One of 3 Utah women will experience some type of sexual assault in her life, but lawmakers have turned the legislation down to teach potential victims how to protect themselves – or potential offenders through consent.
“The misunderstanding we have here is that there are the monster perpetrators who are manipulative and obnoxious, but there are also these unintentional, frankly ignorant, perpetrators who just need a little education to understand that they have to ask . ” Is it okay if i kiss you ‘or “Is it okay if I do X, Y, or Z first?” said Alan Buys, an attorney for the victim, during a committee hearing.
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The bill didn’t make it out of the House Education Committee, with objections ranging from defining consent to whether such education promoted sex. Others believed that current standards provided adequate sex education for students in Utah whose parents or guardians must provide written permission for a student to participate in any form of sex education.
“If you agree, tell them if you want to, it’s okay,” argued Gayle Ruzicka, a conservative political activist, talk radio host and director of the Utah Eagle Forum.
Sexual activity – even consensual – is between minors legally punishable in Utah with penalties ranging from fines to jail, depending on the age of the participants. But minors still have sex, and while the state has one of the lowest teen birth rates, it also has one of the highest sexually transmitted disease rates among teenagers.
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“Consent is not about sexual activity. Consent means agreeing to behaviors within your own personal limits and setting the level of comfort. Teaching students about consent can help keep them safe from predators or sexual abuse, but it can also be about simpler things, such as: Like playing a game or wanting to be hugged by a classmate, ”said state lawmaker Carol Spackman Moss, who sponsored the Bill and is a former English teacher herself.
The legislation would have asked Schools that teach consent, sexual violence prevention, and resource strategies for sexual assault in health education for at least one hour per year from seventh through twelfth grade. Instead, the focus remains on “rejection skills” or the no.
“It’s not that people who are sexually assaulted don’t say no,” said Dan Rice, Answer executive director. said the guardand argue that this framework blames the victims. “The perpetrator does what he does because he doesn’t hear the no, he doesn’t accept the no.”
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