Every woman has experienced some form of cat-calling or harassment in their lives. Canada has a big problem with both as well as?sexual assault on?women. One in?four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted once in their lives, according to Women’s Rights News. Half of the assaults will happen to women under the age of 16.
In America, 44 percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18. Girls in the age range of 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault than the rest of the population. Ninety-three percent?of juvenile victims know the attacker in sexual assault incidences.
Lia and Tessa are two 8th grade girls in Toronto, Canada. These two girls want to change how consent is taught in Ontario schools. The girls are working to change how young people are educated about consent and sexual assaults as their generation is the one most at risk. Going to school and in their daily lives, the girls witness sexism and harassment. They hear stories from friends about cat-calling and slut-shaming at school. There is also a lack of knowledge and awareness about safe sex and consent.
Society doesn’t teach young people about safe sex and consent. Schools teach abstinence in the classroom. However, young people will have sex. If they do not understand about consent, how can they have healthy relationships? Let’s define “consent” to make sure we understand it.
According to Dictionary.com, the word means:
“Consent as a verb: to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield”
“Consent as a noun: permission, approval, or agreement; compliance; acquiescence”
Consent means the other person or party must agree to the action or what is going to take place. One does not force their will or way onto another person because that?person does not agree with what he?wants.
The curriculum being used in Ontario schools might be?outdated. It doesn’t contain anything about consent in its?entire 222 pages. Instead of teaching about sexual health education, the schools are teaching abstinence. The curriculum is proposed to be updated for the year. It has been announced that consent will be part of the proposed curriculum.
If we are not teaching our young people about consent, how can we expect them to understand when a person says yes or no? Our young people need to know how to say no and feel comfortable to say no. We want them to understand that if you have sex without having a person’s consent, it is rape. Schools in all countries should be required to teach consent. We may not want our teenagers to have sex, but many will. It is a rite of passage for many teenagers. They need to be educated and properly informed about everything sex may bring them.
Let’s teach real life scenarios and give our children the tools to handle what life may throw at them. After all, isn’t that our job as adults raising children? We are supposed to help them learn how to be adults in our world.