“Send This Instead”

A few weeks ago on my way to work – I was listening to Ontario Morning on the CBC as I usually do. I heard Scott Naylor from the Ontario Provincial Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation unit talking about the app “Send This Instead” which was developed by the OPP to help deter young people from sending nude pictures to each other; because ultimately in  a lot of cases these pictures are shared with other people without the senders consent.

 

He said “the idea is that young people who are feeling pressured into sending nude photo’s can defuse the situation with a touch of humour”.

I was intrigued. So I downloaded the app. This is what I found

Send This Instead 1

This is the main page of the app. You can click on “The Gallery” which includes a selection of what they call “postcards”. You can click on any postcard and have the option to open in it a text, and of course send it!

Here are a few that I found funny..

Send This Instead 5Send This Instead 4Send This Instead 3Send This Instead 2

You’ll notice on the main page of the app there are some other options..

In the “Respond” section you can actually submit your own postcard ideas and pictures! Kind of cool..

In the “Life Bytes” section there is a bit of a Q&A around consent which might be helpful.

In the “NeedHelpNow.ca” section it links you to the Need Help Now website which has a tonne of extra resources and supports geared towards youth. Check it out.

SO. Overall – easy to use app. I think it’s a good tool for anyone who feels pressured and not sure how to respond to requests for nude pictures. I know this happens all the time.

Of course the bigger question is how do we teach teens not to sexually exploit each other using technology and the underlying reasons around peer to peer sexual harassment. But as a prevention tool, I’m all for Send This Instead!!


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Common Myths About Sexual Assault

On the heels of my last post about sexual assault and consent, I thought I’d take some time to respond to and confront some of the most common myths I hear about sexual assault!

1. “Women ask to be sexually assaulted based on the way they dress”

This is one of the most common and damaging myths about sexual assault. No one ever asks to be sexually assaulted. No one asks to be hurt. It’s never a victim’s responsibility to prevent a sexual assault. How many times have we heard someone say “well she asked for it”?

Consent

2. Most women lie about sexual assault

Actually, sexual assault is the most UNDERREPORTED crime in Canada – meaning it happens a whole lot more than it is ever reported. Most sexual assaults are never reported to the police.

Sexual Assault Statistics

3. Saying “no” is the only way to deny sexual advances.

Wrong. The absence of no is not consent. The law is pretty clear; without a “yes” it’s sexual assault.  Remember, YES MEANS YES!

4. People are usually sexually assaulted by strangers

Nope. 80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim; usually someone they trust.

5. She had a few drinks, but she still said yes.

You can’t give consent under the influence. If you think someone’s interested – wait until tomorrow. Wait until they’re sober. Then you’ll know for sure.

Here’s a short video a couple of pretty awesome kids made. I think it sends a pretty powerful message.


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Sexual Assault and Consent

Ok here we go.. sexual assault and consent. Where to start?! I have so much to say, share and post about these topics. But we might as well start with the basics. What is sexual assault? What is consent – what does it look like? Why does it matter?

Statistically speaking if you’re between the ages of 15 to 24 you’re in an age bracket that exposes you to the most risk of being sexually assaulted.

If you’re reading this blog, you likely fall within that age bracket, have kids that do or work with kids who are between these ages. So listen up!

The legal definition of sexual assault in Canada includes:

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual activity forced on one person by another.  Sexual assault occurs whenever a person does not want to have sex but is forced into the act, regardless of previous consensual sexual relations. Sexual assault occurs in the absence of consent.

So let’s break that down a bit.

“unwanted sexual activity” = touching, grabbing, kissing, fondling, oral sex, intercourse. Everything and anything people!

“regardless of previous consensual sexual relations” = if you’re in a relationship consent is NOT automatic. Sex should never be expected in a relationship – it should always be a conversation. You should take time to talk with your partner about what they do not feel comfortable with. This also means consent cannot be assumed even if you’ve had consensual sex with that person in the past. Consent should still be gained each and every time.

So – if sexual assault is any unwanted sexual activity that occurs in the absence of consent.. what on earth is consent?

I think we have all heard the phrase “no means no”. Ya, great – that’s true. But consent is more than just saying no. It’s saying YES! It’s enthusiastic and informed. It’s ongoing. It can be revoked at ANY TIME. It is voluntary – never coerced. You should never feel like you’re convincing someone to get with you.

I think the act of gaining consent is a skill. It can be an uncomfortable conversation for kids to have – but it’s super important. I sometimes use the analogy of taking a drivers ed class. They don’t just teach you how not to crash your car in drivers ed, right? They teach you how to respect the rules of the road, to navigate traffic safely and to avoid a collision. They teach you to be better drivers. Learning how to gain consent works the same way. It’s preventative.

In true OPJAZZCHAT fashion here’s a video I came across a few amazing women talking about what they wish they would have known about sexual assault and consent in high school.

I couldn’t embed the video right onto the blog so you’ll have to click on the link below to view it. Take a look!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/22/college-domestic-violence-survivors-huffpost-live_n_6029304.html

 


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Expect Respect!

As you can probably tell by now I love posting videos on these blogs – especially when they involve the voices of young people; and personally I LOVE this one. This video is about expecting respect. Watch it and ask yourself if you have the courage to expect respect. Could you say the things that the teens in this video say to your partner, a potential partner or your friends?

Keep in mind these are US stats at the beginning of the video, however they probably represent similar statistics to what Canadian teens face in terms of dating violence. Are you 1 in 3 teens who is experiencing physical, verbal, mental and or sexual violence with a dating partner? Of those experiencing violence, 2 of 3 teens won’t ask for help. #asksomeone

Respect me

Respect my mind

Respect my body

Respect my spirit

I don’t need your flowers

I don’t need your gifts

I need your respect

I need your patience

I need you to think

I need you to trust me

He’s just a friend

She’s just my friend

Your jealousy’s unnecessary

Your insecurities are about you, not me

Let’s think before we argue

Think before you speak

Think before you call or text me

I’m not a bitch

I’m not a slut

Your words hurt

Texting it and saying it is the same thing

If I say no, it’s because I mean it

It’s because I’m not ready

It’s because no means no

Think before you touch me

This is my body, not yours

I’m not your punching bag

Don’t ever yell at me

Don’t ever corner me

Don’t ever grab me

Don’t ever push me

Don’t ever slap me

Whether it’s physical or verbal, it’s abuse

There is no reason to ever raise your hand at me

Back up and cool off

And think about it

Don’t apologize

If you can’t change, this won’t work

I’m not going to wait for you to change

One time is enough

One time is too much

One more time won’t happen

Your behaviour is a sickness

You need help

I can’t be your cure

I care about you enough to know that it’s not safe for us to be together

Ask for help

There are others like you

Respect yourself

Heal yourself

Learn from your mistakes

Find your cure


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Power and Control vs. Equality

So why does anyone have relationships?! What do we need them for? Healthy relationships are important. Human interaction is a basic need. Having a partner you can trust, communicate with, count on, laugh with, feel emotionally and physically safe with is what dating is all about. Sounds great, right?

A healthy, mutual and equitable relationship should include all of the things included in the “equality wheel” below. There might be more you expect from a partner that’s not listed here. I would add the right to privacy (including on your phone, Facebook and other social media), and DEFINITELY the right to make decisions about sex and other physical parts of a relationship. Consent should always be gained and never assumed even when you’re in a relationship. Lastly, I would include “nonviolence” meaning any form of violence (physical or sexual) is never acceptable.

equality1

Unhealthy relationships have elements of power and control in them. The “power and control wheel” below provides examples of different forms of power, control and abuse that might be present in an unhealthy relationship.

powerandcontrol

You can CLICK on either of these wheels if they’re difficult to see on your computer or device.

A good visual activity would be printing these wheels off and using a highlighter to identify which parts of each of these wheels are present in your relationship and comparing them!

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Evaluating your relationships

Whether you’re in a relationship, thinking about dating; have you ever taken the time to literally evaluate your relationship?

 

Here’s a tool to help you start to think about what’s really going on. Sometimes young people know something feels wrong, but can’t quite explain what it is. The following questions should help.

 

You can use this tool to think about all of the relationships and friendships you have! You could even use it twice for the same relationship to compare the relationships progress over time. Things change, right? Share your thoughts with a friend, a family member or someone you trust.

 

Let’s get evaluating   🙂

 

In thinking about a partner or a friend…

 

  • Can you name 5 characteristics of this person that you really admire or like?

 

  • Is this person glad that you have other friends?

 

  • Does this person ask for your opinion about things? Do you make decisions together?

 

  • Have you ever felt pressured to have sex, or engage in any sexual activity with this person?

 

  • Does this person have good relationships with his or her friends and family?

 

  • Does this person talk and listen?

 

  • Do you consider this person a friend?

 

  • Do you act like yourself when you are with this person?

 

  • Does this person have other interests besides you?

 

  • Does this person expect you to say where you have been when you have been apart?

 

  • Does this person constantly text, call or check up on you when you’re not with them?

 

  • Does this person lose his or her temper easily?

 

  • Does this person get angry if you do not always pay attention to him or her?

 

  • How does this person handle conflict?

 

 

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What is your relationship reality?


Hey everyone! I’m posting a video I found that I like to use to get young people thinking about their “relationship reality”. I always encourage teens to think about all of the relationships in their life when they’re considering what is healthy and unhealthy – friends, family, boyfriends or girlfriends.

What’s important to YOU?

Take a peek!

 

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