The word consent in its noun form is defined as “Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”.
It has its origins in Middle English: from Old French ‘consente’ (noun), ‘consentir’ (verb), from Latin ‘consentire’, from con- ‘together’ + ‘sentire’ ‘feel’. (Source – The Oxford Dictionary)
Like any other developing nation in the world, let’s look at how Kenya has tackled their horrifying rape issue. Till recently, the situation was so grave and bleak that one in four women was a victim of rape. And the perpetrators were, more often than not, friends, boyfriends, or acquaintances.
Does this sound familiar? Don’t we all read similar stories in the newspapers and hear stories on the news channels in India? Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in our country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim (98% of the cases). (Source – Wikipedia)
Consent Classes: We need them in India too
One reason for rape in Kenya, according to No Means No Worldwide (NMNW), a rape prevention organization, is that many schoolboys used to think molestation and rape were justifiable if girls and women wore miniskirts, were out alone at night, or were taken out on expensive dates. We can agree that this is the same way it works in India as well. And it’s not just schoolboys that think that way but boyfriends and other male family members too. Why else would we be reading and hearing tales of rape horror almost every day?
However, things in the Kenyan capital Nairobi have changed. Cases of rape have dropped by 50 percent in certain areas. Young boys have started to intervene when witnessing an assault, and women have been able to protect themselves from rape in many cases. How did this sudden change come about?
This video below will shed some light on this.
An amazing and commendable effort to prevent rape
NMNW, founded by Lee Paiva, designed and piloted a violence prevention and intervention system called IMpower, whose aim was to educate young people in order to create gender equity and respect.
They started “consent classes” in school as depicted in the video, which taught schoolgirls self-defense – physical and emotional – and schoolboys, positive masculinity and standing up for women, using a programme named Your Moment of Truth (video here).
The six-course programme is soon going to be implemented in all high schools in Nairobi and is being taken around the world.
Indian school students and our citizens, in general, would certainly benefit from such a course. Given the size of our country and the population, it will definitely be a task. But it would certainly be very worth it in the long run if rape becomes a thing of the past. Consent in anything is important and if young girls and women are being attacked for sexual intercourse, that’s definitely not right and the most horrifying situation to put them in.
The videos below show concrete proof of progress. In them, young girls and boys in Kenya describe how they were able to prevent rape after the programme.
Right now Goa has just been declared as one of the safest places for women but that could change at any time without any warning.
Let’s hope and pray that ‘Consent Classes’ reach Indian shores at the earliest and are properly implemented in as many schools as possible as part of the curriculum, as well as in community centers in neighborhoods. It’s not enough for a woman to know self-defense. Why should she have to stereotypically use her fists when she could use her words?
Source – No Means No Worldwide