Manuela legacy will live forever

Legacy...Manuela Riedo

The Manuela Riedo Foundation is winding-down, on this the tenth anniversary of the brutal rape and murder in Galway city of the Swiss teenager . . . but her memory lives on through the pioneering work of a sexual education programme being trialled in local secondary schools.

The Manuela Programme – a sexual violence prevention and consent project – is a 30-month pilot initiative being rolled out in Wexford, Kerry, Dublin and Galway.

Michelle Caulfield, educator and trainer with Galway Rape Crisis Centre, is delivering the module to Transition Year, Leaving Cert Applied and Fifth Year students in schools across the city and county. Among the participants are Clifden Community School, Gort Community School, Letterfrack Youthreach, Claregalway Community School, Salerno and St Enda’s in Salthill, the ‘Jes’ on Sea Road in the city and Presentation College in Tuam.

It’s a twelve-hour contact programme, delivered in two-hour modules over six weeks, and gives an overview to teenagers about sex education, sexual violence and consent.

One of the modules deals with the pressures of social media and prevalence of pornography, due to increased availability on smart phones, which is adding to feelings of in adequacy among teenage boys and girls.

“The vast majority of teenagers are not sexually active but they feel like they’re in the minority,” explained Michelle Caulfield, referring to a ‘rape culture’ and TV, newspaper and media culture of sexualisation.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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