This week Insight asks young people to share their thoughts about what they’ve been taught about sex and consent.
“What happens if you decide halfway through sex that you don’t want to do it?” asks Insight host Jenny Brockie.
Lauren says she feels pressure to keep going out of guilt: “The first thing that will pop into my head is, like, I’ll feel bad, I feel like I’m annoying him…”
Jean Paul offers a male perspective: “I think a lot of people are trained from a very young age, through pornography, that women don’t ever say no once they say yes.”
This week on Insight, young people dish the dirt on sex. Not the mechanics of it, but what it’s like to navigate sexual encounters and how you work out whether or not you’ve got the green light to go ahead.
The issue of consent has been making headlines across the country, following an Australian Human Rights Commission report that revealed over 6% of university students were sexually assaulted in 2015/16*. The report recommended universities provide students with more education about consent and respectful relationships.
A young man tells Jenny Brockie he thinks the problem is that guys and girls’ brains work differently.
“The guy’s quite confused about what the girl is feeling, what the girl’s experiencing during this time…So when a guy’s trying to interpret consent he’s not able to actually comprehend where she’s sitting and what she’s thinking… I think guys can find that quite hard to read and understand at times.”
What happens when someone tries to say no?
Winnie was at a music festival with a group of friends when she caught the attention of a young man. She thought they were on the same page about how far things would go.
“I was too scared to say no and push him off, because I didn’t know how he was going to react and I ended up pushing him off… he was like ‘you’re just going to leave me like this?’” she says.
“How do you say no or how do you know when someone’s saying no? Most of the time it’s body language but if you’re intoxicated, or you’re both intoxicated, body language can be very difficult to read and that skews people’s perceptions as to well, ‘do I have actual consent for this or not?’”
“I was all over the place in my head at the time and I said to him ‘look, I don’t want to have sex but I’m happy just like kissing and stuff’ and he was like okay, and then we went back to his tent…”
“I felt guilty. I was like ‘oh, he probably, like, if I say no now he’ll probably just get angry at me because I led him on and it was so like confronting because I really wanted to say no but I did not know how…’”
“I think that alcohol does really confuse things and people can do things that they usually wouldn’t. I think that if we actually spoke and had proper education about what consent is, around alcohol especially, I think that maybe people would really actually understand what effects alcohol has when you’re engaging in sexual activity.”
Ben Goh, Criminal Defence Lawyer
“There’s no real sort of fine line or definite line about whether or not you’re consenting if you’re drunk.”
Julianne Elliot, Legal Aid Victoria
“It is important to remember that just because somebody’s not struggling and screaming and very upset, that doesn’t mean that they’re consenting.”
“Full body naked photos of myself and my face was in it because it was the first time I’d done something like that and I trusted him, and then it turned out that I couldn’t trust him.”
Tuesdays at 8.30pm on SBS.