Why Draw the Line?
Sexual violence is pervasive in Canada.
One in three Canadian women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime.
In order to eliminate sexual violence, we need to use a gradual approach and start teaching our children about boundaries, consent, and respect at a young age.
How to Draw the Line?
White Ribbon worked with Ontario educators and the Ministry of Education to create resources that will support educators as they teach children and youth about healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention in ways that are appropriate to their ages and stages of development.
What Do Students Learn?
The Draw the Line resources are designed to help students of all ages develop their ability to communicate with others and share their ideas, emotions, and set their boundaries. Students learn to build respectful relationships with themselves, their families, their friends, and, eventually, their romantic partners.
Using the Draw the Line lesson plans, younger students develop the skills they need to:
Stand up for themselves and assert their boundaries
Show respect for others, including respecting others’ boundaries
Trust their instinct and get help when things don’t feel right.
Older students develop the skills they need to:
Understand and apply the concept of consent
Develop respectful, equitable, and healthy relationships
Be active bystanders and intervene safely and effectively to prevent sexual violence.
By taking a proactive approach and teaching children and youth to recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships and sexual violence, we can promote their well-being and help eliminate violence against women and girls. To eliminate sexual violence and create a consent culture, we need to embrace a community approach. Parents have a critical role to play.
What Can Parents Do?
With younger children:
Teach children that their bodies belong to them and that they have a right to refuse physical contact (e.g., they can refuse to be hugged)
Encourage children to trust their instincts and feelings and encourage them to speak up if something doesn’t feel right
Teach children to respect other people’s boundaries: encourage them to ask for permission before touching another person’s body, encourage them to pay attention to body language and signs of discomfort when interacting with others.
With older children and youth:
Have conversations about their personal values and boundaries with respect to their sexuality.
Talk about consent, pressure, coercion, and manipulation. Talk about sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Discuss the legal, social, and emotional consequences of non-consensual sex.
Talk about gender inequality and sexism and about how that contributes to violence against women and girls.
Be a role-model!
White Ribbon’s It Starts with You – It Stays with Him initiative encourages men to be positive role models for the boys in their lives. It provides tools to help fathers, teachers, coaches, and other male leaders teach boys about consent, healthy relationships, respectful communication, and setting and respecting boundaries. Fathers can share with their children the value of equal, healthy relationships and can model ways to help prevent sexual violence. By working together and by supporting the efforts of women and girls, men and boys can help create a future where all genders are valued and all individuals can live free from violence and inequality.