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Adolescent Reading Guide

The GERI books we’ve selected for young adult readers are good choices for teens to learn about consent. Before you start reading, here are some of the basics of consent.

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What is consent?

Consent is often mentioned when talking about sexual activity. But consent isn’t just about sex. Consent means that nobody has control of or the right to another person’s body or will. Consent is the boundaries that people form to stay comfortable in different situations. Respecting boundaries is a key way to building happy and healthy relationships that last. 

Consent is a key part of having respectful and healthy relationships with anyone you know. Simply put, consent is giving someone permission to do something. But it is also so much more than that. When we talk about consent, we’re talking about the boundaries we have and want other people to respect. 

Think of consent like FRIES:

  • Freely Given

    A person does not feel forced or made to say yes.

    Example: “Give me your phone, or else I’ll tell the teacher you cheated on the test.” To give that person the phone would not be consent, because in order to get the phone they had to threaten the other person.

  • Reversible

    People have the right to change their minds at any point.

    Example: You and your friends go out to a party, but you later decide to stay home. You can change your mind about what you do or don’t want. 

  • Informed

    A person has to have all the information about a situation to decide if they want to do anything involving it.

    Example: You agree to go on a date with someone you are really interested in, but find out they are already dating someone else. You might not have agreed to go on the date if you knew they were cheating on their partner. This isn’t consent, because you weren’t informed about the situation. 

  • Enthusiastic

    A person may agree to do something, but are they happy to do it? Is there hesitation in their reply?

    Example: “Yes! I will marry you!” vs “ Maybe, I guess we can get married.” These are two different types of responses. Only one of them is a consenting yes, and the other is not. The absence of no does not mean yes.

  • Specific

    A person can agree to say yes to one thing and say no to another.

    Example: You can say yes to a hug, but that doesn’t mean that you also want to be kissed as well. You did not give consent for a kiss.

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Healthy Relationships

Relationships aren’t just about the people we date or want to hook up with. They also include our families and friends. 

This is the Teen Relationship Equality Wheel. It represents the foundations of a healthy relationship. This applies to all types of relationships, and each part of the wheel is built on another part. For example, trust cannot be formed without mutual respect. Mutual respect cannot happen if a person feels attacked or threatened.