Dr Tim Hawkes, ambassador of the Fathering Project, educator and author sits down to discuss an incredibly important but often times, challenging topic of conversation; sexual consent.
As a father and father-figure, it’s your role to ensure your children are informed about issues regarding sexual consent and to have the conversation as often as possible to normalise the discussion about the topic.
Highlighting the current ongoing issue around teens and sexual assault, Tim says “We need to be outraged as fathers to the extent that we don’t allow these things to happen“.
Tim explains the importance of talking to your children and teens about the various ways consent can be conveyed, not only verbally but non-verbally. Understanding body language and non-verbal ques. What was once a ‘yes’, on one occasion, can be a ‘no’ on a different one, and that’s ok.
Issues to address with your children when talking about consent
- Consent should be; freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific (consent is specific to a particular act).
- Consent must be given clearly – for example, silence is not consent, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is not consent.
- You have every right over your body and to set boundaries.
- Talk to your children about ‘grey zone’ sex.
- Educate them about making the right choices. The importance of mixing with the right group of people and ensue they look out for each other.
- Discuss drink spiking and ‘safe’ levels of drinking, for example the dangers of pre-loading.
- Talk to your children about consent in an age appropriate way as early as possible. For example, teach your toddlers to ask if it’s ok first to use another child’s toy.
Tim has also written some great books, one including 10 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son.
If you or someone you know needs help, support or advice, there are many services available.