International Woman’s Day- Teaching about Consent.

Happy International Women’s Day!

“Today Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg shows his support for The Home Office’s Teenage Rape Prevention campaignlaunched on 5 March. He warns that rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers but also includes non-consensual sex within a relationship and highlights the need to get young people talking about the importance of consent.”

Taken from my Sex Education Forum Bulletin I just received via email- you can get it too by signing up here.

Consent can be a tricky thing to teach.  As well as covering the legal aspects of consent it is important to discuss notions of active consent and what abuse and coercion can look like. I really really love the way Scarleteen do this here (About navigating consent) and here (about body boundaries).

An interesting way to explore consent with young people is to discuss different scenarios with them with giving them traffic light cards (a red, amber, green card) and reading out a lengthy scenario and asking them to hold up the card as to whether the point in the story is Consenting (Green- good to go), Consensual grey area/ unsure (Amber) or Non-Consenting (Red -Stop).

The main scenario types you should explore are:

a) “Consent” under the influence of drink or drugs.

b) “Consent” under the influence of one partner’s coercion.

c) “Consent” due to previous sexual activities being consented to.

It can be very interesting to do this with the young people closing their eyes to remove peer pressured responses, and to compare the responses from the different genders. It can be tricky sometimes to come to a “consensus on consent” so allow plenty of time for discussion.

Also very interesting to use the Haven’s Where is your line? Campaign Video using the traffic light cards. (bewarned it is a hard hitting video so view it first to assess suitability for your class).

These are just some of the ways I like to explore consent with young people. I have many more ideas but I am supposed to be on maternity leave and no time to blog them all!!

If you have any more ideas for exploring consent with young people please do share them.

Happy Educating.


3 thoughts on “International Woman’s Day- Teaching about Consent.

  1. i’ve never taught it, but I like the work shop the glasgow sexpression group do on consent. there’s a video/short film about rape within a (controlling) relationship, which is emotional stuff. Can’t remember its name but i’m sure it was produced in Bristol. and we do a ‘jack and jill do X, has jill consented to sex?’ session (apparently in some groups, if jack pays for a film it’s a no, but once you add in pizza hut it swings to yes….blimey!).

  2. Hey I’m a SRE Outreach Worker in Newcastle and we use a continuum method for exploring issues of consent, values and healthy & unhealthy relationships with young people – much along the same lines as the traffic light system. Method is to write AGREE and DISAGREE on 2 pieces of paper and put them on the wall at opposite sides of the room. There is now an imaginary line going across the middle. The facilitator reads out different statements (e.g. it’s okay to have sex with someone when they’re drunk) and young people go to the relevant place on the continuum, i.e. if they really really disagree they’d be beside the disagree sign, or if they think it depends on the situation they’d be somewhere in the middle. Discuss the reasons why people have chosen their spot and when the discussion has finished ask if any of them want to move. It’s the facilitators job to play devils advocate. This is a good way to explore healthy and unhealthy relationships as well (e.g. it’s normal to have your partners passwords for f/book, msn etc). More ideas for these can be found in the free downloads for the Respect Campaign by the Home Office below. Happy SREing!

  3. As a biology specialist it is these aspects of Sex Education that I am not as good at teaching. I think it’s imperative that there are specialist SRE teachers who know how to deliver this essential part of the curriculum. It is good to have a separate teacher to discuss these aspects with students rather than just let the scientists deal with it in the best way they can.

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