TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


February 12, 2018

Effective sex-ed begins with consent


Abstinence may be the solution to avoiding teen pregnancies or diseases, but when people start to engage in sexual activity, they will lack the knowledge on how to prevent complications from arising when they were never educated about giving consent: an unambiguous voluntary agreement of both parties, either in words or actions, to engage in a sexual activity.
The recent trending hashtag #MeToo allowed women to openly share their sexual harassment experiences, in order to show society the extent of this ongoing problem. Women also started a legal defense fund, called Time’s Up, where they will fight against sexism in the workplace.
As more and more people are joining the movement, it is time for us, Temple City High School, to also take action by educating individuals about consent.
As a student who took Health over the summer, I don’t remember learning a lot about consent. Even though Health in the summer is a three-week fast-paced course, most of the student body take it then, rather than during the school year. In return, we don’t get the full education necessary to make us knowledgeable about consent.
In addition, we mostly focus on drugs, date rape drugs in particular. But if we cover the topic of rape, why do we not cover consent as well? There is definitely a connection between the two, and both are equal in importance, so I do not see why it is not touched upon.
Although teachers encourage abstinence, that is not the only thing we shoul d focus on. An abstinence-only education has no long term value; when people start to engage in sexual activity, they will not only need to know the prevention methods for unwanted pregnancies or STDs, but also about consent.
Even though consent is about only moving forward when there’s a clear yes from both parties, part of teaching abstinence should also include how to say ‘no’ and how to accept ‘no.’
We need to put more focus on educating about receiving and giving consent. Because let’s be real, a lecture on abstinence won’t be that helpful to people already engaging in sexual activity.
If we start teaching consent before one becomes sexually active, it will become second nature to be aware of it in the future. People will easily know how to say ‘no, ’how to receive a ‘no,’ and most importantly, understand that every person has a choice in what they want, and that choice should be respected.
Rather than teaching it later, when a greater percentage of individuals are being more sexually active, we need to teach it now.
If we start educating people more about consent, then perhaps we would not have to encounter sexual harassment incidents in the future. Habits develop when we are young and continue onto our adulthood, so we need to prevent the bad habits before they even start.

About the Author

Michelle Le



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