Mandate Consent Education in School Curriculum
A woman is sexually assaulted in Canada every 17 minutes. Ontario has the opportunity to develop and implement innovative curriculum that addresses the monstrous gaps in the health education of both boys and girls.
Got Consent? is a popular campaign on university campuses across Canada, but the average university freshman is 18-19 years of age upon entering university and has most likely already engaged in at least one romantic relationship. Fall orientation week and residence style living also facilitates a lot of opportunities for interpersonal and sexual relationships to develop with minimal supervision and a surplus of newfound privacy. It is essential that we equip young individuals with the knowledge and real life skills to form respectful personal and professional relationships.
Within elementary school this education can consist of topics including: body autonomy, the right to say yes or no, how to ready body language, active and inactive consent, discussion on course of action when someone makes your uncomfortable etc. It is important to note that even though elementary students will be discussing consent, it does not mean they will be discussing sex. Consent in it’s most basic form is permission and it is imperative that students understand how permission is expressed, witnessed and responded with in situations as platonic as working cooperatively in groups or giving hugs.
Within high school this education can consist of topics including: implicit and explicit consent, situations in which consent can and cannot be given, substance/alcohol use and sex, pleasure, the rights of you and your partner, course of action for intervening in instances of sexual assault, how to offer support to someone who has been sexually assault and what to say when an individual discloses to you.
This education is imperative is combatting rape culture and fostering a society in which everyone feels safe and heard. This conversation is not being had been parents and their children so the responsibility of delivering this crucial message universally across Ontario will be bestowed upon teachers. Implementing consent education into school curriculum comes at no cost and is harm free. It is, in fact, a disservice to boy and girls in Ontario to exclude consent training from their education.