In 1962, the sexual revolution was unleashed when Organon brought the contraceptive pill to the market. After years of condom use, women suddenly had a choice. This trend continued with the arrival of the IUD.
Around the turn of the century, the IUD, contraceptive vaginal ring, hormonal implant and contraceptive patch were developed.
These methods were the answer to reducing hormone dosage and enabling the local release of hormones. Not without risk, it turns out. The Nuvaring and Diane-35 pill came under attack when in 2013 it became clear that women had died because of thrombosis and other disorders – possibly caused by these contraceptives.
Nowadays, young people are waiting longer before having sex according to the research “Sex under 25” (2017). In 2005 and 2012, the average age of first intercourse was 17.1 years. In 2017 this figure had climbed to 18.6 years. The use of contraception has increased a little since 2012. Today 92% of all boys and 94% of all girls use contraception during first-time sex. Five years ago, this was 87% of boys and 91% of girls.
The positive effect of this age shift is that the group early starters – young people that lose their virginity before the age of 14 – has decreased. Starters are, namely, less resilient and protect themselves insufficiently against unplanned pregnancies and STD’s.
The right contraceptive choices can only be made with the right information. On websites such as anticonceptievoorjou.nl, sense.info and seksualiteit.nl Rutgers publishes all the important information required.
For professionals such as doctors and teachers, Rutgers has developed seksuelevorming.nl and seksindepraktijk.nl. The contraception kit is also widely used by doctors and obstetricians in making the different forms of contraception discussable.
Rutgers is dedicated to making education and access to contraception globally available. This is what we do in programmes like Get up Speak Out and Yes I do. We also seek affiliation with emergency-assistance organizations, e.g. in the case of refugees.
Negativity towards gender can lead to sexual abuse. Rutgers therefore aims to promote positive and respectful imaging regarding the position of women through the programme ‘Sexual violence’. Also, Rutgers has made a strong case for the expansion of paternity leave, a potentially positive outcome for the position of women.
Sexual abuse is globally addressed by the Prevention+ programme. By using storytelling as a communication tool, we try to involve the local community actively in banning abuse. Also, research is important. This is why our lobbyists work together with women’s rights organisations on the publication of policy documents and research reports.
More than 850,000 women in the Netherlands have been raped. 850,000 too many. To prevent women from being raped, prevention is established at different levels: preventing sexual harassment, signalling abuse and preventing repetition. This is why themes like respect and resilience are becoming more integrated into sexual education. Also, the standards relating to sexual abuse have to be challenged and refined. And more workshops and programmes should be developed to lower the risks of becoming a victim or offender of sexual harassment or abuse.