The Culture of Consent Is Something That Should Be Taught In All Educational Institutions

Instead of cloaking the topic of sex with a shroud of taboo, we must practice teaching our kids about consent instead.

Society fails to understand the complex subtleties and dynamic nature of human emotions when the word ‘consent’ comes into play.

It is simply either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

However, in reality, several emotions engulf a person when they are put in the spot.

We live in a generation where teens are severely influenced by international teen dramas that portray not indulging in sexual activity as being a prude. On the other hand, most students are still part of a familial system that glorifies a ‘modern Sati Savitri’.

Women must be ‘modern’ but only up to the degree that society deems appropriate. Every daughter is entitled to an education, but when her male peers go on a trip she is not allowed to join them. She can only go with her husband after she is married. Every woman must work towards building a career, but that doesn’t mean she can sleep in on a Sunday like her brother does, because who will teach her how to cook for her future in-laws?

These absurd ideas of our so-called liberal society fill a girl’s heart with immense guilt at the mere thought of casual dating or hooking up with someone. There is no right or wrong when it comes to an individual’s will to be in a relationship and/or be physical. However, we must stop shaming the women in our lives for their actions, thus allowing them to make a clear decision for themselves.

First and foremost, it is important to indoctrinate the idea that consent culture is not something associated solely with rape. It is essential to understand that any form of touch requires consent. Some people do not enjoy hugs which is also a personal preference. Taking hints from people’s body language and gauging whether they are nervous or in the right frame of mind is important when you feel like the other party is not in a position to speak their minds.

In addition to all these factors, it is important to note that consent is not limited to being physical. Something as simple as being overbearing and taking someone’s decisions for them is a breach of their right to choose. Many of us don’t realise that the phrase ‘no means no’ pertains to every aspect of our lives.

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As women, we have been taught to be submissive. Though this generation of teenagers have it better than the previous ones, they have also grown up seeing their mothers and grandmothers toiling for the family whilst having little say in decisions impacting their lives. Somewhere the world around us still makes women feel guilty for being vocal and expressing their feelings with no filter.

In my opinion, educational institutions must introduce sexual education which works to destigmatize having dialogue pertaining to any form of sexual activity. With more dialogue, women will find it easier to make better decisions and to speak up for themselves if need be. Victims shouldn’t feel ashamed to register a complaint. A woman shouldn’t be made to feel tainted for no fault of hers.

A close friend of mine was sitting in her college campus with her boyfriend when he suddenly started touching her waist from inside her T-shirt. She felt immensely uncomfortable with it and so she told him to stop. Even though he stopped immediately, the feeling of disgust persisted. He hadn’t asked for her consent before touching her and she didn’t like that. She couldn’t call him out for it though since in her mind, she felt like she would be judged for making a fuss out of nothing. She would be viewed as a dogmatic prude by her peers.

One more thing that is very important to consider is that every individual has the right to change their mind. I might have given my consent yesterday and changed my decision overnight, and even that is perfectly acceptable. One must not be reprimanded for having dynamically changing, ever-evolving boundaries.

It is excellent to have an older person such as a parent or guardian with whom one can discuss matters such as boundaries while engaging in some sort of physical activity or boundaries in general. These trusted people would give a lot of valuable insight, since the vast range of emotions flooding young minds might interfere with their decision-making abilities or result in them thinking unidirectionally.

However, elders sadly believe that talking about such topics with their children is taboo and would encourage their children to be promiscuous. What they don’t realise is that giving their wards freedom, and being friendly with them gives them a better chance to shield their ward from the emotional trauma that comes from a misinterpretation of consent or an intentional violation of it.

Understanding the true meaning and implication of consent and how consent can mean different things to different people is of topmost importance since one never knows the emotional impact that even the smallest actions of ours could have on someone. What could be perceived by one party as a casual hookup may scar another person for life and cause deep-rooted anxiety in them.

With teenagers spending most of their time in educational institutions, it should be seen that consent culture is practiced, allowing all students to feel safe and at peace. Curtailing a woman’s freedom is never the right solution. Instead, an environment wherein a woman can make all her decisions for herself must be fostered.

SHE always knows what’s best for her body and her soul.

Image Source: Canva Pro

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About the Author

shreya krishnan

An engineering student with a thing for writing, I hope to become a force to reckon with in the world of media and journalism someday read more...

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