By Ololade Ganikale
I ASK – Consent Education Is Important.
It is April and as we all know, or do not but are about to know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The theme for this year’s sexual awareness month is “I Ask”
Two simple words. I Ask.
I ask is centered around consent and the importance of consent. The importance of asking before doing.
Have you ever thought about why we have a high rate of sexual abuse and harassment in our societies? It is because people have not learnt to ask, people do not understand consent and people feel entitled to other people’s bodies. They do not understand body autonomy and do not understand that you have to ask before you proceed and respect the other person’s decision be it yes or no. Asking will not always result in the answer you seek but you must respect their decision because it is their right to say yes or no to whatever you ask for.
Consent is a concept not widely understood which is why we must always preach about the importance of consent. If everyone understands and respects consent, we will have a better society without numerous cases of sexual abuse.
Personally, I don’t believe it is just about understanding and respecting consent, I believe it is also our civic responsibility to educate people around us about consent and also implore them to educate people about consent. Consent education is a measure needed to prevent sexual assault. Teaching to ask is important in building a better society free of sexual abuse and assault. The more people we educate, the more people they educate and the cycle goes on.
We always think of consent in relation to sexual relationships but the truth is consent is an important aspect of interpersonal relationships. Consent must be sought in all we do as it is important to ask before we proceed.
We should not turn a blind eye to what our families, friends, acquaintances and even strangers are doing. Whenever we notice a case of someone being harassed, it is our duty to walk up to that situation, educate them about consent tell them what they are doing is wrong.
Consent is important and educating people about consent is equally as important. At HandsOff, we pledge to consent, we pledge to always ask, we pledge to respect the decision we get and we pledge to always educate people on consent. We at HandsOff implore us all to take this pledge and observe it religiously. There is so much work to do and the earlier we start, the better for us, our societies and the future generation.