Tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the community and youth sector?
We are Angelique Wan and Dr Joyce Yu, and we co-founded Consent Labs when we were both 19 and in our second year of university. Consent Labs is first and foremost a collective of young people with a passion for consent education. Since 2016, we have grown to be a youth-led not-for-profit that provides consent education to empower young people in high schools and tertiary institutions across Australia. We believe that a holistic conversation around consent is the only way that social change will be enacted, and so we also empower the stakeholders that matter most in a young person's life - their parents, and their educators - with this valuable education.
Looking ahead for 2022, how are you planning for the uncertain future ahead in terms of your work?
We are continuing ahead as normal, confident in the knowledge that if we had to face another lockdown, we have proven that we are able to take it in our stride.
This year brings really exciting new projects for Consent Labs - working with universities for Orientation week, starting to deliver a consent education program for people with intellectual disabilities, and taking our programs to regional NSW.
What help or support do young people need to really thrive in this new Covid World? Where can they get this?
What we've learned from this year is that a support network makes all the difference.
We are so incredibly lucky to work with a dedicated and compassionate team of young people at Consent Labs, and we were able to work our way through the challenges together. Whenever we had a bad day, or faced an issue that we thought was insurmountable, talking (or crying, or venting) to a team member undoubtedly always made us feel better.
Allowing yourself to lean on your support network was an invaluable lesson that we learned from 2021.
Anything else you’d like to share from your experience to help our readers and the youth community?
I think 2021 has proven how powerful young peoples' voices can really be. The move for change, specifically in the consent space, that we have seen from this year has been a long time coming, but only happened because young women like Chanel Contos, Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins called out injustice and are demanding for more. To all young people I would say, don't be afraid to use your voice. Tangible ways that this might look inlude:
Talk to your friends and encourage nuanced discussions. Educate and challenge each other. Use social media as a platform to do this. .
Talk to your parents. One thing we've found is that parents want to do the right thing but are also victims of lacking sex education. They have good intentions, but have no idea where to start, so you could help educate them.
Talk to your schools, see what they're doing in response to the need for better consent education. Have they done anything differently? Talk to your PDHPE teachers, your wellbeing teachers, your vice principal, your principal.