Introduction to Sexual Violence Prevention
The Necessity for Sexual Violence Education in Schools
Recently, education on sexual violence in high schools has been a polarized and heated argument. As I navigate my high school career, I’ve noticed and taken into account the highlights and lowlights of the education I’ve received on sexual violence, and through this project, I explored the importance and effect of high schoolers having an education on healthy relationships, consent culture, modern rape culture and everyday perpetuations of it, and sexual violence prevention.
From reaching out to local resources and taking into account feedback from my peers, I’ve discovered that this education on rape and consent cultures relates back to very simple yet integral ideas like breaking down gender stereotypes and expectations. From meeting with many experts on the field of sexual violence, I have drafted a version of a curriculum covering the subject which I feel incorporates the necessity for girls and boys in high school.
Prevalence of Sexual Violence in Society
Sexual violence is one of the most prevalent kinds of violence in our modern society, and still one of the least talked about.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (an organization dedicated to protecting victims of violence) provided this infographic, and also has specific ways they promote in order to decrease the prevalence of the sexual assaults. They include:
- Promote social norms that protect against violence.
- Teach skills to prevent sexual violence
- Provide opportunities to empower and support girls and women
- Support victims/survivors to lessen harms
- Create protective environments
Experts I met with:
Maya Paley – Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at The National Council of Jewish Women of LA and Founder of The Talk Project.
Maya Paley is the founder of The Talk Project, a peer to peer sexual violence education organization. Maya says that there is a distinct importance and uniqueness in The Talk Project’s peer to peer system, and that information about sexual violence which comes directly from peers is much more likely to stick with students, and also that peers can give students perspectives that schools aren’t able to attain in an accessible and engaging experience.
Takeaways from Maya
- Breaking down binary assumptions about gender/stereotypes
- Giving students concrete definitions and strategies of prevention
- Talking about everyday examples of sexual violence and it’s true prevalence
Jeff Bucholtz – Director of WeEndViolence, public speaker, and activist and teacher for issues like consent and healthy relationships and communication.
Jeff argues that in order to change largely held public ideas, it is necessary to dig down to fundamental societal issues like gender roles and respect. He recognizes the difference in experiences and development amongst different grades and ages in high school but teaches that no matter how old or how knowledgeable on the issue of sexual assault, change all comes down to teaching about lead healthy, communicative, and consensual relationships
Takeaways from Jeff:
- Being raw and treating students with respect (not beating around the bush)
- Edutainment is important because kids learn more when they’re having fun
- Understanding a deeper sense of gender in society (stereotypes, media representation, etc.)
Portion of interview from Jeff on being real and raw with students:
“If you’re not going to talk about it honestly, we will honestly never have a chance to change it.”
A Class Survey
In a survey I conducted across my 10th grade class, I asked about the usefulness and overall quality of our 10th grade human development class (HD10), where the topic of sexual violence is covered. The results are definitely interesting, as many of the tenth graders recognize the shortcomings of our own class on sexual violence and sexual violence prevention.
Reflection on Survey
From these results, I can gleam that one large area that needs improvement in our HD10 class is the topic of local resources. Many students expressed that they would like to see the topic of local resources added to their HD10 curriculum, and the reason why makes sense. Although human development classes are definitely necessary and they are a privilege, students can’t get everything from a school which they could get from local resources like The Talk Project group, the UCLA Rape Treatment Center, and many other extracurricular, unrelated-to-school agencies, simply because schools have to overcome many hurdles in terms information and resources they are allowed to release due to the fact that many are funded by either the government or parents who might not want their kids to know these things. This observation is something I took into account when creating the outline for my curriculum.
“I think talking more about the legal rights would be helpful because maybe I’m just clueless, but I’m less clear on those.”
“I would love to receive more information about local resources and our rights.”
Before introducing the curriculum I developed, take some time to reflect on your own experience with high school sexual violence curriculums, and see what others think about theirs.
Preface to the Curriculum I Designed
Link to Curriculum:
If you would like to use a part or all of this curriculum in any class you might be a part of feel free. Here is the link
“The Need for Response to Sexual Assault in Middle and High School.” Break the Cycle, 22 Apr. 2015, www.breakthecycle.org/blog/need-response-sexual-assault-middle-and-high-school.
“Scope of the Problem: Statistics.” Scope of the Problem: Statistics | RAINN, www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem.
“Teach Consent.” Teach Consent, www.teachconsent.org/#ask.
“Teaching Consent in Your Classroom.” Teaching Consent in Your Classroom | SexInfo Online, www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/teaching-consent-your-classroom.