Cody Hafer- Prevention Program Specialist
This April marks the 20th anniversary of the observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which is a historic feat! While the movement of sexual assault prevention has endured much longer than 20 years, it is has only been recognized with an annual, month-long observance since the early 2000’s. To learn more about the history of SAAM and the movement, click here.
In the spirit of SAAM, we want to explore the question, “how do we prevent sexual assault?” While there are many theories and practices that are talked about and shared, we know it’s always important to talk about sexual consent! The more we can saturate our community’s understanding of what consent ACTUALLY is, the better. In the prevention program, we find it helpful to use a nifty acronym and graphic (created by Planned Parenthood) to teach and talk about consent – it’s called FRIES!
So what do these five words actually mean?!
Freely given = consent that is not coerced or forced; we should all be able to give our consent free of pressure and/or guilt
Reversible = every person has the right to change their mind and say no, at any point; if no is not an option it’s not consensual
Informed = everyone should be fully informed about what they’re consenting to, this includes birth control and condom usage, as well as STI and testing status
Enthusiastic = we all deserve enthusiastic consent from a partner(s) as well as pleasurable experiences; if enthusiasm is lacking it’s probably not the right time and won’t be mutually enjoyable, which is no fun
Specific = it’s crucial to talk about boundaries and interests before engaging in sexual behaviors; the more specific we can be about what we’re into and not into, the better
It is SO important to talk about consent because it is the foundation of mutually enjoyable and violence-free sexual experiences. We can all teach someone in our lives about consent, and how to seek it before engaging in sexual behaviors. We must remember that people often feel very validated and respected when asked for consent, which is very sexy!
To learn more about FRIES, check out weekly video posts from the WCA Youth REPs each Thursday this month (April) on all the WCA social media platforms!
If you’d like to learn more about other ways we can all work together to prevent sexual violence, click on the link below.
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