April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and comes at a time when our country is experiencing a reckoning with sexual violence. Many people are sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, more institutions are holding perpetrators accountable, and space is being created for authentic conversations about consent.
Now more than ever is the time to highlight the important role comprehensive sex education plays in our schools and communities. Providing young people with critical information and skills around seeking and giving consent, how to respond when someone is pressuring them, and ways to step in and help a friend, can help prevent sexual violence. Young people deserve access to education and it needs to happen before they start college and before they become sexually active.
At Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, we provide sex education, information, and resources that teach about consent and healthy relationships. With 17 Connecticut health centers, and education programs taking place in communities all across our state, we help people communicate respectfully and confidently, make well-informed and healthy decisions, and engage in relationships that are healthy and positive. Now is the time to make strides towards a culture in which consent is the norm and everyone has control over their bodies and lives.
Pierrette Comulada Silverman is Vice President of Education and Training at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.