Target: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Goal: Support the inclusion of consent and healthy relationships in public school sex education.
Two U.S. senators are pushing to include the topics of consent, sexual assault, and healthy sexual relationships into public high school sex education curricula across the country. Inspired by the recent discussions about the massive sexual assault problem on U.S. college campus, they aim to stop the problem at the source by having schools teach teenagers about the importance of consent and how to forge healthy sexual relationships.
Though it’s helpful to teach kids about the basics of sexual functioning, reproduction, and STDs, it’s ridiculous that the topics of consent and abuse have been so widely left out of classroom discussions in sex ed. Lack of understanding about consent is what has led to widespread myths that cause rape, including the idea that an absence of a no is a yes or that consent cannot be withdrawn once given. Simple explanations about the importance of continuous and affirmative consent could spare many thousands of college students from the extreme trauma of rape.
This bill would also require high school sex ed classes to discuss relationship violence and domestic abuse. Violence in young relationships has been shown to be much more widespread than most people would ever guess, yet most domestic violence campaigns target adults only. Teaching kids about this issue will help to stop the cycle of violent relationships early on.
The best way to address a problem is to get at the source, and often that source is a lack of education. Teaching young people about consent and domestic abuse will give them the tools they need to approach relationships and sexual encounters in a safe, healthy manner and to spot warning signs. Legislation like this could save millions of young adults from abuse, rape, or even death. Urge the House Minority Leader to put her full support behind this bill and help get it passed.
Dear Minority Leader Pelosi,
Two senators have introduced a bill that will require schools to include the topics of consent, sexual assault, relationships and domestic violence in their sex education curricula. This would be a huge boon in the fight against the mass amounts of sexual assault that occur across the U.S. and especially on our college campuses, as well as against the continuing epidemic of domestic abuse.
One in five women who attend a four-year college can expect to suffer rape or attempted rape during this time, and many teenagers experience violence in their young relationships. Both of these problems are unacceptable, yet little has been done over the years to effectively combat them. Teaching high school students about consent and mutual respect in relationships can stop these issues before they begin.
I urge you to support the bill proposed by Senators Claire McCaskill and Tim Kaine for the sake of our nation’s young people, especially the young women who suffer disproportionately from sexual assault and domestic violence. It’s past time to take real action to solve these problems, and education is almost always an effective solution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Daniel X. O’Neil via Flickr