Last year, the #MeToo movement rocked social media when women and survivors began to share their personal stories of sexual assault, rape, and harassment. People’s reactions were mixed. Many found power in shared experiences, others found it upsetting or triggering, and still others had a hard time believing the problem was as bad as women and survivors of assault were making out to be.
Since then, more and more accusations have revealed famous actors, singers, artists, CEOs and politicians who have committed sexual assault or harassment. Most recently, everyone is reeling from the allegations against the newest nominee for the US Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump in June, and was set to be confirmed to his position as a Supreme Court Justice by the US Senate early in September. But after several women came forward accusing him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, the nomination process was stalled in order to conduct testimony regarding the assault that eventually triggered a full FBI investigation into the allegations.
Whether or not an assault took place 35 years ago or today, we all know that sexual activity without consent is wrong and harmful. But if there’s anything that we’ve learned from the #MeToo movement and news about the Supreme Court nomination, it’s that an honest conversation about consent is necessary, and we must empower women and survivors to use their voice and speak their truth.
And teens like you can lead the way.
Here are 3 ways to be a champion for consent:
- Tell your Senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh! In addition to his troubling judicial record, allegations against Judge Kavanaugh that reflect a history of sexual assault against women make him the wrong person to receive the responsibility and honor of sitting with a lifetime appointment on our country’s highest court.
- Join the conversation. Share your thoughts about consent on social media using popular hashtags like #IBelieveSurviors or #BelieveWomen. Engage friends, classmates, and family members in respectful dialogue about why consent is important to you!
- Practice consent. Make sure that before you engage in sexual activity, that you have your partner’s full and enthusiastic consent. Likewise, if something doesn’t feel good to you, speak up! Click here to review what giving and getting consent looks like.
Any other ideas on how to be a consent champion? Tweet us @TeenSource!
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.