Consent. We've heard the word used umpteen times on just about any media platform in recent years. As sexual assault and harassment rates reach an all-time high on college campuses, activists are more determined than ever to educate the masses about consent and its defining role in rape culture. But for some individuals, this issue has apparently been a difficult concept to wrap their heads around. This begs the question: in consent education, who is responsible for doing the teaching?
The answer is simple. Everyone with adequate knowledge of the concept, from parents to friends, should be an educator of such an important notion. But although it is true that everyone has the ability to shed light on the concept, the government and students alike, however, have put a little more weight on the duty of schools to educate.
Consent education is a responsibility the majority of educational institutions have taken on without complaint. A wide range of informative efforts like discussions and events have been employed for the purposes of erasing the toxic parts of college culture that perpetuate rape - and, by extension, creating a culture of consent. Yet many students still feel like their schools aren't putting their best foot forward.
In terms of funding, colleges have drastically increased spending to combat sexual assault on campus. These funds predominantly went to staffing, rather than the formulation of programs intended for sexual health education. Nevertheless, the quality of education schools currently provide is lacking, says students. Some report that the topic of sexual assault, despite its pervasiveness and relevancy on campuses, is still treated with delicacy. And although freshman orientation touches base with consent, sexual health, and other relevant topics, they're briefly and awkwardly skimmed over.
As of now, students are getting most of their information about sexual health from counterparts and personal experience. A reality that many find particularly disappointing because colleges and universities - education institutions meant to spearhead teaching about cultural changes and critical examination - shouldn't drag their feet on these issues. The alarming number of investigations of institutions for mishandling sexual misconduct matters, however, indicates otherwise.
Knowledge is power. Perhaps once real and thorough dialogue is dedicated to consent education in schools, we'll see a larger shift in campus culture, and consequently, a decrease in campus sexual assault rates.
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