Consent: Say yes to compulsory consent classes on the curriculum 

2016 to me has been a year where more and more issues have been talked about, discussed and debated. With so much media publicity regarding sex scandals, rape stories and other sex crimes, there is always a huge reaction based on the person committing them. But nothing ever seems to be said about educating young people about consent and what it means. 

Children and teenagers get the ‘talk’ but does that come with talks of consent and the ethics that come a long with the act? no. You are merely given a box of tampons or condoms and told about birth control and how babies are made and how periods happen. Nobody is told that they get a choice- that it’s their decision whether or not the other person is putting pressure on them. If the other person keeps putting pressure on the person by a strong force of either physical, emotional or mental manipulation or pure violence, it is rape as the person has not given their consent. 

I’m giving anonymous interviews, participant number one said “Consent should definitely be added onto the curriculum. It’s not often talked about but is so important for the wellbeing of others and the future generations to come. Especially with sites such as Tinder and Grindr lurking around.” For those that don’t know, Tinder is a dating site where you swipe past the people you aren’t keen on, to get to the people you would consider dating. The vast majority of people on there are there for hook ups and easy access sex, which comes under a facade of people looking for relationships and leading on the other person/people. With this more popular with the younger generation and accessible for under eighteens, more and more people are having tinder disasters. Because of the nature of this site, incidents relating to it may not be reported due to the other person fearing they have ‘lead them on’ as they approached them on a dating site. Which links to consent. 

Rape is not the fault of the victim. It doesn’t matter what they did, said or wore before it happened, they did not ask for it. Nobody asks to be raped. If you sent the other pictures containing nudity, or risqué messages, it is still not your fault. 

However, in a recent survey it was revealed that 64% of people believe that if the other person has mentioned sexual activity or alluded to it either by nude photographs or messages, it is permission to have sex with them. This is not true, sending a picture is very different to opening up your vulnerability and your body to somebody, so always ask before the act. This is why we need educating on the topic, it’s so vast and so many people have different ideas based on it. 

For example, participant number two was asked about drunk sexual acts. “What’s your opinion on performing sexual acts drunk? Do you think that’s acceptable?” Participant number two takes a long time to reply, confused by the question. I illiterate. The participant smiles and begins to reply. “I don’t think it’s normal for a sober person to pursue a drunk person, that’s clearly taking advantage of the other person and not respecting them. I’m not sure about if two people are drunk, I don’t know how that works.” 

Technically, when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, because of the chemicals released in the brain, it means neither of you are able to consent. Therefore it could be considered rape if both of you are drunk, however, this assumes that the people are intoxicated and not stable enough to make a smart decision. 

Participant number three states, “I think if you’re drunk and in a relationship it’s a bit different from if you’re just in a club.” Which is a fair point. The topic is so vast! We NEED this on the curriculum. It’s all well and good teaching teenagers about reproduction, but if a sexual act happens to them and it emotionally damages them, they probably won’t go on to have children and may suffer with PTSD. 

It is vital that this is added to classes, and that children from the age of thirteen learn about consent and the value of saying yes or no. And that force and pressure is a criminal act, as this isn’t known by many at that age and yet things happen at that age with childhood deteriorating and more technology. And with the media constantly selling sex, the next generation will probably be a lot more sexually minded than the last decade, due to everything being sexualised. Tv, movies, music- it’s all there. 

So for the hope of society, Consent should be talked about and discussed. If you’re at that age and you’re reading this by chance, talk to your parents, a family friend,  a teacher. Crop up the question and take it within yourself to be educated. It’s so important to learn about it. 

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