The campaign for consent is hugely important, not only for children and teenagers, but for adults also. What teenagers get taught in sex-ed at school follows with them into their adult lives.
Overall the sexual education I got taught at school was pretty poor. My first lesson on sex-ed was in science where we were taught how babies were made. We then had another lesson in PSHE where the school nurse told us about contraception. The focus was mostly on condoms, and other contraception’s were only briefly mentioned. It was all very alien to my 14 year old friends and I. The nurse blew up a condom and then proceeded to rub Vaseline on it until it popped, very odd.
Luckily my form tutor saved the day slightly when she started playing a program to us during our PSHE lessons. This program was on channel 4 at the time and was called “The Sex Education Show.” This program was vital to us and actually taught us about all different contraception’s and STDs. Though one essential thing was missing, and that was the idea of consent.
In our sex-ed lessons nothing at all was said to us about consent. Nothing was said to us about saying no and not crossing the line. Consent is imperative to sexual education, it is imperative we teach teenagers that it is ok to say no to something they don’t feel comfortable with or something they simply don’t want to do.
They also need to be taught, not just about saying no, but also about hearing an enthusiastic yes. Many teenagers, and also lots of adults, think that because they didn’t hear a no then that means yes. Everyone has to know that is not the case, an absence of a no is definitely not yes.
I think if me, my friends and the other teenagers I went to school with were taught about consent, then that would have definitely had an effect on some things that went on when I was at school.
When I was 15 one of my friends was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. She was out with him once when he unexpectedly stuck his hand down her jeans and underwear. Looking back on it, we didn’t realise exactly how awful that was. Of course I told her he shouldn’t have done it and it was totally out of order of him to do so, but we didn’t think about it as being sexual assault, though that’s exactly what it was.
If we had all been taught properly about consent, I don’t think that would have happened to my friend and I don’t think situations like that would have happened to many other teenagers out there who also experience that level of violation.
I know I don’t want something like that to happen to my nieces, nephews and all the other teenagers out there, and this is why I strongly support the campaign for consent.