Help Kids Understand Consent & Prevent Sexual Assault
Camp Director Kevin Gordon recently read Chessy Prout’s I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope, documenting her title story. It raised for Kevin the issue of the importance of people of ages learning about and respecting the issue of consent.
Indeed, at Camp Kupugani, our overnight summer camp about two hours west of Chicago and 90 minutes south of Madison, a top priority is the safety of our campers. Safety relates to physical and emotional safety, and the autonomy and respect of one’s own body and the bodies of others. A recent Washington Post article emphasized: “While sexual assault has many complex causes, one clear factor is young people’s comprehension of — or confusion about — what constitutes appropriate, consensual sex.” It elucidated some ways parents can address consent and how to minimize the occurrence of sexual abuse. Bullets below, with the full article here.
- Clearly define assault and provide concrete examples.
- Assault is an action without the consent of the other person.
- Provide examples based on your child’s age and maturity.
- Ask your child for their definition of assault, following up by correcting any misunderstanding.
- Check in to confirm the retention of the information.
- Talk about — and keep talking about — consent.
- Consent is verbal and affirmative.
- Start young, by asking for permission to hug, or touch someone.
- Give your child control over their body.
- Don’t force them to hug or kiss grandma if they don’t want to.
- Provide alternatives with which your child may be more comfortable.
- Give younger kids language they understand (Green, yellow, red light).
- Give boys permission to talk about strong emotions.
- Feelings of helplessness can result in unwanted physical or sexual contact.
- Remind your children that all emotions have a purpose.
- Use examples from TV shows or films that can elicit conversation.
- Encourage young people to be allies and upstanders.
- Empower your child with the “see something, say something” attitude.
- Ask what they “would do” vs. “should do”.
- Brainstorm strategies on how to support a peer who has been or is involved in a abusive relationship.
- Share the stories of survivors.
- Real life experiences are powerful.
- These stories can help increase empathy and understanding of consent.
- Help your child brainstorm people to whom they can speak.
Original source: The Washington Post