Inside a Catholic school in Portland, Oregon, high school sophomores break into groups to discuss some once-taboo topics: abusive relationships and consent.
At one desk, a girl with banana-colored fingernails begins jotting down some of the hallmarks of abuse: Physically hurting you, verbally abusive, can be one-sided. She pauses to seek input from her classmates, boys and girls alike, before continuing: “It messes up your mentality and your, like, confidence.”
For the first time this year, Central Catholic High School, like public schools in the city, is using educators from a domestic violence shelter to teach kids about what it means to consent. The goal is to reduce sexual violence and harassment among teens and help them understand what behavior is acceptable — and what’s