A group of young women who are leading a campaign to tackle peer sexual abuse are taking part in 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence this month.

Bold Girls Ken, which is being delivered in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council as part of the Young Women Know project being run by NSPCC Scotland and The Young Women’s Movement, have invited every secondary school across Perth and Kinross to support their awareness raising week, which runs from Monday 4th to Friday 8th December.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.

The nine young women aged 16 to 19 from Bertha Park High School, Crieff High School and Perth College who lead the Bold Girls Ken campaign will be raising awareness in their own schools.

They have produced a variety of useful resources for schools and colleges to use, including an introductory PowerPoint presentation which explains what consent is, flyers, leaflets and recommendations for professionals on how to start a campaign group.

The young women have also created guidelines for professionals for teaching consent and they will partner with the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (RASAC) Perth & Kinross to take over Perth and Kinross Council’s social media for the day on Tuesday, 5th December 2023.

The Bold Girls Ken campaign aims to educate young people about consent in relationships – on and offline – and to ensure they get realistic and appropriate information about the issue and know where to go for help and support if they need it.

The campaign looks at what is involved in giving consent and when consent is not possible, for example, someone cannot consent to sex if they are under the age of 16 or asleep or unconscious. The effect of alcohol, drugs or other substances can also make someone incapable of consenting.

Natasha Reilly, local campaigns officer for NSPCC Scotland, said: “Bold Girls Ken are very excited about taking part in the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence and they look forward to seeing how schools and other settings use the resources they have created to raises awareness of these important issues.

“We hope everyone can follow Perth & Kinross council’s social media pages on December 5 to hear some important messages from Bold Girls Ken and RASAC on preventing sexual violence and how we can improve our understanding of consent.”

Laurie Duffy, Collective Voice & Action Lead, The Young Women’s Movement (YWM), said: “Bold Girls Ken have worked really hard to pull together a bank of informative and engaging resources around consent in time for 16 Days of Activism.

“The resources aim to encourage meaningful conversations on crucial topics such as healthy relationships and consent among all young people and to provide information for both young people and teachers.

“Schools play a pivotal role in creating open and inclusive spaces for these conversations to happen not just during 16 days but every day. We are really excited to see how the resources are utilised across Perth & Kinross.”

Councillor Michelle Frampton, depute convenor of Perth and Kinross Council’s Learning and Families Committee, said: “Gender-based violence is unacceptable and it is vital children and young people understand consent.

“Bold Girls Ken is a fantastic project that uses the lived experience of young women to educate their peers about what makes a healthy relationship.

“It is great to see young people in Perth and Kinross addressing these issues head on and educating their peers about something so important.”
Young people looking for support on any of the issues mentioned, can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit Childline.org.uk. Childline is available to all young people until their 19th birthday. Young people can also call the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre helpline on 01738 630965.

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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