I Ask: Asking for consent is healthy, normal

Gov. Jim Justice, in proclaiming April Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness month in West Virginia, called the increase both here in the Mountain State and nationally in child abuse and sexual assaults against men, women and children a “terrible commentary on a sector of society that needs our vigilant effort to increase awareness.”

Detailing shocking statistics such as the 700,000 children abused in the U.S. each year, or the 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S. who have experienced rape, physical violence and or stalking by a partner, Justice’s proclamation mentioned an important group of people.

“The role of Crime Victims Advocates is crucial in providing resources, advice, representation and care to all victims of abuse,” it said.

We might add the role of mandated reporters who are often the first to notice a problem.

Certainly it is important to be aware of the evils of sexual assault and child abuse; but the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has gone a step further than simple awareness. They have created an action campaign: I Ask.

I ask for consent. I ask for digital consent. I ask how to teach consent early. I ask how power impacts consent. The idea is to promote the message that “asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.” We all need to be more aware of that, too.

Use this opportunity to talk to your kids, folks; but also to the adults you care about, who might need a reminder that there are resources available to them — that they are not alone.

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