During a segment on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday, a sexuality educator encouraged parents to ask their babies for consent before changing their diaper.
Deanna Carson describes herself on her website as “a leading Australian sexuality educator, researcher, speaker, author and ultimate keeper of a straight face when dispelling children’s misconceptions about bodies and baby making.”
She is also a member of the National LGBTIQ Health Alliance, the Society of Australian Sexologists and National Speakers Association of Australia and Partners in Prevention.
Regarding consent laws in Australia, Carson told the show’s host, “We work with children from three years old.”
“We work with parents from birth,” she added.
When the interviewer appeared confused by the remark, Carson responded, “Yes, just about how to set up a culture of consent in their homes so ‘I’m going to change your nappy now, is that OK?'”
“Of course a baby is not going to respond ‘yes mum that’s awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed,” she continued. “But if you leave a space, and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters.”
Carson’s comments sparked quite a bit of mockery on Twitter.
— Jill ❌ (@Havingmysay2) May 8, 2018
This is NOT the way to prepare kids to avoid the trauma of molestation.
Deanne Carson's technique teaches kids that everything is up for negotiation. If a parent wants that exhausting route, great – the rest of us can't be bothered. https://t.co/avaSWulvlU
— Mary Pat Ryan (@MaryPatRyan) May 10, 2018
Carson responded to the push back she received via a Facebook post on Wednesday.
“I gave an interview the other day about teaching consent to young children. It was in response to the Four Corners episode featuring the incredibly courageous Saxon Mullins,” she wrote. “Sadly, some people have chosen to ridicule me (oh no! Pink hair! Must be a lesbian!) and the notion of giving infants bodily autonomy (poo in nappies har har amiright?!).”
“For those people I’m posting this. One in three girls, one in seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are eighteen years old. One in twelve girls will be sexually abused before their sixth birthday,” she continued.
“The work we do with children, teachers and parents is international best practice in abuse prevention. It teaches children their rights AND their responsibilities and connects them with people who care and can help. It invites their parents into the discussion and is sensitive to cultural and family values. Troll me all you want, add to your blog inches, but remember that when you do, you are negating the voices of these brave survivors of sexual abuse.”
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