Vice President Joe Biden’s message about sexual consent is a powerful one.
The senior proms are happening. The college has been chosen. The parents are anticipating empty nests.
Chances are, though, that they have not had The Talk.
No, not that Talk, the one that usually comes as puberty approaches. The one sometimes farmed out to health teachers at school. The one that used to be known as The Birds and The Bees.
This Talk, as teens-turning-young-adults head off to college, is not so much about sex – though that can be part of it – but more about forming healthy relationships and having respect for others when charting a path with potential partners. It’s about dealing with so-called “hook-up culture,” sexual harassment, misogyny and sexual violence.
In other words, a long flight away from the Birds and the Bees.
But The Talk, Part 2 is something that happens all too rarely, according to a Harvard University study, and at the same time is something teens are looking for, even if they are sometimes reluctant to say so.
According to a survey conducted by Harvard’s Making Caring Common (MCC) project, 87% of young women reported having experienced at least one of the following during their lifetime: being catcalled (55%), touched without permission by a stranger (41%), insulted with sexualized words (such as “slut,” “bitch” and “ho”) by a man (47%), insulted with sexualized words by a woman (42%), having a stranger say something sexual to them (52%) and having a stranger tell them they were “hot” (61%).
Yet, according to the researchers, 76% of respondents never had a conversation with their parents about how to avoid sexually harassing others and a majority had never talked with their parents about misogyny. Perhaps even more worrying, 61% of young people said they had never spoken with their parents about “being sure your partner wants to have…