In 2018, FORCE formed Youth Voices for Consent (YVC), a paid, youth-led program for young people to discuss issues of power and consent while creating innovative consent culture campaigns through art and performance, because we believe young people’s concerns about sexual violence need to be heard in order to end the cycle of trauma. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), the majority of survivor’s experience violence before the age of 21. Our mission was to empower young people with skills to recognize boundaries and express themselves, build healthy relationships, and shift the narrative about young people in Baltimore.
In 2019, during the final display of The Monument Quilt, YVC organized a Youth Summit inviting young people (ages 14-20) to the National Mall to take part in What is Rape? a youth-led conversation and art workshop about disrupting rape culture that culminated in an Open Mic. This space gave teens the option to share their art and thoughts with the broader Monument Quilt event.
In 2020, through an extensive recruitment process, we hired Youth Residents from across Baltimore City who gained professional skills in artistic, entrepreneurial, and organizing development by using art to spark conversations about consent. YVC took place in Spring and Summer 2020 (virtual due to COVID-19) and was leaded by creative and passionate Youth Residents that collaborated with other young people to create visual and/or performance art to teach other young people about consent and healthy relationships. In the Fall of 2020, YVC became its own independent organization.