Is sexual assault a gender issue, or a societal issue?
In decades past, primarily women were concerned with changing rape culture. These days, I am so inspired to see more and more people of all genders working to create a culture of consent and respect.
Last month I met a jovial Aussie man named Petros Galanoulis, who is committed to moving beyond the gender blame game. In his new book, he encourages everyone to come together to prevent sexual violence and remove the stigma for males who are survivors.
Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
But how do we prevent sexual violence? Experts across the world agree we need to educate young people about consent and boundaries. Going beyond “the talk,” (the one-time, awkward sex talk parents may give in early adolescence), teaching consent is actually an ongoing conversation. It also starts earlier than most people think: as soon as children learn to talk, we can teach them to tell a trusted adult if someone touches them in a way that feels uncomfortable.
Petros offers his own helpful way to remember if an intimate encounter is crossing any boundaries, with the 3 C’s of Consent:
1. Coherence- all people involved in intimacy must be in a sober, sound state of mind
2. Consent- all people must agree on how they want to be intimate
3. Co-Enjoyment- communicate with your partner to ensure the interaction is mutually enjoyable
I spoke with Petros about his new book, Reaching For The Light: A Path For Deep Healing, Forgiveness and Re-empowerment After Sexual Trauma, and I was amazed that he interviewed a real-life perpetrator of sexual violence, who reformed his life when his victim gave him an ultimatum. I need to hone my interviewing skills because I could not get him to reveal any more about this story of reconciliation and healing!
If you are as curious as me to hear the inside viewpoint of a reformed perpetrator as well as six warrior survivors, we will just have to check out the book at: yougotthismentalhealth.com.au
Here’s to all people coming together and creating a world of respect and compassion!