The Consent Project making a difference
High school student opening the conversation about consent
CHARLIE JOHNSON Charlie Johnson - Halifax’s Queer REALTOR® / Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant. Follow @QueerRealty / send story leads to firstname.lastname@example.org.
and more. Samson says her awareness approach helps youth connect because “teachers teach but I’m talking with them. It’s one thing when an adult is talking to a youth about sexual violence and consent, but when one of your peers is talking to you about it, it feels more relatable,” Samson says. “I’ve cried with girls thanking me for doing this.” A significant challenge Samson and others encountered when discussing the sensitive subjects that surround sexual violence is the pushback from parents about teaching these subjects in the school systems. “I only learned about consent in one class in Grade nine and we watched a video called Do You Want Some Tea? but never learned about it again. It doesn’t make sense to me that we need to send a slip home to be signed by parents to learn about consent but not any other subjects.” Another concern is the “red zone.” “Students call the first eight weeks of the university year the “red zone” because there are so many parties and people are at a much higher risk of sexual violence.” If it is public knowledge students are at an elevated risk of sexual violence, schools need to take more responsibility for keeping their students safe. An effective way to do this would be by increasing mandatory education surrounding subjects such as consent, boundaries, sexuality and gender for both students and educators. A long-term goal for The Consent Project is to have it active in schools across the province. Having youth start the conversations and learning “just because there isn’t a clear ‘no’ doesn’t mean there is a ‘yes.’ It doesn’t take a lot to get consent from someone,” says Samson. The Consent Project is growing in numbers and has daily posts on various subjects surrounding consent. You can follow the project on Instagram at @TheConsentProject. NS.