9.6.16 | JR Thorpe
If you're lucky enough to have any education about rape in high school in the first place, it tends to be a combination of shock tactics and severity: no means no, absolutely not, no negotiation; fight off an assailant with your keys and aim for their eyes and groin; and pressure to have sex in a relationship is not loving or healthy. All of these are perfectly valid points — but education can do more; it can help teens, goofy hormonal pre-adults that they are, frame their responses to sexual violence, consent, and sexual pleasure, and hopefully make America's rape culture a bit less toxic, one bit of affirmative consent at a time.
If we're going to educate the next generation about rape, I'm for two things: explaining that victim-blaming is abhorrent, and educating people so that they don't rape in the first place. It's not valid to put the onus entirely on potential survivors and not try to raise awareness of consent as a nuanced, necessary, and (crucially) sexually healthy thing. Rapists, as we all well know, are not just ferocious strangers who leap out of bushes; according to sexual assault statistics, approximately 48 percent of all adult rapists are friends or acquaintances of their victims, 16 percent are intimate partners, and two percent are relatives.
If there is any chance that solid, informed high school education about consent and how it works could prevent somebody from committing rape in the future, then we should take that chance, every time.
That Rape Can Happen To Anybody