Why this petition matters
We Give Consent is a campaign by us, Lia and Tessa, two grade 8 girls in Toronto Canada. Our goal is to get the topic of consent in the Ontario Health Curriculum in schools.
We live in a culture in which rape and sexual violence is expected and accepted as a norm. In Canada 1 in 4 women in will experience at least one incident of sexual assault in their life. Half of these assaults will be against women under 16 years of age. That is one too many. One way to change this is having real talk in our education systems about consent with boys and girls, knowing that young women between the ages of 16 and 21 are at the highest risk of sexual assault.
As young people going to school in Ontario we often see how much sexism and harassment takes place. We hear stories from our friends about cat-calling and slut shaming in the hallways and in the classroom. We also notice the lack of awareness about safe sex and consent. There are different sources in our society that make and perpetuate rape and sexual violence, but one of them is our lack of sex education. Our society is scared to teach teens and young people about safe sex, and most importantly, consent. Young people will have sex, despite teaching abstinence in the classroom, so the most important thing is to educate us and other young people about consent. When young people don't learn about the importance of consent in a sexual relationship, it can lead to unhealthy relationships and ultimately perpetuates rape culture.
The current Ontario Health Curriculum is being used in schools was created in 1998! So much has changed since then and this outdated curriculum does not include anything about consent. It teaches abstinence instead of properly teaching comprehensive sexual health education that includes safer sex and the importance of consent during sex. The entire curriculum is 222 pages long and does not include a single thing about affirmative consent (Check it out here: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/healthcurr18.pdf).
The curriculum needs to teach what clear, enthusiastic, and affirmative consent is and what it looks and sounds like. We want health education that teaches our peers “Yes means Yes”. That shares with our peers that affirmative consent is an enthusiastic “Yes Please!” between two people. We want education that shows us that there are many ways to say no. That educates young people that silence is not consent and that “No means No”. We need curriculum that explains that consent is not valid when either person is intoxicated, and it needs to teach that sex without consent is rape. We need curriculum that speaks to our lives and helps to make us safer.
We know that the Ontario Health Curriculum is changing, an updated version is proposed for this year. Now that Kathleen Wynne has announced that consent will be in the curriculum, this petition acts as support for her decision.
This is a petition to put consent as a topic in the new Ontario Health Curriculum. We will be sharing it with the Minister of Education Liz Sandals & Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Please sign, and spread the word so we can change sex education in Ontario and create a Consent Culture.
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