Two eighth graders in Toronto, Canada are pushing to overhaul their province’s sexual health curriculum to include more information about healthy relationships, saying that combating rape culture involves creating a “consent culture” among youth.
Tessa Hill and Lia Valente, both 13 years old, are asking the Ontario Ministry of Education to add consent education as a topic in the province’s health curriculum. In an attempt to accomplish that goal, they launched a petition on Change.org last week that’s garnered more than 2,000 signatures so far.
The article goes on to say that the kids only learned about consent because of a project in school where they were instructed to pick their own social justice topic, and they chose rape culture. Which goes to show you that letting kids direct their own learning tends to work out well, and also that oh my god our kids are learning nothing about consent holy shit.
I have to assume it's worse in the US, which matches with my experience of public school sex ed. I remember worksheets where I had to name the organs and learning about STDs. Also we watched a video of a live birth, which I thought was unnecessary and may have just been a scare tactic. And this was in the liberal Seattle area.
But good on these kids. Again, I have to sing the praises of social media. People like to diss Twitter and Tumblr and blogging in general, but without that shit, I never would have learned everything about consent that I now know. It's amazing to me how kids this young not only know as much as I do, but offer incredible insights and take action that I never would have been brave enough to take and honestly would still be nervous about.
Can you imagine how much good we could do if we could just teach kids about consent early? I read something recently that I now cannot remember where I found it but it was talking about how you can teach kids about consent in Kindergarten. You can, after all, talk about consent without talking about sex. Just explain to the kids that you don't touch each other without permission. It's not hard.