Do You Understand Consent?

With all the powerful conversations about sexual assault and harassment the #MeToo has sparked, you'd think people would understand consent by now.

Turns out, the talk has caused confusion about what consent really is.

A study from the Canadian Women's Foundation has found that the number of Canadian's understanding of consent has decreased.

Roughly 28 per cent of Canadians polled say they fully understood consent versus 33 per cent back in 2015.

The survey also revealed that 50 per cent women in Canada have felt pressured to consent to unwanted sexual activity.

So, clearly there's a critical need for more education.

#MeToo has opened up a channel for people to share their experiences, and the conversations have certainly touched on consent,” says Paulette Senior, president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

How to give and get consent is the most important next step for the movement. And, 44 per cent of Canadians agree.

But how can we improve?

"Educating people in their teen years is key to instilling healthy relationship habits and skills," says Anuradha Dugal, director of community initiatives and policy at the Canadian Women's Foundation.

"The Canadian Women's Foundation funds programs across Canada that help teens understand consent, identify the warning signs of abuse, and cultivate healthy positive, stable relationships, but we're only able to fund a small percentage. These programs need to be accessible to every young person across Canada."

Each May, the foundation runs a Campaign to End Violence to raise awareness about gender-based violence and funds for violence prevention programs and 450 emergency shelters across Canada.

The core motive of such services and campaigns is to end the cycle of violence and ensure that survivors have support to rebuild their lives.

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