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Teaching Kids About Sexual Consent Is a Delicate Process


Planned Parenthood of New York City has a new anti-rape campaign partially produced by youth themselves.

Teenagers who use utilize services at Planned Parenthood of New York City -- many of whom identify as LGBT --were recently asked what kind of messaging about consent works for them.

Their reaction? Very few.

According to the teens, campaigns that promote sexual consent were either judgmental, shaming, or condescending.

The sentiment overall is you can't create a one size fits all way to ask for consent, because it's going to be different for everyone.

Planned Parenthood of NYC then asked the kids to help create their new public service announcement on consent and sexual agency. The teens who participated and produced the PSA depicted the various ways they might ask for consent. Showing a variety of approaches is effective because the main message isn't, "Ask this way," it's simply, "Ask."

"Teaching young people like me and my friends about consent is crucial right now with the rise of #MeToo and more open conversations about sexual violence in our culture," said Mariama Sillah, a PPNYC Youth Health Promoter. "Young people need and have a right to be equipped with the tools to navigate sexuality in a healthy and empowering way. I'm proud to be part of this campaign that aims to support and educate NYC youth."

"Everyone deserves a healthy, safe, and pleasurable sex life, and that starts with educating young people about open, honest communication surrounding consent," said Louise Marchena, Senior Director of Youth Programs at Planned Parenthood of New York City. "In this pivotal moment of the #MeToo movement, Planned Parenthood of New York City is proud to present this educational campaign that aims to provide young people with the skills they need to have a healthy relationship and to demystify asking for and confirming consent."

According to a release accompanying the campaign, Planned Parenthood says: Comprehensive sex education, which includes information on consent and communication, is integral to combating sexual violence in our communities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 5 women in the United States and 1 in 71 men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. In New York City, rape crisis centers see about 14,000 survivors per year, and many other survivors choose to never report their assault out of shame or fear.

Watch the many ways they ask for consent in the video below.

The campaign was produced by PPNYC in conjunction with Connected Health Solutions.

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