Feminism | Posted by Max F on 11/13/2013

Why Teaching Teen Boys About Consent Should Be A Mandatory Part of Sex Ed

It started with a Facebook post. Last summer, a Facebook friend posed the question: “If you would teach your daughter about protection, then why wouldn’t you teach your son about respect?”After I read that, I realized that my high school’s sexual education class only taught us (and especially girls) what not to do. We were taught not to “put your drink down” and to “not drink something if it wasn’t made in front of you.” This information is valid, yet it begs the question: why are young adults only taught how to avoid other people’s behavior? For example, someone has to be the person tampering with somebody else’s drink in order to attempt assault, yet that person’s behavior isn’t directly addressed — we’re not explicitly taught not to lace somebody else’s drink. We’re just always taught that people like that are out there and really exploring why doing things like this is so awful. Wouldn’t it be more productive to teach young adults at an appropriate age why they shouldn’t tamper with drinks, why date-rape is wrong?

Clearly, this is just one example and unfortunately there are many more, but it was this basic idea — that we should be teaching the people who do the sexual assaulting why that’s wrong rather than teach their targets tactics to avoiding them –  that led me to strongly believe there should be legislation requiring schools to teach both young men and women about consent. Instead of only telling girls what they shouldn’t do to be assaulted, we should tell boys not to assault in the first place. Boys and girls should be taught about consent and ultimately focus on how respecting each other should be the basis of safe sex.

My goal is to get as many signatures as possible on a petition asking the new mayor of New York to take a proud stance on consent education and to support and implement legislation that requires such material to be taught in NYC sex education courses. Since I’m only 16 years old and have a limited ability to reach a lot of people, I’m turning to the readers of the FBomb and the internet at large. I’ve started a petition and am asking for your support. If you believe that consent should be an integral part of sex education, that both teen boys and girls should be taught about consent and, ultimately, respect, please consider signing my Change.org petition (which can be found here).

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  • Talia bat Pessi @ at 6:21 pm, November 13th, 2013

    Such a good cause. Good for you! Keep up the good work.

  • Rebecca @ at 7:35 pm, December 2nd, 2013

    I could not agree more on what you are saying! Society and the educational system should stop teaching women how to “avoid getting raped” and teaching boys and even men about consent. Why should women have to live in fear? I should be able to walk down a street at night all by myself and alone, and not have to worry about someone attacking me. A good article to read about the similar topic is: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/touch/story.html?id=9089083, very powerful read, and you make excellent points in your post!

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