VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A sexual education contractor says the case of a Stanford University student who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster is an example of why students need to be taught about consent. But the founder of Safeteen.ca says there is no mention of it in BC’s new school curriculum.
Anita Roberts is often hired to come into school to talk about sexual topics and consent is always one of them. Her group is brought in by the Surrey School District for example. She says kids are often surprised by what she has to say.
“The legalities for instance. If a person is incapable of giving consent, they’ve been drinking, it’s illegal. There is no consent if they’ve been drinking at all or taking any altering substance. They quite often don’t know the age of consent… That’s quite shocking people don’t often know that.”
Roberts is concerned some BC students may be going without in-depth instruction on consent. She says one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime which is completely unacceptable. Roberts wonders with the BC government focus on preventing campus assaults, why consent isn’t a cornerstone of the health curriculum.
“If we don’t teach young women and young men and even little girls and little girls and little boys how to say ‘no’ and how to respect ‘no’ how can we be so surprised when there are all these sexual assaults happening? A lot of people out there are committing rape and they don’t know it’s rape. A lot of girls are getting sexually assaulted and they don’t identify it that way.”
She calls this is a public safety issue and wants the province to make sure all students get this education. Roberts says Ontario is putting the issue front and centre.
“Ontario is the first province to implement consent, to put it right into curriculum and they’re rolling that out from starting in Grade 2, which is fantastic, with the seven-year-olds. That’s starting in the fall of 2016, so this fall. BC has not made that move.”
There is nothing stopping a school district from bringing in a group like Safeteen.ca to talk about consent and several local ones do. The Ministry of Education says in a statement:
“Teachers have the ability to incorporate discussions about consent when they are discussing concepts related to sexuality at various points while teaching the new curriculum.”
The new curriculum is built around a set of core competencies, including the competencies of Personal Awareness and Responsibility and Social Responsibility. These competencies promote the development of concepts like respectful behaviours, positive relationships, and inclusivity across the curriculum.”