Consent in sex education is nonnegotiable


The Appalachian Online

Lauren Burrows

The idea of consent is rarely taught in today’s sex education, leaving the youth uninformed and therefore irresponsible and unprotected.

Only 22 states in the U.S. require sex ed to be taught in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Living in one of the “most progressive” nations in the world, you would think sex ed would be held to a high enough standard to be taught in more of our nation’s schools.

Including other states that do not mandate sex education, 35 states allow parents to opt out of sex ed for their children, according to NCSL.

Students who are subjected to sex education, however, still have very little knowledge on consent and what it entails.

Consent isn’t that big of a deal, anyway, is it?

One in four college women have reported surviving rape or attempted rape, according to One in Four USA. The idea of consent needs to be more prevalent throughout the upcoming generation than it is in ours, starting with sex education.

“The problem with rape culture is that consent is negated, and it’s not on the map,” said Shannon Salisbury, a sex educator in Ontario, according to “So why don’t we shift the lens, so how we’re talking about rape culture is through consent?”

There is no way to draw a line between sex and rape culture without introducing consent. They are unfortunately very intertwined.

According to Reuters, a school in Nairobi, Kenya, began teaching their students the importance of consent through a program called “Your Moment of Truth.” Rape in schools where “Your Moment of Truth” was taught dropped by 20 percent, according to researchers.

“You can stand up and say: ‘No. This man is doing something wrong.’ Out of that, many other people will join hands with you,” Collins Omondi, a leader in the program, said to Reuters.

Where is the U.S. in this type of teaching? Surely not in our sex education.

The Appalachian State University Office of the Dean of Students and OASIS have been demonstrating the magnitude of sexual assault and rape on campus through the Red Flag Campaign, showing consent as a solution to the rising rape statistic.

Imagine what change could happen if students were introduced to consent at an earlier age rather than in their college years. Imagine how many students could have been protected.

Burrows, a freshman journalism major from Mint Hill, is an opinion writer.

Column: Lauren Burrows, Opinion Writer