In a Ballard living room on a rainy Sunday afternoon, ten educators and consent activists gathered to create a team of volunteers dedicated to changing the world through collaborative consent education. “Consent has become part our daily conversations; a constant topic in the news, our schools, and our homes. People everywhere are talking about consent and we decided it was time for us to do more than talk.,” says Sar Surmick, Director of the newly created Consent Academy.
“We live in troubling times. We find ourselves confronted with images, statements, and media that depict people having their consent taken away as if it were normal or even desirable. People have suffered. People are angry. And people are confused, wondering how to even talk about the complexities of a consent culture. We established the Consent Academy to address just that,” adds Surmick, a Marriage and Family Therapist.
The Consent Academy works to meet the needs of organizations, schools, and individuals who struggle with the complex issues around consent. Members of the collective provide workshops, trainings, consultations, and resources designed to make consent accessible and understandable. The team seeks to bring consent education to as many people as possible and through that work to build and maintain a greater consent culture for all people. “Learning how to integrate healthy consent practices into your daily life is vital at any age,” says Rachel Bowen, a Consent Academy educator. “The daily practice of respect for boundaries, no matter how small, fine tunes your skills and lessens the perceived ‘gray’ areas that cause confusion.”
Resources and events are offered for organizations as varied as universities, burning man camps, non-profits, churches, and PTA groups. “In a world where ‘good Christian folk’ can excuse sexual assault from political candidates, collegiate athletes, and a countless list of others, it is clear that churches need a more nuanced ethic than sex before marriage is bad,” says Rev. Austin Adkinson, Minister of Just Discipleship at First Church Seattle (firstchurchseattle.org) and educator with Consent Academy.
The Consent Academy provides a wide range of customized offerings for individuals, organizations, schools, and corporations on all topics of consent. If you, your organization, or a group you know needs help with trainings, conversations, or issues around consent they can be found at: www.consent.academy