Charles McVety is a Canadian Christian advocate, and he's pretty worked up about Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s decision to teach first graders about consent as part of the revised sexual education curriculum in Ontario schools.
McVety says, "Though we applaud Kathleen Wynne’s plan to teach children to say no to sex, we abhor the premier announcing that Ontario’s teachers will be forced to teach little children how to give permission for that child to engage in sex,” McVety said. “I don’t think it is legal to advise a child before the age of sixteen on how to give sexual consent.”
Why You Need To Think About Sexual Consent Like Visiting A Friend's House
McVety gets a lot of things wrong in this very short statement. No laws are being broken. And it’s unlikely Ontario’s six year-olds are going to be sitting around singing “say ‘yes’ to sex” during their circle time.
What we have a chance to do with this new curriculum is to lay a basic foundation that younger children can build on as they grow older and develop sexually. Not only is consent key to positive sexuality, it’s key to being a respectful human being. We can talk to kids about the fact that their bodies belong to them. We can help them develop awareness of how different touches make them feel, both physically and emotionally. We can tell them that if they want to jump on someone’s back or play fight or share a big hug, they need to ask. We can teach them that they need to respect the non-verbal ways people say no to no things, like pulling away or making a sad face. We can teach them that they have a right to make choices about their body and to respect that everyone else has that same right.
Teaching Kids "No Means No" Needs To Start Younger Than You Think
Teaching the fundamentals of consent while children are young is laying groundwork. Then when they’re in later grades, applying these basic rules to sexual interactions becomes an extension of those early lessons.
I believe consent is something that families, schools, and our communities should be teaching all children. In fact, if you want some tips on how to talk to your own kids about consent at home, I’m giving a free mini-workshop on February 10th at 9 p.m. EST on Google Hangout. So throw on some PJ pants, hop online and learn how to put the “fun” back in “FUNdamental principle of positive sexuality!”