Adriana Radu, a young feminist activist from Romania launched in 2012 the first independent youth friendly, pro-diversity, sexuality education platform. Her project, Sexul versus Barza (Sex versus Stork) consists of well-informed and nicely crafted videos young people can watch online. Aside from the videos, Adriana also delivers sexuality education sessions both to high-school youth as well as to their teachers.
While Sex versus Stork stirred controversies from its debut, in the past months both Adriana Radu as well as other entities supporting her work such as women’s rights organizations, the SRHR community, the network of libraries (a key collaborator of the project) have been the target of systematic smearing campaigns coordinated by anti-choice groups.
In a number of locations where Sex versus Stork was scheduled for public appearances, a network of 27 anti-choice, homophobic organizations headed by Pro-Vita Romania filed official complaints with local authorities blaming the project and its supporters for corrupting minors, exposing under-aged children to sexually explicit content and for promoting homosexuality. The allegations are of course false and ill-intended, yet to our much surprise, the response of local authorities has been more inclined to side with anti human rights groups and to boycott the project rather then to assess the complaint in a rational manner.
The boycott of a youth friendly sexuality education platform is ever more difficult to grasp as teen pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies remain a serious social issue in Romania. In the past decade the number of teen pregnancies was constant at 10% of annual births and the second largest absolute number in the EU with around 13.000 teen births a year. Without evidence based, youth friendly and comprehensive sexuality education programs the burden of teen pregnancies is unlikely to change for the years to come.
Furthermore, it is perhaps a good time to raise the alarm about the fact that anti-choice groups are gathering increased visibility, strength and credibility within the Romanian society endangering women’s rights and access to sexual and reproductive rights for all.