How to put on a condom; what syphilis looks like under a microscope; when and where it’s okay to touch your junk. All fair game in sex-ed.
What it means to give and receive consent? Apparently not so critical to the curriculum.
Eleven people reported cases of sexual assault at the University of New Brunswick between 2009 and 2013, according to an investigation released by the CBC last week.
Considering the statistics that tell us one in three Canadian women and one in six Canadian men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, it is crucial we realize that these new numbers are indicative of nothing except our society’s desperate need to start talking about sexual assault way more and way earlier if we have any hope of fostering a positive reporting culture on university campuses.
At a recent nationwide student journalism conference in Ottawa at which the Brunswickan was present, approximately 20 out of 300 attendees raised their hands when asked during a panel on sexual assault whether they had been taught consent in middle and high school sex-ed.
These students, only a tiny fraction of the thousands on post-secondary campuses across the country, are the same ones filling bars, dance floors and the Tinder-verse with an inevitably hazy understanding of what constitutes sexual assault or proper consent, let alone how to go about reporting it — a problem intensified by the fact that UNB still doesn’t have its own formal sexual assault policy.
The best time to start talking about consent was yesterday. The second best time is right now.