Let’s teach consent and sexuality

Carrie JordanHealth & Beauty, Parenting, Womens Wisdom

youthful ignorance assault

Last year, I leapt across a room hooting and hollering in celebration as my community sat and watched me in my joy. It was a moment of freedom and embodiment that has been rare since my childhood. As a little girl I remember being animated and excited with lots of energy and ideas.

Like many of us, somewhere along the way all that got lost in conditioning or shame.

I grew anxious about how my movement or expression might be mis-interpreted. Staying quiet, small, and safe seemed important as our patriarchal culture repressed my sensuality and creativity. I received unconscious messages of disempowerment, judgement, shame, fear, and complacency. Hence, I learned to hide and hold back how nature herself ran through me.

But still, the little girl inside of me still knows exactly how to move, exactly how to sing. It doesn’t cross her mind to judge herself. Now she comes out more often now than she ever has.

But when I touch memories of the ignorance of my young adulthood, I feel broken-hearted. I was ignorant of my femininity and the sacredness of my body.

As a girl and young adult, I didn’t know about:

  • Feminism
  • Consent
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • How to feel my body

In fact, I was so clueless that in high school I wrote an anti-feminism report on how feminism impacted boys negatively. I remember feeling proud that I was not a feminist when I wrote that paper in high school. Proud because I thought that would gain the approval I sought in some way. Men seemed to be against feminism, and I could gain approval by being on their side.

In college, I vividly remember going to a Take Back the Night rally. The people at the rally were impassioned and some seemed full of rage. I distinctly remember that I didn’t understand what consent was. I didn’t understand how it was wrong for a man to take advantage of a woman who was drunk. It was her own fault that she was drunk, right?

From age 14 to age 25, I was a long-distance runner. Running can be good for some, but for me it was a way for me to de-stress without being connected to my body. I would spend the whole run THINKING in my head. Running helped me stay up in my head and ignore the impact the activity was having in my body. Now that I am embodied, I finally realize how painful the impact of running is on my joints and skeleton.

After college I worked in offices and acted like a man to fit in, completely ignored my feminine physiology, hormones, moon time (my period), all in service of getting shit done.

Through all of this, there is a common thread for my reasoning behind my decisions. Because I was looking for approval from the outside from the patriarchy. Whether I was looking for approval from my own father, from my boss, from society, or from men in general. I was a poster child for societal conditioning. Consequently I’ve spent most of my adulthood untangling my conditioning, unlearning, and untaming myself.

When I was sexually assaulted in 2007, it finally became explicitly clear to me what consent was; what rape was; what feminism was; what it meant to hold my body as a sacred temple.

My regret is that it had to go there for me to take the journey to the Sacred Divine Feminine that my life has led me. Through this dark, shadowy doorway I learned about boundaries, about my desire, my needs, my body, my path in this lifetime.

Society fosters youthful ignorance about sexuality through taboo

Now that I’ve told my own personal story, let’s talk about what youthful ignorance looks like on a larger scale. Most noteworthy, only eight states require sexual education to mention consent. Similarly, only 10% of young women assaulted on college campuses report their assailants. This may point to women being either too shameful or fearful to report their assailants, or to women not being aware of the gravity what has happened to them. When I see these statistics, and when I get in touch with my own memories I feel a fire in my belly.

The work of teaching young women and men about consent, boundaries, desire, power, and self respect is paramount to our time. If this kind of education doesn’t happen in school sex ed classes, it needs to happen at the dinner table, around the fire, and in women’s groups that include women from age 12 to age 95. We are responsible for becoming the wise ones who can teach our children, nieces and nephews these important lessons.

In this world, a world where, in most countries, women are second class citizens, a world where the Earth, our home, is raped and pillaged for natural resources every day, this is important, world-changing work.

We are in the midst of co-creating a new story. A story where we respect and admire and revere the sacred feminine in all her glory, the ultimate feminine, Mother Earth. 

We do so by reconnecting with our own femininity and with Her, the Goddess. The Goddess within and without.⠀⠀