Bold girls ken what consent is… but do you?

By: Aimee Wallace Bold Girls Ken participant
Published on:
  • Healthy relationships
  • Rights

Content Note: Mentions of online harassment and sexual abuse

Recently after promising myself to take more opportunities that come my way, the email asking for young women to join a campaign which would address peer sexual abuse came through at a perfect time. Although it was daunting to volunteer with little to no campaign experience, the opportunity has been more rewarding than anything. My views aligned strongly with the aim, and I wanted to be a part of the positive change this campaign would bring.

Within a few sessions, we acknowledged the lack of conversation about consent. Consent requires body and verbal language to actively agree to a sexual activity, and there needs to be an understanding of what you are saying yes to. Numerous protections in law also describe situations where someone is not able to consent, such as being under the age of 16. In school, these conversations of what consent is were accompanied by awkward atmospheres and it often felt like a taboo subject. But understanding what consent is plays a large part in preventing peer sexual abuse. Every young person deserves to understand what consent is and to feel a sense of comfort and safety knowing their peers do also.

There is also a lack of education about consent in online situations. The online world has become an integral part of my life and most other young people’s, but the increased usage has seen a rise in a host of negative impacts. The ability to send videos and images, post comments, and send direct messages in a matter of seconds has left young women as targets of misogyny and abuse in the online world too. It was found that 76% of young women aged 12-18 have been sent unsolicited nude images by boys or men. This shows that the majority of young women have been victims of cyberflashing and have been sent unwanted sexual images, but there is little conversation about this far too common experience.

Education in schools and communities is an essential part of tackling issues like this one. All young people should understand what consent is and know where to go for support if it is needed. The Bold Girls Ken campaign will aim to provide the correct tools for schools, parents, and communities in order to make this a reality.

The project, for me, has been an empowering experience that has allowed me to be involved in a crucial step forward in improving the lives of young women. Being guided by the pioneering work of the young women involved with the Oor Fierce Girls campaign, we have created campaign materials based on our own experiences as young women. I hope the Bold Girls Ken campaign will increase and improve the conversations about consent because every young woman deserves to feel safe and comfortable on and offline.

Aimee Wallace, Bold Girls Ken programme participant.

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