Let the Truth Talk

Episode #6 - The Male Perspective & SVAM wrap up

June 04, 2021 Bow Valley Harmony Project Season 1 Episode 6
Episode #6 - The Male Perspective & SVAM wrap up
Let the Truth Talk
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Let the Truth Talk
Episode #6 - The Male Perspective & SVAM wrap up
Jun 04, 2021 Season 1 Episode 6
Bow Valley Harmony Project

In our final episode of season 1, Tara & Tandia talk with Graeme from Sacred Sons.  The Sacred Sons are a group that help men grow and awaken to their true power through circles, workshops, retreats, and online courses.    In our conversation, we talk about what it means to be a male feminist, why its important men find a space to share and connect with other men, the importance of modelling behaviour and what a culture of consent could look like with the male perspective.   

For more information on this group please check out https://www.sacredsons.com 


After our conversation with Graeme, we reflect on the past month and our key takeaways from Sexual Violence Awareness Month.   

For Tandia it was that it’s never too early to teach consent, “no” is a full answer, and the importance of setting personal boundaries.  For Tara it was the importance of modelling this behaviour, calling it out when we see consent not being respected in the media and the impact of practicing everyday consent in daily life.   


We are thrilled with the response to our first season and look forward to another in the near future.  If you have ideas or would like to collaborate with us please reach out.   We can be reached through our website www.harmonyproject.ca  


The Harmony Project’s diverse stakeholders through expertise and experience are working together to end sexualized violence in the Bow Valley.  The Harmony Project is funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services on behalf of the Government of Alberta. 

For more information please check out harmonyproject.ca

Show Notes Transcript

In our final episode of season 1, Tara & Tandia talk with Graeme from Sacred Sons.  The Sacred Sons are a group that help men grow and awaken to their true power through circles, workshops, retreats, and online courses.    In our conversation, we talk about what it means to be a male feminist, why its important men find a space to share and connect with other men, the importance of modelling behaviour and what a culture of consent could look like with the male perspective.   

For more information on this group please check out https://www.sacredsons.com 


After our conversation with Graeme, we reflect on the past month and our key takeaways from Sexual Violence Awareness Month.   

For Tandia it was that it’s never too early to teach consent, “no” is a full answer, and the importance of setting personal boundaries.  For Tara it was the importance of modelling this behaviour, calling it out when we see consent not being respected in the media and the impact of practicing everyday consent in daily life.   


We are thrilled with the response to our first season and look forward to another in the near future.  If you have ideas or would like to collaborate with us please reach out.   We can be reached through our website www.harmonyproject.ca  


The Harmony Project’s diverse stakeholders through expertise and experience are working together to end sexualized violence in the Bow Valley.  The Harmony Project is funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services on behalf of the Government of Alberta. 

For more information please check out harmonyproject.ca

Tara K  0:01   

Thanks for tuning in to our first season of let the truth talk. My name is Tara, 


Tandia WH  0:06   

and my name is Tandia. We are recording from Banff, Alberta, Canada. Before we get started, I would like to honor and acknowledge the traditional lands of Treaty Seven upon which Banff is located. With this land acknowledgement, we recognize that we have a responsibility to understand our history and the spirit and intent of Treaty Seven, so we can honor the past, be aware of the present, and build a future on peace, friendship and understanding. We would like to give thanks to the sacred grounds that were shared by the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations of the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley, the Blackfoot Confederacy, comprising of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai First Nations, and the Tsuu T’ina  of the Dene people. We also give our thanks to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. 


Tara K  0:49   

We both work with the harmony project based out of the YWCA in Banff. The harmony project brings together local service providers working towards ending sexual violence in our community. Through our collaborative and community minded approach. Our work focuses on education, awareness, prevention, training, and support for survivors and their family and friends 


Tandia WH  1:14   

are first season follows along with Sexual Violence Awareness Month. This year our theme is consent through the ages. 


Tara K  1:21   

We believe that anyone at any age can practice and teach consent in everyday life. Follow along with us as we bring in local experts to discuss how we can create cultures of consent. Before we get started, we just wanted to give a listeners note, while we are talking about everyday consent, the topic of sex, sexual assault, and other forms of violence are brought up in our conversations. listener discretion is advised. 


Host  1:55   

Alright, today's episode, we're doing it a little bit differently. We had planned for this to be our finale. It's technically is our finale. However, we had to have Graham on our show with us today. Graham, can you introduce yourself?  


For sure. My name is Graham Ford. 


GF 2:13   

I'm located here in canmore. And yeah, I work with sacred sons. So thank you for having me. Awesome.  


What is the sacred sons? 

GF  2:26   

 What is the sacred sons? It's the big question. 

 We are a men's work organization located in southern California. We've been around for around four ish years, give or take, and essentially, who we are, and what we do is we're men were fathers were sons were uncles. And we work together to kind of help redefine what healthy masculinity is. Because a lot of us never, never learned what it was growing up. So we use kind of ancient wisdom. 

And we focus on human development. We use a lot of ritual and ceremony and intentional spaces, to kind of deepen into brotherhood and connection. So that's who we are. And, and that's what we do. 


Host   3:16   

incredible work. Can you tell me a little bit more about what healthy masculinity means to you and maybe what it means to be feminist as a male? 


GF  3:26   

For sure, for sure. Um, I'll start with the first line. Healthy masculinity, for me means living from an authentic rooted, truthful space. 

Being aware and connected to myself, my emotions, my physical body, my spiritual body, 

 as well as understanding that I'm not alone. And recognizing that a lot of men and a lot of women as well have missed initiatory experiences that that we used to have as humans. And as a result, the center of the story is a lot of those people. And this kind of work is a part of this kind of work is to help people see themselves as 

a smaller piece of a greater story, but not the central piece of it  

So yeah, that's what healthy masculinity looks like to me. And I know, I know when I'm feeling healthy in my masculinity, because I'm feeling quite aligned. I have a gentleness a softness, a strength and a rootedness. That's, that's palpable in my body. feminism and sacred science. You know, I think for me, being a male feminist is about 

Supporting the divine feminine, and, and pushing up against those spoken and unspoken systems and powers that are in place to keep the feminine down, for lack of a better term. Feminism, for me is intersectional it crosses all areas of my life. And it's really about supporting each other so that all of us can rise to our full potential because that's, that's what we're here for. That's our that's our medicine. We're not humans aren't placed on the planet to not be able to share their, their innate truthful nature. So yeah. 


Host  5:47   

Fantastic. And so within sacred sons, obviously, you're creating sacred spaces. Why is this important for men to have this sense of a secret space? 


 GF 6:01   

Oh, I love this. I love that. Absolutely, yeah, we really focus on ceremony and ritual, in all of our in person gatherings, even our online gatherings. And, and a big part of this is reconnecting to spirit, reconnecting to something that is bigger than, than yourself. 

There, there is. Within there is a special, a uniqueness within the sacred that, that in our society, especially from a from a masculine perspective, has been pushed away. Nothing happens there, it doesn't move fast enough. There's other more important things to do. But reconnecting to to a piece that's bigger than us, as well as ourselves. That's what's that's what's sacred. 

And that's why that's so important in the work that we do, because there's no amount of change individual or, or greater change that, that can be created, if people aren't well rooted in themselves. And I mean, one thing we know for sure, and there's really very little argument to this is that life is intense. All of us, every single cent human being goes through intense experiences in their life. And there needs to be a space to process some of that intensity to move it. The Why is really irrelevant when speaking about trauma. 

 But it's trauma can loosely be defined as experiences that that you can't make meaning from. And what we need to do, particularly as men is move that energy move that stagnant, lifeforce energy, because if we don't, it remains, and the way in which we deal with that stagnant energy comes out in a whole bunch of sideways ways. So, so that's part of the sacredness piece. And it's often you know, in asking that question, that's often what brings maybe doesn't bring men to our groups. But that's something we hear consistently from men who attend, are our experiences Been that quiet, and so on, I haven't felt that connected. Something can be as simple as just dropping into your breath might be dropping into being out in nature and just deeply connecting might be connecting with another person. But that's, that's the element of sacredness that that we bring in try to foster. 


Host 8:50   

Great work you do. Within that? It seems like you're acting and as role models for each other. Why do you think that's so important? And what could be the impact of not having strong male role models in your life? 


GF 9:09   

Yeah, wow, great question. 

 Well, I think the impact of not having strong male role models in your life, we can look to our external world and see that anywhere. It can be pretty sideways. To put it nicely. We are there is a saying that we use a lot and sacred sons and that is just that we're mirrors for each other. 

There's, you know, I personally hold a belief that when held in a safe container of people have the capacity to do a lot of their own inner, inner healing work. Just by utilizing the mirrors of of other people around them. The truthful, authentic thing that are being seen by others. Um, 

you know, I know for myself I growing up, I certainly had some really positive masculine role models. And then I had the opposite side of the spectrum. And without positive male role models, what, what consistently we see is men coming to us who are  

on the edge, holding it together slightly, within a degree of, of losing it of breaking down. However, that looks. 

because there hasn't been capacities developed and built and shown that, that are supportive for men around expressing emotion is a huge one, identifying emotion, just feeling, feeling. If, if I had, if I had $1 for every time, I've had a man say to me, I don't know what happened. But I think I was just feeling I'd be, I'd be doing pretty okay, in the finance department right now. Yeah, it's that sense of the toxic masculinity that that sense of always having to, on the surface look like you have it together not expressing sadness or fear or, but like anger, for some reason is not. Not on that spectrum. But those, I'm using air quotes right now feminine, 

are not meant to be expressed, because then you're like, Oh, well, then you're not. You're not macho, you're not a man if you are crying, because something really upset you and you're going through trauma. And it's like, no, absolutely, absolutely. And I think all of us know how, how backwards that that thinking is, but what can happen and what we see happen with men, is that 

those feelings can be stuffed down and numbed for a long time, in some cases for entire lifetimes. But they continue to come back up. And particularly now during this new pandemic, reality world that we live in. A lot of these coping mechanisms are no longer working. We're seeing increases in substance use domestic violence, pornography, all of these different, different pieces. And these are all numbing techniques to escape. 

 What is it that I'm actually feeling? Because no one showed me what it looked like to feel as a man. So that's pretty terrifying, right? If we, if we go, if we go walking through the woods, and we hear something, we hear an animal in the trees, we know what to do, we might look around, we might make ourselves big, we might say, hey, bear. 

 But if you're sleeping in a tent in the woods at night, and you hear something outside of a tent, 

that's where the terror really comes online. Because I don't know what it is. So, you know, in a sense, you could kind of think of this idea of toxic masculinity as being that, that outside the tent, I don't know what it is, if I know what it is, even if it's a bear. I know I can handle it. But if I've never, ever, ever seen it, it's going to be terrifying. And I'm going to use anything in my power to avoid feeling it. Whatever numbing technique, whatever business technique are the number one business technique we see are the number one numbing technique we see is excessive business. You know, men who go, Hey, I made it on this call, and I'm so happy. This is my 25th call of the day. Whoa, whoa, whoa, brother. 

 Take a breath. How are you feeling? There's a big disconnection that we see with a lot of men not all but a lot of men in between their physical body and how they're feeling. dissociation is learned quite early for a lot of young men. 

It don't feel that don't feel that I can't tell you the number of times in competitive sports. were growing up I would go and you know, I play soccer and be tackled really hard, really hurt, really hurt. limp over to the sideline. You get, well, the reality is no I just want to cry and I kind of want someone to hold me and make sure my knees gonna be okay. And yeah, I'm good. I'm fine. disconnecting from my body. 


Host  15:02   

Do you have any suggestions for how we can support in creating a safe place for men to explore these concepts or suggestions for parents of young boys that are experiencing exactly that they are hurting, but they're, they don't know how to express it. So that we can create a next generation of men that are able to express or start to create a next generation of men that are able to feel safe to express these feelings? 

GF    15:44   

Yeah, you know, there's, there's, there's a big body of thought going on, in kind of the men's work world around this right now. But the very, very, the root of it, and the most basic thing is, create a space, create a space where men can get together. And that's, that's a space where men just get together and checking that might be having, having, having someone call up, or email three other three other friends who are men and say, Hey, you know, I just read this article, or I just watch this YouTube thing. It's kind of kind of neat. I'm wondering, could we all watch it and maybe like, meet for 45 minutes on Saturday? And just, I don't know, talk about what you thought about it. It's First of all, creating that space, because even today in 2021, that's still very, I mean, 

it's, it's almost, it's awkward. Like, I can't tell you the number of times when people come up and say you do men's groups. What do you do? Well, we just get together as men and hang out. Oh, see, like, go and drink beers and watch hockey? Well, no, we go and we meet and just check in. Maybe take a few breaths. Hey, how are you? What's alive in your body right now? Are you feeling Oh, I feel shaky. I feel I feel sad. I feel really scared. So that's, that's piece number one. and encouraging men to do that as much as possible, making it a ritual, right? Every Saturday at 10am. I get up. And I have my little our chat with the boys. And sometimes we might just talk about hockey, great, great. 

 But we're connecting as men in a space that's safe and secure. To be our authentic selves. Sometimes we may connect about Ah, 

 I'm so scared about my partner. I'm so scared about my job. I'm so scared about it doesn't matter. But that's the first piece. The second piece for younger, younger boys. You know, there's this this wonderful phrase that's like, Do what I say but not what I do. That's what I grew up with. 

 And the reality is, it's just about embodying the example. So you know, I'm a father. And I have I have a preteen Well, I guess teen now. And sometimes, the interactions don't go in ways that either of us would want. So my job is to show him to him body to come back and say, Hey, Pal, I gotta tell you, 

that didn't feel good for me. And this is how I feel about it. There's no judgement. I'm not saying you're right. I'm wrong. I'm right. You're wrong. None of that. 

 It's just here's true, authentic communication, man to man. And that's the first step. And the second step to that is, moms, dads. Bring your boys together. Take them outside, let them have initiatory experiences, where they're having a great time. And then after we talk, how did that feel when you hiked up Ha Ling?  Man, I was real scared. I was real tired. Well, that was really easy. I felt really confident. Wow, wow. It's in moments like this, that cultures start to get changed. 


Host  19:04   

So yeah, yeah, I think I know moving forward with the harmony project. It's a goal of mine to get some male specific programming started in our community. And it seems like we're talking to you from the YWCA and like, we host women's circles and like a lot of our programs definitely are targeted towards women. But we know the stats like a lot of our perpetrators are the offenders of sexual and domestic violence are men. So it's almost like being the put the fire out before it starts. like can we create a culture of men who are respectful in in the community but also towards themselves like setting their personal boundaries, recognizing their own emotions, being able to deal with things that come up in healthy and safe ways because they Know that they've got that community of support behind them? I think it's 

it may seem nuanced or like kind of far fetched being the YWCA. But I think I think there's so much importance. And I know that there's been great success from the male specific programming out of the Center for sexuality and other programs that have been running for a few years now. 


GF  20:25   

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think, you know, that's, that's the beginning of cultural change, right? Like, when we, when we look at these are we hear these horrific stats, you know, one in one in three women in in our country have experiences some form of sexualized violence in their life, one in six men, like that was a stat that for me, I was like, wow, women are experiencing this is horrendous men are experiencing, oh, my goodness, oh, my. And there's, you know, it starts with, with these dialogues, these, these pieces of helping to kind of redefine what the, what, what healthy masculinity may look like, for people, because everyone's gonna have their own individual slightly varied version of it. And also a big piece, you know, we have seven pillars that we, that we embody, that we work with at Sacred sons, and, you know, their brotherhood accountability, acceptance, listening, Authenticity, vulnerability, and inter sovereignty. And inter sovereignty is a big one, because that essentially is saying, like, I'm acknowledging the part within myself, that acknowledges the part within you. And, and we are, we are one in the same, you know, we're different and have our own unique, different pieces. But when connection is brought into the P into the picture, what we know is that isolation doesn't work. It doesn't work. And when someone is rooted in isolation, it's really easy to act out against others. Because it's only that person, right? They're the only center of the story. As soon as we get folks to understand it embody inter sovereignty, it's like, wow, you're a part of me, and I'm a part of you. And, and there's, there's a lot of medicine within that. You know, working, 

working with, I think there's a great deal of shame for a lot of men in our culture around the notion of sexualized violence. Because of the stats I just spoke. And shame. So, lots of pieces of, well, that's not me, that's someone else. Well, that's not really talking about connectedness, right? That's individualism. And, and they're not, they can't coexist. So. So, absolutely. running programs out of the Y around like, hey, what, what is being what is being a healthy man look like to you? How do you want to live in the world? How do you want to live in the world? What is consent? actually mean to you? How do you practice consent? You know, is, is consent, something you ever experienced? I love to play sports growing up, I absolutely adored them. I don't think I ever had an experience on a field that was rooted in the question of consent. rooted in desire to play, but not the question of consent. 


Host and GF 23:29   

Oh, sorry. Keep Oh, no, no, no, no, that's okay. That's okay. 


Host  23:34   

I was just gonna ask you to dig into that a little bit more. So like, What does Everyday Consent look like for you as a man, whether it's on the sports field, or it's just in your everyday life? 


GF  23:46   

Yeah. So that's a great question. Um, consent for me starts within myself. So my first steps towards consent before I even consider consent with others, or doing external things is how do I feel within myself. And that's that ability to connect within myself. And people do this in a lot of different ways. You know, it might be breathwork, it might be meditation, it might be taking 10 deep breaths, while I'm driving to Safeway, and just checking in with my body, how am I feeling? That's my first step of consent. Okay, I've, I've started my, my practice with something like that. Moving forth from that. It's really consent for me is really checking in with myself about any decision I'm about to make, and how do I feel within that? And then, if I'm feeling like, hey, that's a green light, that's a good idea. I want to send out this message to so and so I want to go 

dance with this person on the dance floor. Then, if I'm feeling good with that, now it becomes the question of extending that extent consent. Hey, would you like to dance with me? And understanding that that's my desire. But we're interweaved. And whatever your responses is your response, and it's not a judgment on me, that's, that's your own experience. And then moving through the world in that way. 

You know, there's, I think, for a lot of men, because of that body disassociation piece, what we know is that checking in with ourselves, can be really, really challenging, really foreign to start with, really, really foreign. 

GF  25:41   

If you if you go to a yoga class, and you watch maybe a new male who comes in who's doesn't have any experience with yoga, often, you'll see something like, wow, I don't know what happened, but I feel great. I feel so different. Well, you just connected with your body is what happened. That's what happened. And, and that kind of alludes to how, how disconnected a lot of men are. 

And that comes into that business piece, don't feel do one of my favorite things to, to say to men, when they're going through and processing feelings is stop talking and start feeling you know, because will often get this explanation, I'm angry, because it doesn't matter why you're angry. 

 You want to tell that story. That's cool. And we can make notes of it. But that's really not the important piece here. The important piece here is that you're angry. 

Feel that How does that feel in your body? Where do you feel my palms get sweaty, you know, my, my neck blows up, I can feel the vein in the center of my forehead pop out. 

Because like, we know, you know, one thing we know as well is that we're born in relationship. We're wounded in relationship, and we're healed in relationship. 

 There is there is no isolation in that. None of us come into the world in isolation. None of us. None of us are wounded in isolation. None of us are healed in isolation. And this is this is where there's power in groups. Right? So, so yeah, the consent piece, really, I think, for myself, I know starts with me. And I, I can extrapolate to a lot of the men who I've worked with, and I know that it also starts for them within giving consent to themselves, show up authentically, be your true self. 

 Wow, wow. Once I can do that, then I'm on point with consent with other people in the external world. Because I'm checking in with myself. 

Host  27:52   

That's such a good answer. 


Host  27:55   

Thank you, like I really love that you bring into the equation, consent for me and consider the other person because it's an awareness of what I want, and being comfortable saying that and what I need and what I'm feeling, and extending that to the next person, and giving them the same respect to figure out what they really want. And then hearing that, so thank you for bringing that up. Do you have any suggestions or any resources for men who are struggling to find a safe place? 


GF  28:26   

Yeah, certainly, there's, um, like, first and foremost, that's a sacred sons calm. We're, we're a global community. Now we have folks from some so many countries. And that's a online community as well as in person where pandemic restrictions are allowing. Here in the bow Valley, there's bow Valley sacred sons as well. And there's other organizations, there's the mankind project, which runs similar sort of experiences, man and civilized is another one. The rising wolf brotherhood out of Cranbrook is another one, he three brotherhood out of Fort St. JOHN is another one. But these are all birthed out of the essence of just getting together with other men. 

Host 29:17   

And then just a quick question on those are these groups Yes, they're for men. But are they just for straight men? Or are is anyone welcome to join in that identifies? 

GF  29:42   

 Yeah, you know what, this is a great question. And I really appreciate that you brought it up. So all of all of these groups are open to anyone who identifies as a man, anyone who identifies as a man and, and that's a really important distinction to make. So these are open to anyone who identifies as a man and, and I know for us at Sacred sons we're starting to bring in 

some females in as well for different speaking engagements pieces. 

Like this, and, you know, our hope for the future is that this kind of work can be extended to families, as well. And, but there is something unique about being a man and sitting in a circle with men, people who identify as men, because we very much in the same way as being a woman, and sitting in a woman's circle has a very unique flavor. I've sat in a few women's circles, and although riveting, they probably weren't. Yeah, I didn't resonate as much, right? Because they're just different experiences. So, so yeah, we're, anyone who identifies as a man is, is well known. We have a lot of folks. 

We have some folks who have transitioned we have folks of all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. 


Host  30:52   

Yeah, we're, that's, that's kind of who is attending or your groups? Oh, that's fantastic. That's good to hear. Um, all right. Well, thank you so much for your time. We just got one final question for you. We want to know, how do you practice everyday consent? 


GF  31:12   

Yes. Well, you know, I start within I have, I have a pretty disciplined morning practice of kind of waking up drinking water meditating. And that's, that's the beginning of my journey with consent. And throughout the day, it's just coming back to myself, and asking myself, how am I feeling about this? How do I feel right now. And from there, during that, that understanding and to all the interactions I have throughout the day, 

I'm a big proponent and believer that consent needs to come from myself first. If my body isn't consenting to getting out of bed, then I'm forcing my body out of bed. How on earth would I expect to be able to root my day in consent? If I started in that way? Right. That doesn't mean lay in bed all day. That means acknowledge what does my body need right now? Hey, gee, I just need two more minutes of sleep, man. I need one more gallon of water I need. I need to go hug the dog. I need to go. I need to go say a prayer. I need to go bring some fresh air. I really want to play my guitar. Okay, perfect. Let's start with that. Okay, I've acknowledged right, I've, I've given consent to myself. So now I can go about my day. And there's a there's a really beautiful, saying Hola, Pono Pono? Are you too familiar with that saying? Yeah, the Hawaiian forgiveness. Yeah, the Hawaiian forgiveness. And, and I have this personally written on my bathroom mirrors. But I know a lot of men who I've worked with also have this in various places. And every day, I have a little picture of a little g of myself when I had a lot of hair and was a lot shorter. And, and I look at that picture every morning, when I'm brushing my teeth or washing my face. And I say that prayer to myself three times, you know? 

 Yeah, I'm sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you. Wow, wow, wow. 

 What a way to start a day. Right. And that's just something that works for me. But consent starts within myself. And then it moves out. If I don't give myself consent to feel how I'm feeling. It's really, in my experience really challenging to be able to operate from a consent based center? Because I haven't given myself that permission. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. What a great way to kind of summarize this topic of Everyday Consent starts with you and with you so that we can share it with the world. 


Host  34:08   

Graham, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciated you talking about the importance and just bringing in a male perspective. Yeah, thank you. It's been a real privilege talking with you. Well, thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.  


And yeah, sacredsons.com. And yeah, you know, let's, let's keep working on these cultural shifts so that the world is a better place for all of us.  


 I couldn’t agree more. Thank you again. Thank you. 




TK  34:47   

Well, we've come to the end of our first season. I'm so grateful for all of the community collaboration that we've had for these first six episodes. 



TW  35:00   

Yeah, we've had some really great guests on I feel like I've learned a  Lot and yeah, they're really wonderful to talk with and they had some amazing insights and resources. It's been a good month.  

TK  35:15   

Yeah, I've been like, so happy with just from our initial proposal of the podcast, the response from our own team from the Y and from the community in general just made it, I think, a very successful pilot project. 

 TK 35:30   

So we are at the end of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. tandia. Do you have any key takeaways? 


TW 35:46 

 Oh, you bet I do. I feel like I've learned so much of this month, it's been so great to have so many different perspectives, come on. 


I think one of my biggest takeaways is that many of us are already practicing consent every day. We think it's super scary and complicated. Like we need to get our lawyers out, we need a checklist and be like, do you consent to this? When it's not, It's as simple as Do you want fries with that? Do you want ketchup? 

TW 36:06   

Yeah, like, practicing, asking and saying no, or Yes, in daily situations gives us the skills to do these actions when it really matters. 

After we spoke with right from the start, I really took from that that it's never too early to teach consent. It can be done in a whole bunch of different age appropriate ways, depending on the age of your kiddos. And that can look like body awareness, correct anatomy, power of choice, bodily autonomy. 

 And with sexual consent when we when we get there, if they're asking about it, it's time to start talking about it. If we're not chatting with them about it, they're probably getting answers from less reliable sources, like other kids or online. So if we chat with them, and make sure they have the right facts and a safe place, and give them a safe place to ask these questions. 


TW  37:00   

I really thought that body awareness and body autonomy and power of choice was super important. It's all about like, what does your body want. And this helps us in the future to know what we want, and know that when it matters and know how to set boundaries, which ties into my next takeaway. When we spoke with Melissa, from Canmore  counseling, we talked a lot about consent within ourselves. And sometimes we forget that we need to ask ourselves for consent to that. Being aware of what I want, am I okay with this and being okay to say, No, or yes  


TW  37:37   

And knowing what we want and knowing how to ask for it. And, and this is especially true for some of our young girls. It's true for everybody, but I've seen it with myself growing up and other young women, that we don't always know how to set those boundaries and know what know what we want. We've never really talked about it. And I really would like to see a future where girls and everyone else can own their sexuality and know that sex isn't only about the other person, it's about us too, and only doing things that we want because we want to, and this ranges from going for bike ride to sexual acts. It's the whole spectrum. 


TW  38:15   

And I think, and then my last big takeaway, there's again, so much I've learned it's not just these two things, but these are my big messages. Is that no is a full answer. And accepting no can be tricky. But it's important. It's an important lesson for us to learn. So questions and answers don't have to be complicated. As adults, we often feel the need to explain ourselves, like for me, is no I don't want that cookie, I'm on a diet. I'm not on a diet. I just don't want the cookie. But that's hard to do. 


TW  38:49   

But then we go back to kids, and if you ask them don't play in the sandbox with me, or do you want a cookie? They're like, No, thank you. Or Yes, please. And then they go on with their life. But as we get older, it gets more and more complicated. And we feel like 


TK  39:06   

drinking the second someone refuses an alcoholic drink. It's like are you pregnant? Are you in recovery? Are you are you are you are you is like, No, I just don't want to drink.  



Right? Totally. Totally. Yeah, it's so funny. And like some simple answer. No, thank you. That's the end of the conversation. If you don't want to do something you don't have to. And then that goes back to the accepting No, this goes for all of your relationships, friends, family, romantic, new relationships, old relationships, even like if you've been dating someone for 10 years, and they've always said yes to a glass of wine at the end of the day. And then one day they don't. You're not like drink the wine. Like you just accept it be like, Oh, I'm learning something new about you. And part of that accepting 'No’ as being a safe, safe place for someone to express what they really want and express their boundaries and know that their boundaries are going to be respected and makes for a really beautiful and healthy relationship. And it encourages openness and curiosity and learning things about your partner and your friends, or your co workers that you never knew. 


Transcribed by https://otter.ai