In the impressionable pre-teen and teen years, youth form ideas about dating from everywhere. It is clear that some of these support and glorify unhealthy relationship behavior such as gender stereotypes, disrespect, coercion and violence. To create awareness about teen dating violence, SAFE San Juans has invited local youth to submit articles throughout February.
By Lucy McGown, Lopez Island 8th-grader
Consent is such a heated topic these days, with the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump coming out. But what is it really? Consent by definition is “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”, but what does it mean to us. RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) definition is, “Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact.”
After looking at a survey sent out to some Lopez Island Middle and High School students, a student shared “Consent is where you give and receive a solid answer of yes or no to a sexual activity, then act on the answer.”
While it’s great that these students know what consent means, sadly a large percentage of the population does not. As Trusanda Lyons, prevention specialist and advocate with SAFE San Juans shares, “Nearly 70 percent of young women who have been raped knew their rapist; the perpetrator was or had been a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.” This is something that needs to change. But what can be done?
Always make sure to ask your partner for consent. Also make sure to correct someone if they are pushing your or someone else’s boundaries. If you have been sexually assaulted contact the national hotline at 800-656-HOPE(4673). Locally you can contact an Advocate with SAFE San Juans on San Juan Island at 360-378-8680 or call SAFE San Juans 24 hour Crisis Line at 360-378-2345.