Consent - it's all about the art of asking

Immediate Release 19 August 2015

‘The ‘no means no’ message in consent education is too simplistic to prepare young people for today’s hypersexualized teen culture’. This is the message of Boy’s Health Advocate group Top Blokes Foundation.

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“We work with over 1,100 teenage boys each year through our social education and mentoring programs; when discussing consent with them we find there are so many scenarios where the ‘no means no’ message just doesn’t cut it,” said Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, Founder and CEO of the Top Blokes Foundation.

Sexual education is a necessary part of the development of all young people, and young people have always strived to supplement the school’s sexual education with information from outside sources. However, with the ever increasing accessibility of the Internet, mobile devices and the growing trends of hookup cultures and sexting, young people’s sexual education is being increasingly influenced by negative external sources.

Research reveals that boys, as young as 9, are watching pornography where it is deemed pornography is their first medium of access of promoting unhealthy ideas surrounding how to achieve consent.

“Pornography presents an inaccurate depiction of unhealthy messages surrounding consent and this must be factored in with today’s consent education programs,” commented Ms. Abu-Gazaleh. 

“In light of the changing cultural perception around sex; teens are increasingly confused about gaining consent in this evolving environment, they are not often aware that there are many different speedbumps on the road to consent that must be addressed ranging from persuasion to coercion. It is imperative that we educate young people what each of these looks like and how this contributes to overall consent.” Bailey Risorto – Top Blokes Foundation Youth Worker

The Top Blokes Foundation has seen significant success in educating young men about consent and have found that these discussions don’t have to be complicated. They have a simple message; teach young people that gaining consent means asking and getting yes’s, without pressure or coercion; not simply having their partner not say no.

The effective message about consent is, it’s all about the art of asking.


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