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Online test aims to educate Japanese teen girls about sexual violence

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

Question: “Someone I’ve met on the internet asked me to send them a picture of myself. What should I do?”

Answer A: “It might be OK to send it if it’s a shot of you with a friend.”

Answer B: “Forget about it.”

The correct answer is B, according to SHE Kentei (Sexual Health Education Test), a 10-question web-based quiz aimed at teaching teenagers the basics on how to avoid falling prey to sexual crimes and violence.

The Japanese-language test, which was released last week and can be found at she.shiawasenamida.org, was developed jointly by Shiawase Namida (Happy Tears), a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization that supports sex crime victims, and the Life and Birth Studies Association, which offers birth education at schools.

The idea for creating the online quiz came out of the groups’ desire to reach out to and empower teenage girls, many of whom are not armed with the knowledge to protect themselves before starting sexual relationships and have often suffered some form of damage already, Hiromi Nakano, head of Shiawase Namida, said at a recent event in Tokyo.

“Sexual education tools available so far have been geared toward prevention (of unwanted sexual advances and pregnancies),” she said. “But some of the girls have already been raped and got pregnant, or have already had sex.”

The groups’ members spent two years crafting the questions on the sensitive issue of sex and sexuality, which isn’t often taught in schools in detail.

After each question, regardless of whether the test-takers answer correctly or not, they are led to an explanation of do’s and don’ts in simple, jargon-free language (the main target users are seventh-grade girls).

For example, the website cautions against mailing a private photo to someone you have never met in person, whether it be of your face, body or even one showing you with a friend, noting that such acts can lead to trouble. And if the photo has already been sent, the site urges the sender to ask the recipient to delete it, and if that proves difficult, to consult reliable adults, such as family members, public health teachers, school counselors or the police.

The test covers not only outright offenses such as rape and assault but also what might appear to be minor transgressions, and encourages users to stand firm.

“My boyfriend checks on my mobile phone without my permission. Is that OK?”

The correct answer is no, the site instructs, noting that checking on a date’s cellphone is a form of “date DV.” Date DV is the Japanese term for dating violence.

Touching your body against your will, becoming irrationally angry with you and demanding money from you are also considered forms of abuse, the site explains and provides a link to a hotline (ddv110.org) run by a Kanagawa Prefecture-based nonprofit.

Going through the test helps correct common misconceptions, for instance that the typical rapist is a stranger to the victim. In reality, 75 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances, including family members and schoolteachers, according to a 2014 Cabinet Office survey covering 1,811 women, in which 6.5 percent said they had been victimized.

After completing the quiz, people can get a certificate by typing in their name, sex and age. This helps the test creators compile statistics on the users’ ages and their level of knowledge.

The creators said they are looking for feedback on the test and will update it before developing a smartphone app version.

A Matter of Health covers current research, technology and policy issues relating to health in Japan.