11.6.15 | Esther Warkov
Sure, we're all about consent. That's because we know--first hand--the indelible nightmare of sexual assault. Maybe if the tenth grade football player who raped our daughter on a high school field trip had consent education he might have learned that "stop" means no and only an enthusiastic "yes" means yes. Or maybe not.
He'd already been suspended for having intercourse in the bushes on the lunch break in 8th grade, according to a public investigation report. Maybe our daughter's rapist needed consent education in middle school. His Facebook page included posts to "Slap that bitch hard," among other unmentionable recommendations. He even admitted to the school's investigators that while our daughter told him multiple times to stop, "I did not pay attention to her that much."
Consent education is being touted as the solution to the epidemic of sexual assault in our K-12 schools. Can we please stop and think? Why do we need consent education? If we respect our friends or our students, we don't treat them like objects for our own gratification.
Maybe we really should be educating students about the underlying problem: the pervasive sexual objectification that allows perpetrators and victims to view sexual harassment as normative. We need to be teaching students about rape culture, not just about how to ask for sex. Maybe we also should be teaching students about impulse control: "Hey, I'm about to traumatize a classmate or student for the rest of her/his life. What the hell am I doing? Does it even matter that it's wrong?"