An Australian sexuality expert has divided the Internet over suggesting parents should be asking their babies for permission to change their nappies.

 

Deanne Carson, the founder of Body Safety Australia, said her recommendations are in order to secure a “culture of consent” from birth.

 

Speaking in an ABC News segment about teaching consent to young children, Carson explained that while she works with kids from the age of three, she also works with parents of newborns.

 

 

According to the expert, to establish a culture of consent from birth means asking permission before changing your baby's nappy.

 

"I'm going to change your nappy now, is that okay?" Ms Carson said of her approach to infant consent. "Of course a baby isn't going to respond 'yes mum that's awesome, I'd love to have my nappy changed'" the researcher, speaker and author continued.

 

"But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye-contact then you're letting that child know that their response matters."


Ms Carson's comments have attracted a mixture of understanding and backlash on social media. Reportedly, Sky News commentator Rowan Dean labelled the advice "left lunacy".

 

Twitter users weighed in on the debate and one person replied to her thread saying:

 

 

Another added that asking for an infants consent sound "absurd": 

 

 

A consent form was suggested by a person highlighting how ridiculous she felt the expert's comments were. 

 

 

However, other tweets supported Carson's message. 

 

 

The conservation around consent is "crucial" and needs to be opened said one reply:

 

 

A Twitter user said while she understood the expert's intentions, she hoped Carson would reconsider her stance.

 

 

Ms Carson addressed the mixed reactions on a now deleted Facebook post, noting that she had been trolled and "ridiculed" simply for advocating for babies to have bodily autonomy.

 

"I gave an interview the other day about teaching consent to young children," she wrote. "Sadly, some people have chosen to ridicule me (oh no! Pink hair! Must be a lesbian!) and the notion of giving infants bodily autonomy (poo in nappies har har amiright?!)"

 

For those people, she wrote, I'm posting this.

 

"One in three girls, one in seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are eighteen years old. One in twelve girls will be sexually abused before their sixth birthday.

 

"The work we do with children, teachers and parents is international best practice in abuse prevention. It teaches children their rights AND their responsibilities and connects them with people who care and can help. It invites their parents into the discussion and is sensitive to cultural and family values.

 

"Troll me all you want, add to your blog inches, but remember that when you do, you are negating the voices of these brave survivors of sexual abuse."

 

In light of the negativity on her Twitter thread, the expert added:

 

 

Do you think you need your baby's consent to change their nappy?

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