Consensual Relationships

Understanding what a consensual relationship means is essential for adolescent girls and their ability to exercise their SRHR.

What are consensual relationships?
• Sexual relationships that are practised in a safe and responsible manner
• Free, non-exploitative, honest, mutually pleasurable relationships
• Relationships that take into account each partner’s religious, cultural or traditional beliefs (including not having sex before marriage, being faithful to one partner etc.)

Useful Example – ‘Feel Free’
MIFUMI is a women-led organisation working to end domestic violence in Uganda by working with survivors and their organisations to increase their support, to enable them to become more effective and skilful, and to promote women’s rights. As part of their programming, MIFUMI uses karate with girls ages 10-16 to help empower them to defend themselves while providing education about domestic violence. Participants undergo an initial intensive training over 14 days and thereafter meet in their respective teams once a week to undergo training. Trainings consist of two parts: karate/taekwondo, and domestic violence and child protection using a resource pack “Feel Free” developed by MIFUMI to explore conflict management, relationships and domestic violence.

In one session, MIFUMI invites participants to define what a relationship is. They advocate that a relationship means ‘different things to different people’ and that relationships will develop in different ways depending on the self’s needs and the needs of the person that the relationship is connected with. They educate using the prompt method e.g. ‘We have relationships in our communities through…’