What is consent?
Simply put, consent is about asking permission to engage with another person and respecting their answer. Put another way - it means living by the maxim that we don’t step into another person’s personal space without asking to do so first. To practice consent we need to know our own limits and desires, the ability to respect ourselves and others, and a good dose of empathy to understand other people’s point of view. In short - we need good social skills.
Sexualized Assault Prevention Month is an annual campaign designed to engage all folks as allies to prevent sexualized violence in our community. This inter-agency campaign is all about creating conversations with each other so that together we can change our culture and our community for the better.
This year’s Sexualized Assault Prevention Month is dedicated to giving you the tools and resources you need to raise healthy kids who will grow into healthy adults who practice consent in all areas of their life.
It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about consent.
Consent, boundaries, respect, and empathy are important for healthy and happy kids at all stages and ages. It’s easy to introduce these concepts in ways that are appropriate for your kid’s specific development stage – in a way that has nothing to do with sex.
While teaching these concepts are effective in decreasing the prevalence of sexual violence and protecting your children from becoming victims or perpetrators, there is so many other positive benefits. It’s also a proactive way to provide young people with the tools they need to have healthy relationships throughout their lives – with their family members, friends, peers, and future romantic partners.
Consent is about knowing and respecting a person’s own choices and boundaries - and respecting the boundaries and choices of others. Understanding consent and developing healthy boundaries are important skills for recognizing when a situation does not feel right and being able to leave it – and for respecting when others do the same.
By teaching our kids about consent throughout their lives, we can empower them and protect them as they grow up and go out on their own in the world.
The ripple effect of teaching consent now
Each year in Canada, it is estimated there are 600,000 sexualized assaults. 99% of sexualized violence is perpetrated by men while victims are of all genders, and in particular from marginalized populations. In the Yukon, the rates are 3.5 times higher than the national average.
- 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
- Almost 70% of Canadians do NOT understand what it means to give consent in sexual situations.
- 1 in 10 teens reported that a dating partner kissed, touched, or forced them to have sexual contact against their will
- 1 in 10 students say they have committed sexual violence
It’s one of a parent’s worst fears and it can be easier to think “Well, not my child!”
As parents, it is easier to believe that our child will not become a victim…or a perpetrator of sexualized assault.
But as parents, you can do even better – there are active and simple steps you can take to protect your children.
By teaching your kids - at all ages and development stages - about consent, boundaries, empathy, and respect, you can give them the skills they need to have healthy relationships, recognize and leave unhealthy relationships, and increased self-confidence.
Let’s choose to empower our kids with the right to say No, to listen to their own bodies, and to respect others when they say No.