Time to destigmatize and talk

Amanda+Strain
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Time to destigmatize and talk

Amanda Strain

Amanda Strain

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Amanda Strain

Staff Photo

Staff Photo

Amanda Strain

Amanda Strain, Features Editor

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Recently, I was in a car with four other teenage girls and I decided to ask a very personal question that is too often avoided because of fear of political correctness. The question I asked is, “Who in this car has been sexually assaulted?” There was a momentary silence and then three out of the four people I was with raised their hands high. That was a shocking experience, but what’s even more shocking are the statistics. According to a 2011 survey by the American Association of University Women, 58 percent of 7th through 11th graders experience sexual harassment or assault. Only 33 percent of the students reported it, 46 percent of the girls and 22 percent of the boys.

In a 2008 survey, 1 in 5 high school girls reported being sexually assaulted. 1 in 8 said she had been raped and 18 percent of teens report being sexually abused in their relationships. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that approximately 1 in 6 boys and one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

College sexual assault is a big issue in today’s society. In 2015 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center said that it is estimated that twenty to 25 percent of women in college or a higher learning program will have experienced rape or attempted rape, but less than 5 percent are ever reported to law enforcement. To try and stop the issue of sexual assault in college students, public universities have rules in place which students, including our duel-enrolled students here at New Hope High School, are protected under, such as Title IX. MUW specifically has 13 pages and sections on their website about Title IX, including how to avoid sexually assaulting someone, how to report an assault, how to help a friend, and other resources available to victims.

Teens ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be victims of sexual assault, rape, or attempted rape than the general population, and approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been victims of sexual assault. 35.8 percent of sexual assault occurs when the victim is between the ages of twelve and seventeen. So what do students of this age have to protect, educate and assist them, similar to the Title IX laws for Universities?

In the Lowndes County Student Handbook there are two lines of text which vaguely mention the topic, located in the Student Conduct section. Number 15 of the Student Conduct section outlines the prohibition of “Fondling or sexual harassment and/or possession or display of pornographic materials,” and line 24 prohibits “any form of sexual activity.”

The statistics are jarring, even more so than the statistics about college assault. But, what’s even more jarring than my personal story or the statistics is the lack of resources, education, and assistance provided for high school students for this issue.

 

 

 

 

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