Let's talk about sex ... and consent | Amy Johnson

Since it is “Let’s Talk!” Month (Family Sexuality Education Month), let’s revisit the topic of consent, especially for teens.

Teen violence in relationships is epidemic, with 20 percent (1 in 5) female high school students reporting being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

Many teens do not report sexual assault. Too many young men and women think they did something to deserve it, or they contributed to it happening, or they are ashamed that it happened to them. Perpetrators often have thinking errors regarding the consent of the victim. This is especially true in teen dating violence scenarios.

So let’s review, everyone.

Being in a relationship is not consent.

“We’ve had sex before” is not consent.

Consent to one act is not consent to all acts.

If they say “yes” and change their mind, it’s not consent.

If they aren’t sober, they can't consent.

The absence of “no” is not consent.

Flirting is not consent.

Silence is not consent.

If you have to convince them, it’s not consent.

If they don’t feel free to say “no,” it’s not consent.

Only an informed, sober, freely-given, ongoing, enthusiastic “Yes!” is consent.

(These words, on posters, are attributed several places online to being created by students at the New College of Florida.)

Help continuing to educate our youth and young adults by spreading these messages loud and clear. One really great resource to help you get started in your family or group of youth is the website This site was put together with the help of youth who have been sexually assaulted, under the premise that one talk is not enough to help youth stay safer. It takes at least 100 conversations.

Take this opportunity to get talking today.


If you have been assaulted, contact King County Sexual Assault Resource Center at (888) 998-6423).

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, visit or call the helpline at (425) 746-1940. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.


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