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9 Tips for Cultivating Enthusiastic Consent

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During their assembly on November 28, Senior School students participated in a Consent Performance presented by Tanille Geib and Nick Sandor. The idea for this assembly came from the newly formed Mental Health Committee, a group that has been meeting regularly to brainstorm ways to improve mental health and wellness in our community. The issue of consent has really been pushed to the forefront of public awareness over the last year and students felt our community would really benefit from more education. Tanille and Nick helped students explore the nuances of consent. Their goal was to encourage a healthier way of expressing boundaries and desires as well as providing some skills and tools on how to cultivate a more caring culture within the school and the larger community. They shared these nine tips for cultivating enthusiastic consent:

  1. Understand your own desires and clearly communicate them.
  2. Ask others about their desires and identify mutual wants.
  3. If you are the initiator, it is your responsibility to establish consent. Know that different activities might have different initiators.
  4. Learn how to receive “no” gracefully and process disappointment elsewhere.
  5. Be aware of potential power dynamics and how they affect someone’s ability and comfort to say “no.”
  6. Do not use head games or manipulation.
  7. Be honest.
  8. If it isn’t a verbal, emotional and physical “heck yes!”, then it’s a “no.”
  9. Make sure folks are coherent and can clearly communicate.
  10. Consent is ongoing, requires check-ins and can be revoked at any time.

Consent is an important component of any healthy relationship whether between parents and their children, teachers and students, close friends, or romantic partners. Hopefully students gained some valuable insights from this presentation that will help them make meaningful connections in their lives. We will continue to engage these important topics as a community and want to encourage parents/caregivers to watch the video of the assembly so we can all work together to promote a culture of consent in our day-to-day lives. Tanille Geib has been working in schools and extended communities of Victoria for over three years with a focus on healthy relationships, sexuality, and particularly consent. Tanille has connected with over 2000 youth and 3000 community members to inspire a more fulfilling consent culture for us all! Nick Sandor is a sex health educator with Island Sexual Health and program developer and facilitator for Man Made. Nick is passionate about exploring education as an opportunity to encourage gender affirming practices through developing the skills required for wellness and community building. This assembly was not livestreamed, but was recorded to share with parents. Tanille and Nick will return in the new year to speak to parents and in the spring to Middle School students.