Yes Means Yes has a Fantastic article on teaching consent as a part of sex education.
They walk through how a curriculum of teaching some basic concepts to young men in school…
- Teach young men about legal consent
- Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects for male pleasure
- Teach young men how to express healthy masculinity
- Teach young men to believe women and girls who come forward
- Teach males about bystander intervention
… could help reduce the number of rapes, even though it probably won’t stop serial rapists from committing their crimes.
Studies of predatory males show that most rapists know they are committing crimes, and don’t care whether they have a yes or no consent. BUT… Predators rely on something that researchers have labeled “Social License to Operate”:
The Social License to Operate is the set of beliefs that make rape seem like a continuation or extension of normal sexuality, instead of an aberration and personal violation. By normalizing rapists and rape, by blurring the lines between rape and sex, we create a culture where instead of responding to the crime like we should, there’s always room to argue for and or excuse or mitigate the rape and the rapist.
Basically, Predators rely on stereotypes about women being sluts, about our judgement towards women who drink, and our willingness to not understand what is and isn’t a crime to get away with their serial rapist criminal behavior.
Teaching basics about consent makes it harder for serial rapists to use our societies Social License to Operate by making non-rapists more vigilante about how rapists engineer situations to get women into vulnerable positions.