Having A Conversation About Consent

(File photo courtesy of © CanStockPhoto.com/airdone

Londoners are being urged to talk about consent and end the stigma surrounding sexual assault.

It is estimated that one in three Canadian women will be sexually assaulted. However, just 236 sexual assaults were reported to London police in 2014.

May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“We see in advertising the objectification of women or womens’ bodies used to sell products. So there are messages that come out that don’t necessarily condone sexual violence, but the messages are there,” says Leah Marshall, a masters of social work student currently working at St. Joseph’s Health Care. “The culture of consent is one that is recognized as voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, non-coerced, continual , active and honest. We are hoping that we can start a conversation about what consent is and people can start talking about what constitutes as consent.”

Earlier this year, the province released an action plan to combat sexual violence and harassment. It outlines a road map for ongoing work to put an end to the issue in Ontario.

The province’s new sexual education curriculum also teaches grade school students what consent is.