Saturday 23 June 2018

If 'yes' and 'no' are redundant, how are we to indicate consent?

Lessons: Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone. Pic Paul Sharp/Sharppix
Lessons: Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone. Pic Paul Sharp/Sharppix

Letters tot he Editor

We have been informed that Children's Minister Katherine Zappone is in favour of introducing a course which includes sexual consent classes aimed at 16-year-olds in secondary schools (Irish Independent, December 30). Of course, it is inconceivable that the course would not lay heavy emphasis on the fact that the age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17 years.

It now seems strange but I always thought that consent was indicated by using "yes" or "no", or have such words now become redundant? Maybe the problem in a multicultural society would require that "oui/non", "ja/nein", "si/no", "nie/tak", etc, be taught in such classes to reflect society's cultural mix. Of course, if the utterance of "yes" and "no" have become redundant regarding consent in English, the same probably applies to other languages in our modern progressive society.

Bearing in mind the above, could consent not be indicated using the benefits of the digital age. Perhaps each mobile phone could have a full-screen bold depiction of "yes" and "no" to indicate consent, which would have the advantage of being also readable in darkness.

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