Subject: Friend, it's crucial to address this when talking about consent

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Hi Friend,

There's no way around this–when we are talking about consent, it is crucial to speak about p0rn. 

Consent has never been a bigger buzz word, and increasingly, schools are rushing to ensure they educate students about this vital relationship skill. However, we cannot effectively address consent unless we talk about p0rn. We are failing young people if we fail to include education about p0rn’s role in sexual violence and how its consumption (and hypersexualised culture in general) impacts consent. The research is clear–p0rn shapes sexual attitudes, decision-making and behaviours. 

According to Dr John Foubert, a researcher for over 25 years on how to how to end sexual violence:
“P0rnography itself is a recipe for rape that has rewritten the sexual script for the sexual behaviour of the millennial generation and is currently rewiring the brains of the generation to follow.” 

John also advises that "If anyone has an agenda to end sexual violence— and I hope you do—you must tackle the issue of p0rnography if you want to have an impact." Keep reading to learn more about John's research findings.

Ever since sexual assault hit the headlines in March inspired by 23-year-old Chanel Contos, we have been inundated with inquiries from schools wanting to know if we talk about consent. Short answer–yes. Expanded version–absolutely yes, but only within the context of educating young people about how p0rn can impact attitudes, behaviours, safety, and mental and relational health. This framing is what we refer to as P0rn & Online Safeguarding Education. Talking about consent without acknowledging this toxic graphic content and its prevalence ignores young people's lived reality of the "porn social experiment" gone terribly wrong. 

Without talking about p0rn from a researched perspective, young people are left wondering if the hair pulling, gagging and sexual assault where the woman appears to be saying "yes", is perhaps, consensual and desirable. Adults with life experience and critical-thinking skills are well-situated to interpret these violent images. However, it's common for young people to lack this insight. When we shy away from talking about p0rn, there's a massive educational void that leaves young people vulnerable to p0rn harms.

We understand that for overwhelmed and often-time-poor educators, these conversations may be difficult. To support schools in talking about consent and ensuring that it is underpinned with education about p0rn's impacts, we've now updated our year-level sessions. These are available on location and online, so please reach out if you want to deliver this information.

Till next time, be well and stay inspired.

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Youth Wellbeing Project, PO Box 1055, North Lakes, QLD, 4509, Australia
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