Auckland Grammar principal Tom O'Connor pulled no punches in a recent Herald article about teenage sexuality, bravely saying too many boys are getting their sex education from online porn.

He rightly pointed out that today's overly aggressive digital pornography world does not reflect real relationships, and that "there doesn't appear to be such a thing as consent".

The prestigious Auckland school has introduced a healthy relationships programme to tackle these very issues. It should be applauded. And its example followed.

As O'Connor signalled, the sexual behaviour our teens are engaging in or being subjected to can have a long-lasting impact.

Advertisement

As we report today in our Review piece on rape culture, one in three girls will have experienced an unwanted sexual event by the age of 16, the majority of which would be considered serious.

He believes the school's new programme will have a major positive influence on boys, as they grow into men and form relationships. That is a good start. But our educators have a responsibility to do more.

Despite repeated calls for such issues to be part of a compulsory sex education curriculum, the Education Minister does not see the need to intervene.

Hekia Parata says that sex education is "first and foremost a parental, family and whanau responsibility" and that schools can draw up their own programmes as they see fit.

Yet the events of recent weeks - and in fact years - show, it is time that attitude changed. Not least of all because our young people are demanding it.

This month, hundreds of outraged teens marched on Parliament to protest against rape culture in the aftermath of deplorable social media comments from Wellington College students.

And the teens we spoke to for our feature today say rape culture is real. And it is not being talked about.

That must change. We owe it to our young people.