4. Learn about sexual consent, gender and power

What’s wrong with this picture?

This picture is of a sailor kissing a nurse while celebrating the official end of World War II. This iconic image is now a 7.5-metre statue called Unconditional Surrender. The image is thought to be romantic and joyful. But this was not the experience of Greta Friedman, the woman in the picture. She said:

‘It wasn’t my choice to be kissed … The guy just came over and grabbed! … That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me … I did not see him approaching, and before I knew it, I was in this vice grip.’ You can read more here.

This shows how our culture often romanticises images and stories that are a problem in terms of gender, power and consent.

The #metoo and #timesup movements have created a lot of discussion about:

  • consent
  • how this relates to gender and power.

Adults and young people are responsible for understanding consent in their relationships and sex lives.

How does it help?

Sexual violence means sexual assault and/or threats. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that almost one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence from the age of 15.

Women risk sexual violence at home, in public and at work. Certain gender roles and stereotypes support unequal power between women and men. This includes the beliefs of some males that they have a right to:

  • sex with women
  • sexually dominate women
  • leave the responsibility for contraception to women.

Keep going!

  • Read about ‘enthusiastic consent’ before and during sex. Listen to this group of New York University students explore what this means to them.
  • Share information about healthy and respectful relationships with young people in your life. Here are some great places to start:

Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.