THE findings of the IPSOS survey are concerning regarding young people’s attitudes towards consent. However they are not surprising given the work we do and the experiences of the young people we support.
At Rape Crisis Scotland we recognise the importance of working with young people to address the values and attitudes which allow and perpetuate sexual violence.
In recognition of this we now have prevention workers in all 13 rape crisis centres across Scotland working with schools and youth groups to explore attitudes, equip young people with the skills and knowledge to change their responses and to challenge those around them.
One such project is the Rosey Project at Glasgow Rape Crisis.
Their experience of working with young people highlights that peer sexual abuse and sexual coercion are extremely prevalent, with young women and girls between 13 and 16 years of age often engaging in sexual activity that they do not want but feel unable to refuse. It is challenging work given the prevalence of misogynistic, pornographic and sexualised imagery in an online world which young people increasingly inhabit.
The pressure to consent is no longer confined to face- to-face relationships but exists 24/7 in mobile and online interactions.
We all have a responsibility in changing the culture they are growing up in.
Sexual violence is sometimes seen as a women’s issue, but this is an issue which should concern us all.
Freedom from abuse is everyone’s right.