Tessa Hill & Lia Valente
TEEN ACTIVISTS BEHIND THE 'WE GIVE CONSENT' CAMPAIGN & 'ALLEGEDLY' THE MOVIE
TESSA HILL AND Lia Valente were no strangers to sexism and harassment, even at age thirteen. Growing up in Ontario, Canada, they had heard stories from their friends about catcalling and slut shaming in the hallways at school and on social media. They’d learned from older siblings and the media about “rape culture,” especially common on college campuses, where sexual assault is rarely punished and where survivors of all genders are often disregarded or even seen as at fault.
“My strength to stand up against them... came from the fact that I didn't really think that talking about consent was a negotiable issue.”
- Tessa, on how she and Lia were able to stand up to those who opposed their campaign.
So when asked to choose a social justice topic they cared about for an eighth grade school project in 2014, they chose to tackle rape culture. Lia and Tessa started by filming their own documentary, Allegedly, which was not only viewed in their class but also featured on the Huffington Post and seen by nearly ten thousand people on YouTube. Then they created a Change.org petition called “We Give Consent” to fight for the concept of consent to be added to the sex education curriculum in their province, Ontario. More than forty thousand people signed the petition and left comments with their reasons for signing that ranged from their roles as parents to their perspectives as survivors to their admiration for Lia and Tessa. Though the reasons behind them differed, every signature and comment helped Tessa and Lia build meaningful support for their movement.”