canadian Physicians Advisory Council. They have four adult children and one grandchild.
Gilbert also has developed a slide presentation. Some graphic clinical slides are included. A 14-year-old fainted at the sight of one. Yet the high school students asked her, “Have you shown this to the grade 7’s and 8’s? You should!” She struggled with whether to pull the more graphic slides but didn’t and they went down well, even with the grade 7’s/ She had used coloured overheads too but finds then more impersonal than slides.
She aims to keep her presentation short and to the point. “Don’t be repetitive. Keep it moving. Don’t overload.” She makes no more than three points per slide and does her presentation in one 45 minute class. Her own patter she describes as “folksy.” She is available with Renfrew county.
Dr. Gilbert’s book will be a hot item in 1996 among Canadian parents, educators and youth leaders. No doubt too, she will be pressured to duplicate her slide and overhead presentations and make them available also.