Consent is needed, consent is sexy, consent is mandatory. A few cities around the world, a pertinent one being Nairobi, Kenya, have taken the initiative in sexual health and consent through newly implemented “consent classes.” With a new experimental trial from the No Means No Worldwide, Uiaama, Africa, UK Department of International Development in place for the past 10 years, thousands of mindsets have changed. Now this isn’t your normal, mediocre sex education course in middle school, the new classes go through everything from educational purposes to learning boundaries to self-defense.
Around 180,000 boys and girls have partaken in the class, and the results are astounding. Sources say there’s been a 51 percent decrease in incidents of rape AND the rate of boys intervening in harassment raised from 26 percent all the way to 74 percent- nearly a 184 percent increase. It was originally implemented because in certain regions in Kenya 1 in 4 women were raped. So, an organization decided to take initiative and implement their classes for schools to see how much it’d improve. For the US to tackle this level of progress, there must be changes in policy and educational standards.
The US Educational system needs these courses, we live in a country where people turn the other way at most bad occurrences in the world. We turn our heads at anything real or scary in the world, but our sexual health can’t be turned away anymore. The implementation of consent classes in the US is needed and will help the educational system, sexual relations, and mental health between all students.
The classes will teach a variety of subject matters: what consent means, self-defense, help boys understand masculinity, minimizing sexual harassment, legal distinctions, and so on. But most importantly, it’ll give the students a voice: a voice to speak up, to intervene, to teach, to change everything with.
Firstly, consent means permission in the simplest of terms, your partner needs to have given you permission. The heads of the class make sure everyone in that class understands this is a core concept in social and romantic relationships. While on the other side of the spectrum, another common lesson are the legal distinctions between rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
Now here’s a little guide on consent:
If someone says yes (enthusiastically and with no pressure or coercion present), then and only then does it mean yes and you can keep going.
If someone says no, then stop right then and there. No means no, not no for the next 20 minutes.
If someone says no even during sex, then stop. They’re not a bitch for it, they’re just uncomfortable, not into you, or simply don’t want to and that’s it.
It’s truly that simple.
Next, despite America’s gun-toting persona, most people are deprived of basic self-defense moves that could save their lives. The self-defense classes in Kenya have already been proven useful in fighting attackers, dropping the sexual assault average. The US could, at the very least, implement that into PE on a national standard.
With handling masculinity, the classes would teach the difference between what masculinity is and how dangerous toxic masculinity is. Basically, toxic masculinity is a boundary to the social construct of traditional male gender roles that restrict emotional responses, social developing, and being the “alpha.” Now in the US, 7 out of 10 suicides are white males, most likely pressured from the societal toxic masculinity to not be able to receive help or feel their emotions outwardly. If taught at a young age, the national average would drop dramatically.
Finally then, would the deadly pandemic that is sexual harassment decrease. It’s no secret that rape happens all too often on college campuses, with no repercussions most of the time. In Kenya, it’s reported that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before 18. In the US, more than 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault, a large percentage being in college. Now, 1 in 33 men- have experienced attempted or completed rape or sexual assault in their lifetime. One survey found 25 percent of transgender students asked have experienced sexual abuse, according to sources. With an education battling the problem, the numbers would plummet because of the comprehensive approach the classes would have. In Kenya, sexual harassment has gone down due to the rise of boys intervening- if that isn’t progress, then what is? We need more than Title IX classes that go over the same material.
Educate the world on what problems we face, be open about sex and our bodies, and intervene when you see injustice. We don’t have to wait for our education system to catch up, teach people yourself.