PN file photo

In response to the high rate of exposure of young females to non-consensual sexual behaviors, the Roots of Health (ROH) will undertake a survey beginning in June to address consent education among young couples in the city.

Strengthening consent education is one of the approaches ROH would employ for teenage couples, according to Aika Pagusara, youth advocacy manager, during the Kapihan sa PIA on Wednesday.

“Actually, ang results sa ginawang research na ‘yon, nagbunga ‘yon na kami ay mag-isip at, of course, maghanap ng iba’t ibang approaches kung paano ba namin ito matutugunan. Isa sa mga naisip namin ay mas patatagin pa ‘yong consent education talaga. Right now, meron kaming ongoing project na mas tututukan namin ang young couples, teenage couples na mas pag-usapan pa ang consent,” she said.

Young girls in Palawan were found to be regularly exposed to non-consensual sexual behaviors after ROH’s two-part quantitative and qualitative research project in 2020 with the aid of the EMpower’s Girls Fund initiative.

The respondents are 15 to 24 years old and hail from 30 urban and peri-urban barangays in Puerto Princesa City. The findings were made public in the fourth quarter of 2021. The study’s purpose was to gain a better understanding of the issue of teenage pregnancy.

ROH is currently working on a module to solve the information gap, according to Pagusara. After a preliminary test with 12 young couples in Puerto Princesa, ROH hopes to observe its impact by the end of the year.

“Kasi madalas ‘yon talaga ang hindi napag-uusapan pagdating sa sex, paghingi o pagbigay ng sexual consent. Iyon ang isa sa (nakita) namin na dapat tugunan pa. Dati ang talagang naka-focus lang kami is more on knowledge part of sexual health, reproductive health. Although we also teach about consent but not that napaka-exclusive na consent,” she said.

ROH believes that intervening with younger couples and teaching them about consent is still possible. Because consents can be both verbal and nonverbal, Pagusara emphasized the importance of “reading on the cue” and recognizing that “no” means “no” in both cases.

She said that it’s critical for couples to understand each other when it comes to sexual consent.

“Pagdating sa consent education, hindi naman siya too late, kailangan lang talaga may mag-nudge sa kanila na dapat kasama ito sa pinag-uusapan nila. Iyon ang nakikita namin na may behavioral nudges kang gagawin para mapag-usapan ang consent. I don’t think it’s too late and it’s a long way para (ituro) ang consent sa couples,” she said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.