September 19th-23rd, 2022 marked the very first national Consent Awareness Week. What started as a call from the High School Too movement in the Spring took flight as students, parents, educators, politicians, advocates and activists from across the country came together to create conversations about consent as an important life skill. We’re so blown away by how many community partners hosted events and rallies; shared amazing resources; and sparked thoughtful, affirming, intersectional conversations from coast to coast!
We also made some strides with governmental partners and Consent Awareness Week was officially declared in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. BC declared Consent Awareness Day, and a Consent Awareness Week Bill was proposed in the Ontario legislature. Several cities and municipalities also joined in declaring Consent Awareness Week!
More than 70 organizations, institutions and businesses from all corners of Canada recognized the week, and it also received international attention in the US, Australia and the EU. Hundreds of advocacy letters were sent, and #ConsentAwarenessWeek appeared hundreds of times across social media! Bringing such diverse stakeholders together felt like historic and meaningful progress toward creating a consent culture that everyone will benefit from.
On September 22nd, Possibility Seeds hosted We Build Consent: Student Leaders on Critical Action needed for Safer Communities. Moderated by Aubrianna Snow (AB) with Aryanna Chartrand (BC), Isabel Ojeda (NL), Maya Labrosse (QC), and Daysha Loppie (ON), this national panel discussed how we can move forward in creating consent culture on campus and beyond. If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here! Here are some of our favourite quotes from our brilliant panelists:
It was so powerful to see folks taking the spirit and message of Consent Awareness Week, running with it, and making it their own. The movement to address and prevent gender-based violence can’t succeed unless everyone adds their voice, and this week was a great first step toward a brighter future. We’re excited to keep up the incredible momentum that’s been built this year, and to push this advocacy into 2023 and beyond.
Here are some ways you can join in and keep up the good work looking ahead to Consent Awareness Week 2023!
Keep having conversations about consent with folks of all ages in your life. As Aryanna Chartrand put it at We Build Consent: “Consent conversations can be uncomfortable, but it’s a practice. And the earlier we start practicing it, the less stigma there is around it, the less weirdness. It becomes the norm.”
Start brainstorming and planning your Consent Awareness Week and We Believe You Day events for next year! Check out what our partner Action Now Atlantic had going on this year for inspiration.
Keep reading and sharing resources about consent. Check out our resources tab at possibilityseeds.ca/caw and search the hashtag #ConsentAwarenessWeek on social media to see the amazing resources folks shared this year!
Keep writing to your political representatives, urging them to join the governments that declared Consent Awareness Week this year! See our shareables folder for letter templates:
The Possibility Seeds team wants to thank you all again for your amazing advocacy and engagement this year. The progress we made with Consent Awareness Week in its first year just goes to show how much power we have when we come together. We’re so excited by the possibilities to come.
Suggested Citation: Courage to Act. (2022, September). Consent Awareness Week: What we Accomplished Together (and How to Keep it Going!) Courage to Act. www.couragetoact.ca/blog/caw-2022.