Isn't it a question of consent?

September 3, 2018


Over recent evenings, I've been having some interesting discussions with my 13 year old about the punching/play fight incident in Celebrity Big Brother. We watch CBB together so that I can talk with him about any issues, I find it a useful way of engaging him in meaningful discussion whilst he's not got his head in Fortnite!


Everyone seems to have their own take on the Roxy/Ryan debate and there definitely seems to be more sympathy with Ryan from commentary I've read and views from friends. In discussions with my son (also in the Ryan camp) I've tried to encourage broader thinking about the issue, for example the previous experiences of those involved (eg. Prior abuse), the relationship between them, what constitutes abuse, differences in how people experience touch, different body sizes, intention and perhaps most importantly...consent.


I think consent is key here. Is it ok to touch someone without asking? If you've engaged in play-fighting before is it ok to do it again without permission? What if someone doesn't like the way you have touched them? What do we do if someone has touched us in a way we don't like? The CBB clip could provide rich discussion in an RSE lesson on consent. When does touch become abusive? What are the laws around consent?


We should never dismiss how someone feels, regardless of their celebrity status and the nature of the TV programme they are on. I feel uncomfortable with the hatred I see expressed on social media towards Roxy. She has a right to express her feelings and have them acknowledged, just as Ryan has the right to understand why she feels that way and how he has hurt her and to apologise/comfort if this was not his intention. Why can't we show a little more empathy with all parties?


The PSHE Association has some useful lessons on how to explore consent with pupils:


Support for those experiencing domestic abuse can be found here:


If you need support developing an RSE curriculum, training staff or require workshops for students please visit my website


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