Sexual Assault Awareness month is an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of preventing sexual violence. Conversations with youth about healthy relationships and consent are imperative to preventing sexual violence and need to happen well before they’re thinking about sex.
Whether they find it on their own or are shown by a friend, most young people’s first encounter with sex is a form of pornography. The impact of pornography consumption on young people and their understanding of consent and boundaries is concerning. There is a risk that young people may be influenced by unrealistic and unhealthy sexual practices depicted in pornography, leading to a lack of empathy, and understanding of the importance of consent in sexual relationships.
The impact of early exposure to adult content on young people is compounded by the fact that many do not receive comprehensive sex education that includes lessons on healthy relationships and consent. This can lead to harmful situations where they may not understand that they need an enthusiastic agreement that is freely given and non-coerced.
To address these concerns, it is essential for parents, educators, and caregivers to have open and honest conversations with young people about healthy relationships, boundaries, and consent. Additionally, it is important to promote media literacy and critical thinking skills to help young people recognize and challenge harmful attitudes towards women and marginalized groups in the pornography industry. By providing youth with context for sexual consent, boundaries, reciprocity, empathy, and understanding; sexual assault IS preventable.
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