A campaign has been launched to raise awareness and understanding of sexual consent.
The campaign, which has been developed by Oxford Safer Communities Partnership at Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Probation, and Oxford Sexual Assault & Rape Crisis Centre, aims to encourage young people to explicitly ask for consent with all sexual encounters.
In addition it provides a greater understanding of what sexual consent means, what is illegal and that everyone has the right to say no and this should be respected.
Liz Jones, Domestic & Sexual Abuse Coordinator at Oxford City Council, says: “We want to get males and females, to think and talk about sexual consent. Asking for consent should be a normal part of any sexual relationship. Often it is implied which may lead to misinterpretation. We are encouraging young people to actively ask and check that the other person is okay and comfortable with any sexual activity.”
Rowan Honeysett-Williams, aged 18 years, says: “Sexual consent is an incredibly complex part of any relationship as there are blurred lines and people are heavily influenced by the media and what their peers are saying, which may lead to misconceptions of what sexual consent really is.
“There needs to be clarity and understanding. The younger generation drink more, party, push themselves to the limit which usually goes hand in hand with sexual encounters, so it is important to know that being under the influence of drugs/alcohol can have a significant impact on their ability to obtain and give consent.
“As a young person it is confusing as you are only just entering into these types of relationships, with little experience of asking for consent or how you treat your partner. A campaign on this topic is important so those who do not have a clear idea can find out what consent is and how, on a basic level, to treat their partners respectfully.”
A dedicated website has been set up and will go live on Monday 16 September 2013 – www.checkconsent.com. It has information and a video which shows how a couple could obtain sexual consent. There will be a question and answer section on the website as well as adverts placed on social media sites to help inform young people.
Posters will be displayed in a variety of areas including bus stops, student unions, pubs and clubs. Beer mats will be in pubs and bars. The campaign will run until mid-November across the Thames Valley.