Get ‘em young


That’s a universal recommendation — a lot of times, college is too late. So here’s a lovely story about a teacher discussing Steubenville with high school students. There are facepalming moments as the students obliviously say stupid things, but they’re at least listening and learning how not to rape.

Comments

  1. doublereed says

    Boggles my mind. But I guess it’s true that you don’t really cover the meaning of consent at all in school.

    I just translated the “consent means an affirmative yes” that’s used in every other context to sex. I don’t understand how this is confusing. But if it is, then consent should be part of sex ed.

    And I find it baffling that in any other context, consent is unambiguous but when I’m inside a woman, I have no idea. The whole idea of men “making a mistake” is so incredibly stupid that I have no idea how it caught on.

  2. mythbri says

    @doublereed

    then consent should be part of sex ed.

    Assuming your state requires and/or teaches sex ed. My high school didn’t. I wasn’t even required to attend the “Maturation Assembly” in fifth grade where they teach kids about their changing bodies. My mom pulled me out of it. And she was too embarrassed to give me the talk herself. I learned it from talking to friends and then experiencing it myself. I cried when I told my mom about my first period, because the way she treated it before made it seem like a horrible and shameful thing to have happen. When I got older and started experiencing cramps, I didn’t know that girls were even allowed to opt out of participation in P.E. class because of it. I “sucked it up” and suffered because I didn’t know that it was acceptable to discuss it, or how to discuss it.

    I also live in a state with one of the highest percentages of date-rapes. Go figure.

    ….

    Amanda Marcotte had an interesting post today, which is really about rape apologism, rather than a metaphor comparing women to cats. I know that a lot of commenters here are sick and tired of de-humanizing analogies, but I really think Marcotte handled this one well, making it clear that she was talking about perceptions and willingness to work on culture shifts.

    Avoid the comments.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/25/if-only-we-could-talk-about-abusing-women-like-we-do-abusing-cats/

  3. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    Good for that teacher. We had one like her when I was in high school, and he got fired for it. I hope her school district is wiser than mine.

  4. ChasCPeterson says

    Get ‘em young

    you refer, of course, to Gethem Young, older half-brother of Brigham.

    no?

  5. koncorde says

    …and yet people look cross eyed at Zerlina Maxwell when she suggests that training is required.

    Maybe she should have said education, maybe she should have had this beautiful example to hand, and the Stubenville case to refer to – then we might have had an opportunity for Hannity to bluster some more, but it (hopefully) would have won a few extra people over to the cause of “guns aren’t the obvious solution”.

  6. bittys says

    @3 doublereed

    Boggles my mind. But I guess it’s true that you don’t really cover the meaning of consent at all in school.

    I just translated the “consent means an affirmative yes” that’s used in every other context to sex. I don’t understand how this is confusing. But if it is, then consent should be part of sex ed

    In every other context I can think of (I consent to being searched before I get on a plane, I consent to have my photograph taken as a condition of attending this concert, etc), the word implies that i’m a) the passive subject and b) agreeing to have something done in order to get something that I actually want.

    It seems to me that an awful lot of modern society seems to teach the idea that sex is something that men do to women – all the various ‘he saved the day, he got the girl’ stories and the like, and so boys/men start believing that it’s something they’re entitled to.

    Somehow we need to change the message and be teaching our kids that sex is something you have with someone else, not do to them

  7. howard says

    The whole idea of men “making a mistake” is so incredibly stupid that I have no idea how it caught on.

    …because it’s very convenient for rapists, so they’ll complain all day, no matter how clear it is, that things are NEVER clear.

    Not to say everybody who complains about “consent is so confusing” is a rapist. Some of them have just been heavily indoctrinated by rapists. But… odds are good.

  8. Pteryxx says

    whoof… that Marcotte article about the cat is hard to read, but it’s one of those that (horribly) will be sorely needed in these rape culture discussions.

    No one suggests that we’re somehow robbing animals of their autonomy by noting that they were cornered and tortured. On the contrary, Jackson the cat is granted more autonomy in these stories about his rescue than your typical rape victim is in mainstream media coverage. Jackson can’t even talk, but his feelings about being tortured and rescued are central to the story, which is evidenced by Jackson being given camera time to rub on Wendell, communicating gratitude in the way that cats can. Unlike many rape victims who are painted as somehow permanently destroyed by their experiences, Jackson is granted the right to a story of survivorship.

  9. unclefrogy says

    ” It is no longer enough to talk to our kids about the mechanics of sex, it probably never was. ”
    we can barley talk about the simplest basic “mechanics” of this goes here and then this happens and then a baby, without trouble from some quarters let alone really how to “make love”. As in so many areas we leave the next generation only partly educated and mostly turned off of learning all together good consumers all.
    The courage of the teacher to seize the moment and accept that the students wanted to explore these ideas.
    Consent is a very big concept it is at the heart of liberty and grows out of the personal.

    uncle frogy

  10. doublereed says

    @8 bittys

    I think that depends entirely on the kind of sex you’re having. :D

  11. sonofrojblake says

    Hey, y’know, it turns out that if you don’t teach things to kids, they don’t know those things. Who’d have thought?

  12. sonofrojblake says

    “the students obliviously say stupid things”

    That’s a rather harsh thing to hear coming from someone who apparently makes their living trying to teach things to people who, presumably, didn’t know those things before they joined the class. You’re blaming children for their ignorance. Why?

  13. bittys says

    @doublereed

    Fair point :D

    Let me rephrase slightly then: I don’t want a partner who just lets me have sex with her, I want a partner who wants me to have sex with her. :P

  14. Gregory Greenwood says

    I have never understood why the nature of meaningful consent and explanations about how you can convey that consent and ensure that your potential partner has offered such consent are not core elements of all sexual education. I know there are plenty of fantatics (both of the religiously motivated and socially conservative flavours) who oppose all sex ed., but even in parts of the world where sex ed is already well etablished, like the UK, it is utterly inadequate.

    Similar to the form of sex ed. discussed in the link in the OP, sex ed. in the UK (at least back when I went through it in the ninties) covers the physical mechanics of sex and the perils of venereal disease but goes no further. Consent is not even mentioned except in passing as an afterthought at the end of proceedings where students, who just spent substantial time learning how horribly various venereal diseases can maim or kill, are told over the course of about a minute not to be afraid of sex (with images of a poor person covered in lesions produced by terminal AIDs contracted sexually still looming large on the projector screen), and that it can be wonderful in the proper situation (a married, cis/het couple being heavily implied as the ideal here). Condoms are recommended (somewhat grudgingly), but only with stern warnings that they can easily break, and then where are you?

    The diseases are used in a bid to frighten teenagers into self-imposed celibacy, but the hugely important issue of consent is barely touched upon – just another little insight into how messed up the priorities of our society really are.

  15. mythbri says

    @Pteryxx

    Oh shit!

    I’m so sorry, I should have included a trigger warning for descriptions of animal abuse and discussions of victim-blaming. That’s my bad. I don’t know if PZ can add a trigger warning now.

    Sorry.

  16. Pteryxx says

    Hey, y’know, it turns out that if you don’t teach things to kids, they don’t know those things. Who’d have thought?

    Who taught the kids that unconscious women are fair game? Was there a class?

    Kids absolutely know things that weren’t overtly taught. That’s the problem.

  17. Pteryxx says

    *headdesk* I missed the need for a warning too, mythbri. This’ll be a big day for alerts…

  18. Forelle says

    sonofrojblake at 14:

    That’s a rather harsh thing to hear

    Why? The kids were saying stupid things. PZ in no way said that they themselves were stupid.

    doublereed at 3:

    And I find it baffling that in any other context, consent is unambiguous but when I’m inside a woman, I have no idea. The whole idea of men “making a mistake” is so incredibly stupid that I have no idea how it caught on.

    You might be interested (maybe a trigger warning should apply) in this extract of a book by Deborah Cameron. It addresses supposed miscommunications between men and women and specifically talks about consent and rape. To me it is an excellent dissection of those “miscommunications,” in that it’s wonderfully descriptive. The ultimate causes — ah well.

  19. says

    More misogynistic culture bubbles up from subterranean places:

    The Ford Motor Co. and Indian ad agency JWT issued an apology on Monday for a series of misogynistic ads depicting women with their hands and feet bound and mouths gagged being stowed in the trunk of a car.

    The tag line? “Leave Your Worries Behind.”

    In a statement to Business Insider, JWT apologized for the sexualized images of violence against women, explaining they were “never intended for publication”:

    We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the internet. This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency where they work to deal with the situation.

    Sounds vaguely reminiscent of a certain 17-year-old convicted rapists’ statement that “No pictures should have been taken, let alone sent around,” no?….

    For the full impact, see the photos that accompany this story in Salon.

  20. David Marjanović says

    Not to say everybody who complains about “consent is so confusing” is a rapist.

    I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS ALIENS

    BUT
    IT WAS ALIENS

    Sorry.

    Similar to the form of sex ed. discussed in the link in the OP, sex ed. in the UK (at least back when I went through it in the ninties) covers the physical mechanics of sex and the perils of venereal disease but goes no further.

    Where I come from, sex ed is part of biology. So, all I got taught* that way was the biology – including contraception and a sentence about the mechanics of abortion. The psychological/social side wasn’t even mentioned. Even the information about the diseases didn’t come across as “stay chaste”.

    * At an age where even for me hardly any of it was new, but…

  21. yazikus says

    Recently I read an article about some students trying to bring awareness to a speaker that was coming to their school to talk about “healthy relationships”. Turns out he is a abstinence pushing dolt. Peddling the kind of shit that perpetuates this kind of culture. Being paid by public schools. Ah ha. Link for article found: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/03/20/2322045/group-claims-views-of-hanford.html#storylink=misearch I apologize for not knowing how to make it pretty.

  22. PatrickG says

    This is a great article, but the teacher is highly religious. Even the religious right can stumble upon truths!

    Er. Do I really need to point out that there is such a thing as a religious left? If she’s teaching these kids how to think about rape this way, or even just blogging about rape this way, I sincerely doubt she affiliates with the religious right. Though her testifyin’ is kind of creepy. :)

    Anyway, please don’t use the religious -> immoral/unethical fallacy. It’s greatly unfair to a lot of really decent people out there.

    /offtopic

    On topic, what a great thing to read after those other threads.

  23. says

    Assuming your state requires and/or teaches sex ed.

    QFT. North Dakota just amended one of its about-to-pass bills to prevent at-risk students in Fargo from receiving sex-ed. I’m not kidding. NDSU got a federal grant to partner up with PP to do some comprehensive sex ed in disadvantaged Fargo schools, and now that the first attempts at blocking that grant with already existing laws failed, they’re just making new ones to prevent this grant from being used in ND

  24. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Would there be any way to get a donors choose like thing to push for.more of this(or a planned parenthood initiative or.something.to.donate to? I don’t want to duplicate effort needlessly but it is disgusting to me that I never once heard the term enthusiastic consent in 18 years of education.)

  25. sonofrojblake says

    Who taught the kids that unconscious women are fair game?

    Taking this question as non-rhetorical: their biology teacher (assuming they got taught in school), possibly their parents, possibly their peers. Because sex ed. is, as has been repeatedly stated, most often “you put this thing in there and move it in and out and babies”, and there’s precious little mention of relationships, emotion or enjoyment, let alone consent.

    Also, consider the average child’s experience of life. Stuff happens to them without their enthusiastic consent all the time. Their parents and teachers require them to submit to stuff they don’t want to do every day of their lives. Is it any wonder their understanding of the concept of consent needs work? Especially when it concerns something that they’re repeatedly told is *fun* and that every magazine cover tells them is something women and men want more of.

  26. Forelle says

    Thanks, Pteryxx. Very interesting. The link to Kitzinger & Frith’s study is broken, but there are enough extracts. You will have seen that Cameron, language teacher in Oxford, also quotes and draws from this same research and adds to it. Well, I found it really meaningful back when it appeared.

    About the teaching of consent that sonofrojblake describes at 29, Ernst Hot has posted in the Thunderdome a link to a petition to make it mandatory in the US.

  27. Forelle says

    Well, describes is not the best word I could have used, or there is a lack missing. (I liked your explanation, sonofrojblake.)

  28. ButchKitties says

    What precious little education on consent that I do remember focused on “no means no” which unintentionally implied that consent is the default state, and a woman exists in that default state of consenting up until the moment she expressly and unequivocally revokes it. If she’s unable to give that revocation, well…

  29. says

    She’s not only highly religious, she says this in comments:

    I will teach in my home, and do give my students that my opinion that God designed sex for marriage and it is best to honor that design. I think that is why I love centering consent like this. “When will you be ready to give your yes?” That way can honor sex as special.

    Vomit. I’m glad she’s teaching her students about consent, but it sounds like a blind pig finding a truffle here.

  30. Minestuck says

    I like the idea of consent being part of a normal sex ed curriculum. Unfortunately, though, as others have said, sex ed wasn’t taught where I went to school and I don’t know if it’s taught now, years later. Sadly, I doubt it is since I live in Oklahoma and we’re pretty slow on the uptake of good ideas. I did have a bit of an interesting experience, though; my high school biology teacher was a very religious woman and on more than one occasional exclaimed that Almighty God chose to do biology this way yet she LOVED talking about sex. But… she loved talking about her sex life, not safe sex or anything remotely related to a proper sex education. If anything, she encouraged us to be open to the pleasures of lactation. In hindsight I wish she had attempted to drive the conversation from her sex life into something useful for 15-16 year old kids.

  31. The Other Lance says

    Countdown until some outraged parent of one of her students demands she be fired for teaching about this.