Kids ‘being taught to say no to grandmothers’ kisses’ in sexual consent course

A grandmother kisses her granddaughter (stock image). Source: Getty.

A major push from the Australian government to teach children about sexual consent has reportedly seen one teaching course give kids “child-friendly” examples like refusing to let their own grandmothers kiss them to get the message across.

Meanwhile, another reportedly sees university students have to complete a multiple-choice test before getting their exam results, the ABC has exclusively revealed.

They’re just some of many new educational resources being rolled out across the country to help teach kids about safety, consent and wellbeing in school.

The wider move has seen a government-funded resource, called Respect Matters, being introduced into schools to teach children about “the value of healthy and respectful relationships”.

The program has so far been adopted by schools in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, but there are ongoing calls for it to be adopted across the country.

“We will provide teachers with resources to help young people as they learn how to deal with issues like self-respect, respect for others, and value of fostering positive relationships throughout their lives,” Education Minister Dan Tehan previously said in a statement.

He added at the time: “The Morrison Government is keeping Australians safe by investing in educating children about the importance of respecting others and why violence is wrong.”

Taking part in this wider push for better eduction into sexual consent is Victoria’s Respectful Relationships program, which was introduced in 2016 following a proposal out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It aims to create “a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations”, according to its website.

However, speaking to the ABC, childhood educator Margie Buttriss has now revealed some of the controversial examples being offered to kids to help teach them that no-one can touch them if they don’t want them to.

“We’re talking about situations such as Grandma wants to swoop in for the big sloppy kiss and if the child doesn’t want that to happen what can they do,” Buttriss told the news outlet.

“And they can respectfully say ‘no thanks Grandma, let’s have a hug instead’. Or if it’s someone they don’t know, ‘let’s high five, let’s fist bump’.”

Scott Morrison himself previously slammed a course being offered to schools to promote sexual consent. In it, students have to act out 20-minute role-plays using character cards, with characters including bisexual 17-year-old Megan who has had 15 sexual partners, Grace who has been sexually active since she was 13, and 14-year-old Kelly who is struggling with her sexuality and thinks she may be lesbian.

The PM told 2GB host Alan Jones at the time that he had chosen to send his two young daughters to an independent Baptist school to avoid them having “the values of others” imposed on them.

Asked if this will happen in classrooms under his own prime ministership, Morrison said: “Well it’s not happening in the school I send my kids to and that’s one of the reasons I send them there.”

Elsewhere Lael Stone, who runs sex and relationship courses across Victoria, admitted to the ABC that her biggest concern now is the influence of the internet – with many kids knowing a lot more about sex than their parents may realise.

Meanwhile, another branch of the wider push for better education is the Consent Matters course being rolled out in many universities across the country.

In fact, some university students must now reportedly complete a 40-minute multiple-choice test every semester in order to get their exam results.

Sydney University students slammed the new module at the time, and medical science student Eleni Vellios told the Daily Telegraph: “It’s a bit unrealistic, no one is going to ask for them to spell it out and ask for it.”

Meanwhile fellow student Claudia Reed told the site it was a “tick-a-box exercise” and added: “It is the university’s way of saying, ‘we’ve done our part, we look good’, but it’s not actually going to fix anything.”

The course, named Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect, And Positive Intervention, takes students through a number of scenarios, some involving alcohol and drugs, using stick figures and speech bubbles. It comes after a series of women in the public eye spoke out against high-profile celebrities, accusing them of sexual harassment or sexual assault – with the allegations spanning back decades in many cases.

What do you think of the new courses and teaching resources available? Have they gone too far? Should examples like this be used when kids are growing up?

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