Derrick Rose Points out Why Comprehensive Sex Ed Is So Important

September 19th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

NBA player Derrick Rose is engulfed in a legal battle against a woman who said that, in 2013, he and two friends sexually assaulted her after she had too much to drink.

Rose’s legal team maintains the sexual encounter was consensual. There is, however, one glaring problem; Rose reportedly told Doe's lawyers during a deposition that he didn’t understand what consent was.

derrick rose

Deadspin reports the Doe's lawyer read the following portion of deposition transcript to reporters during a conference call: 

Question: Do you have an understanding as to the word consent?

Derrick Rose: No. But can you tell me?

Question: I just wanted to know if you had an understanding.

Derrick Rose: No.

According to ThinkProgress, Rose lawyer didn't deny that his client "did not not know the definition of consent."

The comments are not only potentially damning for Rose, but also implicate an education system in which someone can graduate into adulthood without understanding a basic and fundamental concept like consent.

Sadly, it’s not very surprising.

Less than half of the states in this country require that sexual education is taught in schools. And even in those states where sex ed is required, consent enters the conversation in ways that are inadequate, if it gets brought up at all. 

As Lane Florsheim wrote for the New Republic in 2013, "When consent and sexual assault are addressed, current curricula typically eschew complicated conversations in favor of an unfortunate message that has lately been the subject of massive debate: Don’t get raped."

This lack of comprehensive sexual education keeps conversations around consent either niche or narrowly defined — leading to misguided notions that make no room for the idea that someone can change their mind or that pressuring someone into sex is wrong.

The longstanding consequences for this are about as obvious as they are devastating, including teen pregnancy and the contracting of STIs or STDs. People between the ages of 15 to 24 represent half of the population that acquire STDs, even though they only represent a quarter of the sexually active population, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Though sexual assault has much to do with people asserting power and unwarranted dominance, undoubtedly a lack of understanding around consent has contributed to problem of sexual assault on college campuses, from the students that commit it to a justice system that many feel punishes them insufficiently


Consent education is slowly making progress. 

It was only last year that California became the first state to require high school health classes to teach affirmative consent and replace "no means no" with "yes means yes." In 2014, the state also led the charge by making affirmative consent the standard on college campuses. 

But as Rose's deposition shows, the effort to ensure students are learning about consent before they reach adulthood still has a long way to go.