Jenna Lynch: Consent education isn't an attack on boys

OPINION: Compulsory consent education is a must.

We need to accept we have a problem. But before parents of boys get outraged that "my son isn't like that", let's just take a moment to say this is not an attack on boys.

Consent education is not just teaching our boys that no means no, that silence does not equal consent, that a drunk person cannot give consent.

It's also about teaching our girls - and boys - that it's okay to say no.

It is 100 percent okay to say no at any time.

It is okay to say no when someone tries to grab your hand.

It is okay to say no mid-kiss.

It is okay to say no once you hit the mattress.

If you don't want something to happen - even if you did for a moment before - you are 100 percent within your rights to stop it from happening.

It's okay to say no to her, to him, to your mates, to your rugby friends.

Boys can feel uncomfortable about sex too, and if you do you are no less of a man for saying no to it.

We still have a culture in which it is normal to question whether a girl "asked for it" because of her short skirt. Whether someone "asked for it" because they drank some booze.

Safe sex is no longer just about using a condom.

It's about keeping our kids (and, actually, adults too) safe from harmful sexual experience.

The Ministry of Education's guidelines do say schools should address "consent and coercion".

However, it's not compulsory. Each school sets its own sexual health curriculum in conjunction with the parents of their students.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis made an excellent point today when he said consent education shouldn't stop with schools.

This is an issue which has spread like a virus throughout society.

He says it should be taught in rugby clubs. Of course it should.

Rugby clubs, netball clubs, band practice, church, universities. Put posters in bars for crying out loud.

It's an important message.

Let's stop spreading the "protect yourself from rape" message and instead spread the "don't rape" message.

It's very simple. No means no. And it's okay to say no.

Jenna Lynch is a Newshub political reporter.

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