Why This Aussie Mum Wants Her Family To Get Consent Before Touching Baby Daughter

Why This Aussie Mum Wants Her Family To Get Consent Before Touching Baby Daughter

As Australia is still reeling from allegations of sexual assault and workplace harassment in Parliament House, an Aussie mum has gone viral on social media for sharing how she teaches consent to her own toddler. 

Brittany Baxter posted a video on TikTok in which she explains that she lets her toddler say no to hugs and kisses from relatives if she doesn’t want them. “As a parent, I practice consnt with my daughter and something’s really been bothering me, so I thought why not take it to TikTok so we can talk about it,” said Baxter. “Can we please start normalising the fact that kids do not have to kiss in front of adults?” 

Baxter went on to add: “My daughter’s almost two years old and I’ve been in the process of teaching her consent basically since the day that she’s been born, and I find it really f**king unhelpful when the adults in her life are like ‘What?! We have to ask for a kiss and a hug?’ Even though I’ve explained why multiple times. And then when she says no, they’re like, ‘Oh she doesn’t love me, my feelings are so hurt,’ and then they proceed to overstep her body boundaries anyway.”

Baxter’s address called for grandparents to do better and she described the situation her daughter experiences at home with her own relatives. “My daughter and her body do not exist to make anyone feel more comfortable and to make anyone feel more loved, it is not her fault and it’s not my fault that the older generation haven’t taken the time throughout their entire lives to learn how to regulate their emotions so consent doesn’t continue to be overlooked.”

“No one’s feelings are ever going to be more important than my daughter’s right to her own body and I’m sure as sh*t not going to allow her to grow up in an environment where 1. She doesn’t know how to say no, and 2. She doesn’t know what it looks like for her no to be respected,” said Baxter. “Grandparents, do better.”

The video quickly became a viral sensation, amassing more than 400,000 views with even more comments from people both supporting and criticising her parenting style. In an interview with Sunrise, Baxter explained that she makes family members ask her daughter for permission before touching her because “consent starts in the home.”

Baxter told the program: “If we can’t allow our children to say no and we can’t teach them that it’s ok to say no, how are they ever going to be able to do that when they find themselves in difficult situations where they feel uncomfortable?” 

As more women continue to step forward with their own stories of assault, harassment and violence, Baxter’s message is a timely one that deserves consideration. When news broke of Sarah Everard’s death in the United Kingdom, with reports alleging the killer was a police officer entrusted with protecting the public, women around the world began to share their own stories of fear and the quick thinking that has often helped them navigate their way out of such situations. The stories hit close to him for many, with the bottom line simply being that women never truly feel safe. That Baxter is on a mission to change this and raise a daughter who not only understands the power of her own voice when it comes to consent, but also knows consent to be respected, is a powerful message. 

She told Sunrise, “I think through explaining the importance of consent they [family members] have gotten on board with it.”

As for the mixed responses to her video, she paid it little mind. “A lot of people are very outraged which I understand, a lot of people have misunderstood the point of the message that I’m trying to get across. But a lot of people have been in support of it as well and that’s what has been amazing.”

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