In NSW, the age of consent is 16. If you are 16 years old or older another person can have sex with you if you agree to it (unless they are your carer or supervisor.)  

 

This year NSW government plans to change the consent laws to adopt an affirmative consent model. This means a person must do or say something to confirm they consent before sex occurs. 

 

The changes will mean: 

(a) a person does not consent to sexual activity unless they said or did something to communicate consent; and 

(b) If a person is accused of sexual assault, they have to show that they said or did something to find out whether they had consent.  They have to ask, not just assume that they have consent because the other person didn’t say no. 

  

The new laws will also clarify a person’s right to change their mind and withdraw consent at any point; make it clear that if someone consents to one sexual act, it doesn’t mean they’ve consented to other sexual acts;  and clarify that a defendant cannot rely on intoxication (drunk or on drugs) as an excuse for being mistaken about whether they have consent. 

 

These changes are being made to help make it clear to everyone that consent must be freely given and ongoing throughout any sexual activity and that it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure they have consent. 

~ Bonnie 

We know that boys and girls can both do lots of the same things - boys and girls are both smart, sporty, creative, adventurous, kind etc. So we know that in reality boys are not more than girls, or better than girls. I am interpreting your question as, “even though boys and girls can do lots of the same things equally as well, why are girls thought to be less than boys? 

 

This is known as gender inequality, and it started many years ago when things were very different in society. To give you a very brief snapshot; historically, females were considered the nurturers, the bearers of children, and the ‘homemakers’, and men were the providers, considered the head of the family.  Over time as technology and science evolved, so did society and gender roles.  Along with the advancements, such as the contraception pill for women, childcare, and education, women entered the workforce and began challenging traditional gender roles which meant that men were doing things that only women used to do, and women were doing things that only men used to do. 
 

Our society today recognises that girls and boys are both very capable and can do lots of the same things equally as well, however because our society had made decisions about how girls and boys should be, for example “boys are more sporty and never cry” and “girls should wear dresses and always present themselves nicely” sometimes boys and girls are not considered equal, even though they are. When this happens sometimes boys and girls are not given the same opportunities.  

 

It's important that you know that as a girl, or a boy you should be given the same opportunities and that you should not be left out or discriminated against because you are a girl/boy. If you are in this situation, its important you talk to your parents or teachers about it to see if you can be included in the activity. 

Hi! We are so glad that you are coming back to check for your answer. We are a small team who are often out and about at schools but we work really hard to get all answers up by each Friday. So, if you ask a question on Monday, check back on Friday afternoon and the answer should be there! 😊  

 

Sarah 

Hi!  We think you are right – it seems from his actions that he was not fully respecting or supporting your decision.  Firstly, well done for setting some boundaries and communicating them clearly to your boyfriend.  That can take some guts.  At Respect Me, we know that consent and respect go hand-in-hand, and that consent needs to be enthusiastically and freely given – not pressured or coerced.  It’s also important to realise that it’s also reversible and specific, so you have the right say what to what to do, what you don’t want to do, and you can change your mind at any time.  

 

It might be a good idea to have a conversation with your boyfriend at a time when you are both happy and relaxed – not when either of you is feeling pressured or rejected – about what you are comfortable doing or not doing together.  You can try talking about what you like and respect in him, and what is important to you and your values.  Then let him know that it is important to you that he respects your decisions and behaves in a supportive and kind way when talk about your boundaries.    

 

Relationships can we wonderful and very rewarding, but they are also a lot of hard work!  You are off to a good start, and we wish you good luck! 

 

-  Bonnie