Any welcome for the news that college consent classes will be rolled out to secondary schools and sports clubs must be tempered by a question or two: Why are they necessary? How have we reached a point where our young people need guidance on this most basic self-discipline?
Is it because our older people — their parents — have failed in their duty to teach their children how to behave, how to respect others? Are they, like the fallen woman in JG Farrell’s Siege of Krishnapur “so intoxicated as to be unavailable to the voice of her conscience”?
It seems questionable too that this basic training be sublet to schools and teachers, no matter how committed or caring they may be.
These courses were launched four years ago and more than 4,000 students have taken one. They have been exposed to a definition of consent known as OMFG — ongoing, mutual, and freely given.
These courses may seem progressive but they point to a deeper malaise — parenting that does not equip young people to survive in today’s world by behaving in a civilised way.
We may need parenting courses as well.