The Teen Council members said something they do with students is hand out around 40 cards with different scenarios on them and have their peers place them on a board, under either consent, non consent and unsure.
The Teen Council members said something they do with students is hand out around 40 cards with different scenarios on them and have their peers place them on a board, under either consent, non consent and unsure.
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Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene says the United States is at a point in time where conversations about sexual harassment and consent are critically important, and on Friday she thanked two members of Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council for doing that work with their peers in schools around the region.

High school juniors Isabella Todaro and Emily Angiulo joined the congresswoman at Planned Parenthood in Capitol Hill for a conversation about how they’ve been reaching out to fellow students to talk about consent, themselves learning a lot along the way. Anna Kashner, education director for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, facilitated the conversation.

“We’re really having a national conversation about sexual harassment,” DelBene said, “and we need people to understand what healthy relationships look like, what consent is.”

The congresswoman has introduced legislation that would eliminate tax breaks that corporations currently receive through deductions from settlements paid to victims of sexual misconduct, as well as insurance premiums and attorney’s fees.

Angiulo said Teen Council provides students with a safe space to talk about current events and such issues as sexual harassment and consent, and lets students submit questions anonymously if they want. It takes away a lot of pressure students can feel with adults in a classroom or with their parents, Todaro said, and connects them with resources they may not realize exist.

This is Angiulo’s second year with Teen Council, and she said it’s been fun learning along the way and sharing that with others.

“I really didn’t know, and I was learning every step of the way,” she said, adding she feels she’s experienced a lot of growth and improved on her leadership skills.

Todaro said being involved with Teen Council has encouraged her to pay more attention to news and current events.

Most every day now there’s a new celebrity being accused of sexual misconduct.

“One thing we focus around in my council is there’s no gray area when it comes to consent,” Todaro said.

Angiulo said she emphasizes the need for partners to communicate.

“Just because you consent one day does not mean you’re consenting in the future,” she said.

The Teen Council members said something they do with students is hand out around 40 cards with different scenarios on them and have their peers place them on a board, under either consent, not consent and unsure. Angiulo said it’s good when people do get one wrong, because it provides educational opportunities.

“I would say, in a general consensus, people are just more comfortable talking to people their own age,” Todaro told CHT.

One many people get wrong is flirting, Todaro said. Wearing revealing clothing is another one, Angiulo said.

“People should be able to wear what they feel comfortable and confident in,” she said.

Todaro and Angiulo will join more than 100 other teen advocates with Planned Parenthood for Teen Lobby Day in Olympia on Monday, where they will push for legislation that ensures health care access is made available to the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Kashner pointed out that the Trump administration is pushing for funding cuts for providing comprehensive sexual education, which Planned Parenthood will be fighting against.

DelBene expressed frustration about the lack of a long-term federal budget, with short-term funding set to expire on Jan. 19.

“It’s no way for us to be running a government,” she said, “but it also puts important programs like this at risk, not knowing where this funding is coming from.”