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Sexual Violence Education in High School

 

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 Prevention infographic

 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:

  1. Promote social norms that protect against violence.
  2. Teach skills to prevent sexual violence
  3. Provide opportunities to empower and support girls and women
  4. Support victims/survivors to lessen harms
  5. 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

  1. Breaking down binary assumptions about gender/stereotypes
  2. Giving students concrete definitions and strategies of prevention
  3. 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:

  1. Being raw and treating students with respect (not beating around the bush)
  2. Edutainment is important because kids learn more when they’re having fun
  3. 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.

81.4% of 10th graders from my school reported that they learned something new and informative from our assembly with Jeffrey Bucholtz…

 

 

…whereas only 32.6% of 10th graders reported they learned something new and informative from our entire human development curriculum.

 

 

Only 16.4% of 10th graders feel they have enough knowledge about their own Title IX rights and legal rights to be able to apply them to situations of sexual violence, leaving 16.3% neutral and a whopping 67.5% not knowing enough about their own rights.

 

Only 30.2% of 10th graders at my school say they can explain the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape, which are very important distinctions to be able to make in order to understand the issue of sexual violence.

 

 

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.

I learned what I needed to from my high school curriculum on sexual violence

yes
no
maybe/other
Created with Survey Maker
High schools need to change their curriculums to better fit new issues.

yes
no
maybe/other
Created with Survey Maker

 

High schools sexual violence curriculums have the potential to make real changes within the issue of sexual violence.

Agree
Disagree
Maybe/Other
Created with Survey Maker

 

Preface to the Curriculum I Designed

 

 

 

 

The Topics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Citations

“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.

 

Share this project
COMMENTS: 26
  1. April 26, 2018 by Young Kim

    Wow this is extremely thorough and interesting. I think that this topic is one that hopefully isn’t extremely relatable to all but is definitely relavent. I really appreciated your self-made videos – it helped break everything down.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you so much Young!

  2. April 27, 2018 by Siena.Martin

    I thought this project was amazing. As a high school girl myself, I think the topics you brought up are very important and I think it’s wonderful that you created a much needed informative curriculum.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you, Siena! Connection was one of the most important things to me in this project, so it means a lot that you connected with it personally!

  3. April 27, 2018 by Mahala

    This is incredible. I want to send out your project to my school, who barely talks about this topic. You have created in this project more than most schools are able to. Congrats.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Wow thank you Mahala! That means so much, and I’m so glad this might help schools with their curriculums.

  4. April 28, 2018 by Hanan.Sherka

    This is very informative, very well thought out, and very clear. I LOVE the idea of a curriculum, and I think that it shows a lot that you’ve put in so much effort into this project. I feel that including a clip of interviews was great, your use of a range of types of media to portray information was really helpful, and the fact that you made me feel like I understood the passion behind it more through your videos of explaining. Definitely one my favorite websites I’ve seen, and I think that is also because I feel like there is something tangible I can take away from this and put into my school community. Amazing work!

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you so much, Hanan! The curriculum was definitely what I spent the most time on; it was like the culmination of all my work and research, so I’m so glad you took something from it!

  5. April 28, 2018 by Harry Shi

    I love your project! Although I was aware that sex education is currently lacking in the US, I was still astonished by the fact that 30% of students can tell the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape. How can we promote institutional change and inform students who currently don’t understand the consequences of sexual violence?

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thanks so much Harry! After completing this project and doing research on the topic I think the most important thing is being transparent with students about facts, statistics, and most importantly the issue of rape culture as a system of oppression. Transparency leads to trust and trust leads to connection which leads to change.

  6. April 28, 2018 by Sara.Hewitt

    I am SO impressed by your curriculum! It was so thorough and I think this was a fantastic addition to your project.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thanks so much, Sara! The curriculum was definitely very hard and time consuming for me to make, and it kept changing as my research progressed, so I’m glad you took something from it!

  7. April 29, 2018 by Emma Mansoor

    I thought your project was great. It’s so informative and well put together. You also provided a great solution to the problem you discussed, which strengthened your argument. It’s so clear that you put a lot of time into this project. I think the addition of the polls definitely helped as well. I also though having audio and video was definitely a strong part of the project. Your curriculum is also awesome. I love that you came up with such a clear plan. Great job, overall.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you so much, Emma! The solution was difficult for me to develop, but I’m glad you connected with it!

  8. April 29, 2018 by Luisa

    I loved your project and your well developed curriculum. The survey, videos, and visuals all added a lot to this amazingly thorough project. NIce job, and I hope that your project creates and inspires institutional change!

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thanks, Luisa!

  9. April 29, 2018 by Suzy.Ascuitto

    What really stood out to me about your page was how you got through so much infromation without using long paragraphs of texts + your developed curriculum is so well organized. I think it could really make changes in a lot of schools!

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you so much, Suzy! Trying to convey information without having very much text was definitely a challenge for me in making the webpage, so it means a lot that you appreciated it!

  10. April 29, 2018 by Jennifer.Bernardez

    I thought it was great that you met with experts and wrote down your takeaways from meeting with them. I also liked that you provided a solution and even a link to a curriculum. Good job on portraying this extremely important issue through your project.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  11. April 29, 2018 by Sophie.Woan

    This is an UNBELIEVABLE Catalyst Conference presentation. Seriously, I am so so so impressed with the detail of your research and the amount of time you clearly put in to create this. The visuals, polls, and videos were so helpful and clear when reading through your work. I was wondering if there was a specific thing that really inspired you to use this as your project focus? I’m really just so amazed by your work and was wondering if there was something that kickstarted that work.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Hi Sophie! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’ve always been pretty passionate about this subject, but I think the main thing that made me want to do my web page on this topic was that I’ve been involved in Maya Paley’s organization (The Talk Project) for some time, and seeing all the information and resources The Talk Project gave to its participants that I never got from my school made me really angry. I wanted people who don’t have access to resources like The Talk Project to have access to the same information somehow, and I thought this webpage was a good way to try and accomplish that! I’m so glad that you took something from it!

  12. April 30, 2018 by Chanel Shen

    This project is really such an important topic to talk about; I definitely agree that taking about sexual violence is really stigmatized in our society, but you conveyed all the information really well. I loved how you started with statistics (to give people an idea about the importance of this situation) and moved on to such a detailed page of your created course curriculum. Great job!

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thanks, Chanel!

  13. April 30, 2018 by Talia.Cieslinski

    This is such a great project and so so so important to talk about! I love the way you incorporated infographics and used polls and met with experts! This is such a great way to spread the word about this issue. I think overall this really evoked a great attitude of reducing stigma and creating awareness and preventing sexual assault going forward. This was a great way to spread empathy and create a healthy environment especially in schools and I love that you incorporated a curriculum.

    • May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

      Thanks so much, Talia! Getting rid of the stigma is so important!

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