Fired Up about Consent

Fired Up about Consent

By Sarah Ratchford


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  • Ontario Library Association's Best Bets Selection, 2021 (Joint winner)
  • Independent Publisher Book Award Bronze Medalist, Juvenile-Young Adult Non-fiction, 2023 (Winner)

According to the World Health Organization, one in three women will be sexually or physically assaulted in her lifetime. These rates are very similar for non-binary people and other feminized people, too. This is rape culture, and young adults are living through it here and now. Fired Up about Consent is a practical, survivor-informed primer for young people who want to learn how to build joyful, mutually satisfying sex lives and relationships.

In these pages, author Sarah Ratchford defines rape and sexual assault, busts the myths behind toothless messaging and outdated advice, and provides sex-positive scripts on how to ask for and offer a clear, enthusiastic, and freely given “Yes!” Along the way, Ratchford touches on topics such as #MeToo, gender identity, masturbation, virginity, porn, sex work, reporting assault, and more, all through a radically inclusive and intersectional lens.

The message is loud and clear: not only is consent sexy, it’s mandatory—and everyone deserves frank and empowering literacy around it. Only with empathy, compassion, and resistance can we move forward into a new culture of consent.

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In Fired Up about Consent, Sarah Ratchford puts forward a roadmap to dismantling what they astutely describe as an epidemic of sexualized violence against women, femmes, and feminized people, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. An invaluable resource for young people of all genders, their book should also be committed to memory by every parent, every teacher, every doctor and every cop—because until those in positions of power and influence clearly understand rape and consent, the ‘grey areas’ where womxn are abused and rapists bypass consequences will continue to exist.

– Charlotte Herrold, editor-in-chief, FLARE

This book acts as a vital roadmap to a culture founded on radical—and necessary—consent. Young readers will find it jam-packed with information, insight, and empathy. A foundational read for anyone working to tear down a system that harms us all.

– Lauren McKeon, author of No More Nice Girls: Gender, Power, and Why It’s Time to Stop Playing By the Rules

Sarah Ratchford’s Fired Up about Consent is a powerful, well researched, no-holds-barred book about consent. Whether you’re hoping to deepen your understanding about consent and rape culture, or learning about these issues for the first time, this book will walk you through its challenging subject matter in a way that is direct, inclusive, practical, and also deeply thoughtful.

– Danielle Younge-Ullman, award-winning author of He Must Like You

The world needs more contemporary books about sexual culture and communication from a queer perspective that is also respectful of sex workers. Fired Up about Consent is well researched from diverse sources, with a clear voice defined by both emotion and intellectual rigour. This book isn’t afraid to untangle thorny topics like prison abolition, beauty myths, white supremacy, and restorative justice. This is both an invaluable document of and contribution to consent culture, not shying away from all the pleasures and traumas that entails.

– Tina Horn, host/producer of Why Are People Into That?! podcast and author of SfSx

Sarah Ratchford has a powerful way of facing and transforming misogynistic and binary language into a holistic, survivor-centred way of communicating and sharing knowledge about rape, consent, and choice, like only a survivor can.

– Viktoria Belle, Executive Director, The Dandelion Initiative

Fired Up about Consent lays bare myths about sexual consent and rape that are at the heart of our misogynist, victim-blaming culture. Sarah Ratchford shows graphically how this is not an accident or a misunderstanding, but that rape culture intentionally and insidiously sustains misogyny, racism, and the exercise of power over the marginalized and powerless. They argue that change must begin with us, those victimized by sexualized violence first by claiming our own consent-based lives, and then loudly challenging the construction of social shame that silences us from speaking up.

– Julie Macfarlane, author of Going Public: A Survivor's Journey from Grief to Action

Sarah Ratchford offers the perfect introduction to consent, sexuality, and sexual violence. It’s raw, nuanced, and inclusive with a touch of humour. Everyone would benefit from reading Fired Up about Consent.

– Mandi Gray, activist and subject of the documentary Slut or Nut: Diary of a Rape Trial

“An excellent primer for readers looking for a deeper understanding about issues of consent.”

– Herizons

Fired Up about Consent is a necessary primer for every young person determined to dismantle rape culture. It is overflowing with compassion for survivors and their allies, while never shying away from naming hard truths. I wish this book existed when I was a young organizer!

– Julie S. Lalonde, author of Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde


1. Defining Rape, Defining Consent
2. In the Middle of Rape Culture
3. Conjuring Consent Culture
4. Taking Action