As a parent, the thought of talking to your teen about sex can be uncomfortable. However, in this day and age, it is crucial. Even though sexual assault cases involving teens have happened for decades, it is even more prevalent now with human trafficking and statutory rape cases.
There are many reasons why teens are targeted for sexual assault incidents. One of the reasons why teens are targeted by certain predators is because they may not know their rights when it comes to sexual activities. As uncomfortable as it can be, talking to your teen about consent in sexual situations can empower them and make them more confident in establishing their boundaries.
What is consent?
When discussing consent with your teen, you want to make it clear to your teen what consent means. Consent is the active and free choice that each person has when it comes to any sexual activity. It is important for your teen to know that they and their sexual partner must come to a mutual agreement about any kind of sexual activity in which they plan to engage.
It is also important for your teen to understand that consent is about constant communication with one another. Just because they agree to engage in a sexual activity initially does not mean they do not have the right to change their mind or inform their partner of how uncomfortable they feel.
Important elements about consent
As a parent, you may feel uneasy about mentioning sex in general with your teen. When it comes to the key facts about consent, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few elements that you can share with your teen about sexual consent.
The explicit nature of sexual consent
When discussing consent, you want to share with your teen that consent is not given unless it is told. For consent to be considered active, you want your teen to know that they and their partner have to give a clear and explicit “Yes” to any sexual activity in which they both plan to engage. Their partner should not just assume that they agree to the sexual activity, and vice versa. Checking in with each other is extremely important, because non-consensual sexual activities are illegal.
The right to always change their mind
Another important factor about consent to share with your teen is that they always have the right to change their mind before engaging in (and during) sexual activity. That means even if they are in the midst of engaging in sexual activity, they have the right to change their mind and express that they no longer want to participate.
It is also important for your teen to know that once they decide to no longer engage in sexual activity, their partner must also refrain from continuing. When their partner refuses to stop after one individual has expressed that they no longer want to engage in sexual activity, the person can be charged with sexual assault.
Another important factor that you should share with your teen about consent is that consent is staying in constant communication with one another. Because one or both of them can change their minds at any moment, it is crucial for both parties to check in with one another. Your teen should also know that they should feel safe to express how uncomfortable they feel in the moment. Their partner should pay attention to their body language and any physical signs of being uncomfortable. However, they should also verbally express to their partner whether they feel comfortable or not in the moment.
The types of sexual activities where consent is needed
Discuss with your teen all of the sexual activities where consent is needed. It is important for your teen to know that sexual consent is necessary for every sexual encounter, regardless of the teen’s sexual identity. Your teen must understand that consent is necessary for all types of sexual activity, from kissing and touching a certain part of their body to engaging in penetrative or oral sex. Sexual consent is also necessary when it comes to texting or emailing sexual messages or images.
How drugs and alcohol can affect consent
Another important factor that you want to share with your teen about consent is how drugs and alcohol can affect the ability to give consent. Similar to any other situation, the presence of drugs and alcohol can complicate matters. It is important for your teen to understand that while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot give consent. Because consent must be given freely, it is difficult to determine whether consent was given when someone’s ability to make sound decisions is significantly altered. Teens must understand that no one should attempt to engage in sexual activity with them while they are drunk or high, and if they do they can be charged with sexual assault.
One of the biggest benefits of speaking about sexual consent with your teen is that your teen will be more confident about setting boundaries for themselves. When navigating sexual relationships, it is important for teens to understand what boundaries are and how to communicate those boundaries to their partners. By informing your teen about what consent is, you are teaching them how to protect themselves and how to resolve conflict when it comes to relationships. Your teen will be able to identify what a healthy, safe, and respectful relationship should look like.
Legal consequences for violating consent in Texas
We understand that these conversations can be difficult to have with your children – but they’re not nearly as difficult as beating a sexual assault charge, and that is potentially what your child can face. Both sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault are felony charges, which means incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines if they are convicted. Your child may end up having to register as a sex offender, which can affect his or her ability to get an education or a job. It can even affect where he or she lives.
If your teen has been accused of sexually violating another teen, reach out to a Killeen criminal defense lawyer at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm. Our sex crime defense lawyers can fight to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. Contact us today at 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form here. We represent clients in Killeen, Copperas Cove, Temple, Belmont, and throughout Central Texas.
I’ve dedicated my legal career to defending my clients. I demand all the evidence. I investigate all the facts, the so-called witnesses and even the police officers. I make it my business to know the law. Cases can be won or lost before you even set foot inside the courtroom.
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