Updated: May 3, 2021
By Eleni Pacheco
Since the #MeToo movement began, conversations about consent have erupted across the nation.
We now know that teaching consent - or giving permission for something - is about much more than saying “yes” or “no” to sex. Consent is about setting personal limits and creating boundaries in our relationships. Whether talking to a toddler, teenager, or young adult, teaching youth these fundamental ideas about healthy and unhealthy relationships empowers them with skills and options when they are faced with big decisions.
Starting the conversation when you have no blueprint to go off of can be hard. We've got a few guidelines to follow that will help you kick start your understanding of sexual consent:
Consent is about everyone involved in a sexual or possibly sexual encounter
Consent can always be withdrawn
Nothing makes consent automatic or unnecessary
In some situations, full, informed, and free consent cannot be truly given or shared
Nonconsent means STOP
A lack of “no” does not mean “yes”
Parents and families play a major role in teaching and modeling consent for the next generation, not only in reducing teen and unplanned pregnancy but in preparing young people to communicate limits throughout their lives. It takes a village to empower youth to make healthy, informed decisions about sex and relationships.
But how can we do this? Check out Power to Decide’s recently published article for a few examples.
For a more local perspective, check out Texas Monthly’s recent article featuring Healthy Futures of Texas founder, Dr. Janet Realini, and her take on teaching young people in Texas.
Eleni Pacheco, San Antonio Project Coordinator, discovered their passion for culture and sexuality while studying anthropology at UTSA. They chose to work in sex ed with the mission of creating world peace through shared power and community efficacy. Outside of education, Eleni shows love by feeding their friends (often experimenting on them with new recipes) and bonding over backyard karaoke.