Friday, 25 November 2016

Talk Consent

November 25 - The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as declared by the United Nations.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the current dialogue about sexual assault, especially how we discuss this with children. I have seen articles arguing against the onus put on potential victims of assault to "stay safe." I don't think there is a problem teaching people about avoiding certain situations, and not putting oneself into harms way. I totally agree that a victim should never be blamed for assault but I also think that an awareness of safety needs to be taught and encouraged. It isn't your fault at all that you got mugged in a dark alley in a known dangerous neighbourhood of a foreign city. But as a parent or friend it is perfectly fine to encourage travelers to do some research on the place they are visiting and talk about how to be cautious.

I do agree about the other thing often mentioned in these articles: Don't teach the victims how to avoid it - teach the perpetrators not to do it. This is the weak link in our sexual discussions and education, We too often breeze quickly by the concept of consent. We need to talk about what consent is, its value, how to ensure it has and continues to be given in sexual situations, and even how to give it. No parent sets out to raise a rapist, and the blame shouldn't be on the parents in these situations. However, everyone needs to step up the discussion about respect. We need to identify disrespectful, dangerous, or even illegal actions. We need to talk clearly about how to behave appropriately.

I love the 20 Minutes of Action 4 Change that calls on fathers to talk to their sons today about consent. From the age of 1 all the way up until a child leaves home, having a 20 minute conversation once a year could do wonders. This are the discussions that people avoid having and we shouldn't.

And, I still love the tea video about consent.

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