Advocates for Youth envisions a society that views sexuality as normal and healthy and treats young people as a valuable resource.
The core values of Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® (3Rs) animate this vision—
Youth have the right to accurate and complete sexual health information, confidential reproductive and sexual health services, and a secure stake in the future.
Youth deserve respect. Valuing young people means involving them in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that affect their health and well-being.
Society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health, and young people have the responsibility to protect themselves from too-early childbearing and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
In such a society, parents will play an essential role in helping young people to make healthy, responsible choices. Communication and partnership within the family will be the norm. Communities will fulfill their responsibilities, providing young people with a secure stake in the future and the information and services youth need to protect their health and save their lives. Adults will respect and support youth's right to act responsibly.
Advocates' vision is informed by lessons learned during annual study tours that explore how Germany, France, and the Netherlands achieved significant reductions in teen pregnancies, births, abortions, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In these countries, governments and society view accurate information and confidential sexual health services, not merely as a need of youth, but as their right. Addressing youth's right to information and services, in turn, depends upon society's accepting adolescents' sexual development as normal and healthy.
The Dutch, Germans, and French spend far less time and effort than Americans in trying to prevent young people from having sex and more time and effort in educating and empowering young people to behave responsibly when they eventually decide to have sex. Educators, health care providers, and parents collaborate in providing sexual health information. Parents' most imperative message is not that teens' sexual development is a problem but rather that sexual intimacy should not occur until adolescents are ready and only within a caring, mutually respectful relationship.
Learn more about influences on adolescent sexuality in the U.S. and Europe.