YOUNG VOICES

BBC's #SexOnTrial: People Are Gobsmacked At How Little Teenagers Know About Rape And Consent

02/11/2015 22:35 GMT | Updated 03/11/2015 09:59 GMT

A programme aired by the BBC has left many reeling with shock as to how little some teenagers know about sexual consent and rape.

BBC Three produced 'Is This Rape? Sex On Trial' to find out what young people in Britain understand around the issue.

A total of 24 young people were invited to watch a drama, which featured a man having oral sex with a woman while she was seemingly unresponsive, and decide "is this rape"? The group then had to vote, and the public watching the programme were also allowed to voice their opinion.

One female in the group said: "If she didn’t show she was up for it [but] at the same time she didn’t do anything to stop it - I think that…it could be taken as consent."

A young man added: "She did make some signs that could be interpreted as consent."

Asked if rape would be too strong a term to put on what the boy in the video did, one of the group said: "Yeah, I do, it's quite - it's quite harsh. But it's close to rape."

Addressing the group, one of the young women added: "She didn't say no. And like you said before, it could have just been because she couldn't be bothered to say no, which.. we've all been in a situation with a boy trying to force themselves on us. And you just.. in the end you're just kinda of like urgh, ok, fine, whatever."

Speaking to the camera in private, the teenager later added: "They [the rest of the group] were throwing around really harsh accusations straight away that he was raping her and it was morally wrong. But then if you actually took that into a real life scenario and someone gave someone else a blow job at a party, it's not unheard of. The fact that they had history together.. it just to me didn't seem bad."

Another described it as a "semi rape", with one saying it was a "misunderstanding".

Of the group, 13% said the girl in the video consented to the oral sex, 54% said no, and 33% said they didn't know.

Some felt the programme left a lot to be desired:

While others felt it highlighted the need for more education around sexual consent:

And a few thought the programme was doing a better job than schools are at educating young people about rape.

But, as it turns out, the general population have a far better idea about what constitutes rape than those who appeared on the programme:

During the second half of the programme, the two teenagers, Gemma and Tom, who featured in the drama appeared in court, with Tom accused of raping Gemma.

The group of teenagers are then asked if they still consider the incident rape.

"His life is going to be ruined by a misunderstanding," one female teen insists, while another says she has changed her mind and now considers the incident was rape.

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