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Jane Straub, Victim Assistance Specialist, Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
Teaching consent is more than talking about sex. From "just say no" to "affirmative consent" we've begun the conversation but have left out the youngest population. Young children can learn about giving and receiving permission to touch, hug or kiss another person and permission to use or play with another's toys. They can start to understand they have control of their own body. We can teach them about body boundaries. Teaching and responding to "no", "stop" or "take a break" are simple concepts for children to understand. Knowing medically/anatomically correct body parts is imperative in child abuse investigations. Having a child who also understands consent, that they have the right to say "no" to touches, and can tell a trusted adult if someone breaks a safety rule are steps toward prevention. As children grow, lessons evolve to incorporate consent for sexual activity. Understanding the need to give and receive permission is crucial in preventing sexual violence. Children deserve to be empowered with knowledge, language and actions. From least resistant to creating barriers for offenders. Developmentally appropriate language and actions used.