Youth Voices for Consent (YVC) is a youth-led platform to end sexual violence and the cycle of trauma. In 2018, this program was created FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an artistic activism collective that uses art actions to build a culture of consent. YVC is a space for young people to discuss issues of power and consent that need to be heard. In YVC, youth rework harmful concepts about sex and relationships through art-based consent education and visual campaigns.
Last year, FORCE worked with CAC alumni E Cadoux to develop YVC and manage the first year of the program. Maia Owen joined FORCE as a CAC member this year and conducted outreach to young people from across Baltimore City in the fall to hire 10 Youth Residents for this year's spring session. Youth Residents gain professional skills in artistic, entrepreneurial, and organizing development by using art to spark conversation about consent and educate people of all ages.
In the short amount of time that the program has existed, YVC's Youth Residents have done a tremendous amount of work to shape the future of consent education. YVC's Youth Resident team includes illustrators, photographers, public speakers, organizers, and writers who find innovative ways to collaborate. Before the pandemic, YVC hosted monthly movie nights titled "Consent in Pop Culture" to discuss instances where film and television got consent right. In addition to public events, YVC's team also created a zine about practicing self care in a capitalist society with a breadth of artworks and writing made by Youth Residents.
Using social media has become a pivotal way YVC's has remained engaged with the community during the pandemic. On Instagram Live, we host a weekly talk show to discuss relevant issues. This summer, Youth Residents will begin hosting evidence-based virtual workshops for families to teach elementary school aged children how to recognize physical boundaries, say "NO" to abuse and bullying, and report abuse to trusted adults.
• Facebook: Force
• Instagram: upsettingrapeculture
• Website: youthvoicesforconsent.org