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Teaching Teens About Consent Is Tough

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Planned Parenthood of New York City has a new anti-rape campaign partially produced by youth themselves.

Teenagers who use utilize services at Planned Parenthood of New York City — many of whom identify as LGBT —were recently asked what kind of messaging about consent works for them.

Their reaction? Very few.

According to the teens, campaigns that promote sexual consent were either judgmental, shaming, or condescending.

"You can't create a one size fits all way to ask for consent," one of them said, according to Planned Parenthood, "because it's going to be different for everyone."

The group of teens went on to discuss how the typical "Can I touch you?" trope can take many forms. This concept has become a joke to some, with some students mockingly asking each other if they can touch them while brushing dandruff from their shoulder.  

"When you see a video that tries to tell you to talk to people you're about to have sex with in a very specific way, it's often at odds with your mind's perception of that person in your mind, and that's not me," one youth stated to the organization.

Planned Parenthood of NYC then asked the kids to help create their new public service announcement on consent and sexual agency. The teens who participated and produced the PSA depicted the various ways they might ask for consent. Showing a variety of approaches is effective because the main message isn't, "Ask this way," it's simply, "Ask."

Watch the many ways they ask for consent in the video below.

The campaign was produced by PPNYC in conjunction with Connected Health Solutions.

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Savas Abadsidis

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Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.