4. Learn about sexual consent, gender and power

What’s wrong with this picture?

This famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse while celebrating the official end of the second world war is now iconic. In fact, the image has been recreated in the form of seven and a half metre tall statue called Unconditional Surrender. The image is generally considered to be romantic and joyful. However, this was not the experience of Greta Friedman, the woman in the picture, who later 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 is a strong example of how our culture often romanticises images and stories that are problematic, in terms of gender, power and consent.

The #metoo and #timesup movements have created a lot of discussion about consent and how this relates to gender and power.

All adults and young people are responsible for ensuring that we understand what consent entails in our relationships and sex lives.

However, our culture often romanticises images and stories that are problematic, in terms of gender, power and consent.

  • Read this short article to learn more about sexual consent, gender and power.
  • Then watch this simple three‑minute clip which explains sexual consent by comparing it to asking someone for a cup of tea.

How does it help?

In Australia almost 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence (sexual assault and/or threats) since the age of 15 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

Women are at risk of sexual violence in their homes, in public, and in their workplaces. Many gender roles and stereotypes support unequal power between women and men, including notions of male sexual entitlement and conquest over women (and responsibility for contraception being placed on women).

Promoting understanding of sexual consent therefore helps prevent violence against women and promote gender equality.

Keep going!

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.