'Patronising and abstract'

A still from the federal government's advertising campaign depicts teens drinking milkshakes.

Macedon Ranges locals are calling for clearer messaging from the federal government’s education campaign aimed to teach consent to school students.
The government last week pulled two of its most controversial videos that used a milkshake and a shark analogy to discuss the concept of consent, which had been criticised as being patronising and abstract.
Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health CEO Phillip Ripper told the Express the videos failed to deliver a clear message on sexual consent.
“Young people are already having these conversations and the use of analogies trivialises the issue and is confusing and simplistic to anyone viewing the content, not just those from the target audience,” he said.
“Young people don’t want to be patronised and this campaign feels out of touch with the well-informed, engaged young people that we work with. The complexities of consent, sexual assault and rape need to be unequivocally named.”
The health service provider joined the Loddon Gender Equality and Violence Prevention Consortium last week in calling for the campaign to pulled until all content is reviewed by sector experts and teenagers themselves.
“We’d like to see the federal government’s resources align with the established evidence base that has been built over a number of years and demonstrated in publications such as the ‘Change the Story’ framework,” Mr Ripper said.
“We would also like to more clearly see evidence of consultation and co-design with young people over the development of such resources.”
Local teen Miranda Johnson-Jones, who was Macedon Ranges Young Citizen of the Year, told the Express the campaign messaging was “most certainly not clear enough”.
“When I first watched the ‘milkshake video’ I was extremely confused,” she said.
“As a young person, I believe that our politicians and national leaders do not give us as youth enough credit. We are smarter, more mature and are more than capable of taking on a concept like consent and learning it in school. We do not need these euphemisms and ‘quirky’ explanations to learn about it, just tell us how it is.”
Miranda was one of the Macedon Ranges Youth Ambassadors involved in the development of a video It’s Time to Talk, which addresses sexual assault front-on with matter-of-fact messaging.
She said the federal government’s campaign “is attempting to handle the same topic, but is far off what students want”.
It’s Time to Talk gives you the facts and is straight up about the issue and why it needs to be targeted,” Miranda said.
“We wanted to deliver a factual and easy to comprehend resource that is clearly lacking in national curriculum, something this governmental campaign has failed to deliver.”
It’s Time to Talk was created by youth in consultation from experts including Centre Against Sexual Assault and Victoria Police’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team.
In an online statement last week, Department of Education secretary Michele Bruniges the government’s videos were removed after a review of the $7.8 million Respect Matters campaign.
“In response to community and stakeholder feedback, two videos have been removed from The Good Society website,” the statement read.
“The website contains about 350 resources aimed to support teachers and parents to educate students across all age groups about respectful relationships more broadly.”
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has stated the campaign was created by experts and reviewed by subject matter experts. It stated it would continue to work with experts and stakeholders to update and refine content as required.