Government’s ‘bizarre’ consent videos featuring milkshakes criticised
Women’s rights campaigners have widely criticised the federal government’s “bizarre” new online educational resources that teach students about consent through videos of milkshakes, tacos and an ocean that might be filled with sharks.
Fair Agenda has started a petition calling on the government to work with violence prevention experts to review the material on its Good Society website, which was launched as part of its Respect Matters program.
The federal government’s new educational videos on consent have been widely criticised.Credit:The Good Society website
Videos aimed at students in years 10 to 12 on the website use metaphors to discuss consent and avoid mentioning the words “rape” or “assault”.
One features a teenage girl smearing a milkshake in a teenage boy’s face without his permission, appearing to represent sexual assault or rape.
“Young people deserve consent and respectful relationships training that practically and explicitly helps them understand how to ethically navigate relationships, and to recognise — and feel armed to challenge — unacceptable or coercive behaviour,” the Fair Agenda petition said.
“Instead, the federal government has unveiled concerning and bizarre online resources.”
“These Good Society materials fall well short of what experts know is needed to actually change behaviour and prevent abuse.”
End Rape on Campus director Sharna Bremner said the videos should be pulled down immediately until they can be reviewed by experts.
“My reaction to the videos was shock and a bit of bewilderment,” she said.
“I still can’t quite work out what the point of them is and I’m unsure which experts the government has consulted.
“They really undermine kids’ intelligence. With students of this age, you should be having frank discussions about sex and consent.
“If you can’t name these problems, you can’t start to address them properly.”
She said the content appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction to conversations happening across the country on the need for better education about consent.
Australian of the Year and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame said the videos were problematic.
“I think it’s just insulting to the intelligence of everyone, not just adults, to children as well,” she said on ABC TV’s The Drum program.
“It minimises the experience of rape trauma, it fails to really address the nuances of this complex issue of consent.”
In a statement, the Education Department said the content on The Good Society website was created and reviewed by experts.
“Community members, teachers, and school leaders were also consulted to ensure the content was engaging for students and consistent with community standards,” a spokesman said.
“The Department of Education, Skills and Employment will continue to work with experts and stakeholders to update and refine content as required.
“There are over 350 materials on the website aimed at teaching general principles of respectful behaviour that can be applied in many situations. Materials are in line with national curriculum.”
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