K-12 Schools Need to Seize the Moment in Preventing Sexual Violence

By Beth Hoover

There are many reasons why the Titanic sank that fateful night so long ago. One reason was that the night watchmen weren’t able to warn others about the iceberg quickly enough to turn the ship. Huge ships like the Titanic turn slowly and ponderously. It takes time – just like changing the culture.

I feel like we’re at a Titanic moment concerning sexual violence and prevention.

We have a unique moment in time to start turning the ship of culture away from so many of the myths about sexual assault, sexual harassment, molestation, and all forms of sexual violence. We can start to turn this ship around in schools.

Every week seems to bring a new revelation about sexual violence, not only in our country but around the world. Every day survivors are coming forward to tell their story about being abused by a peer, dating partner, acquaintance, powerful man or woman, teacher, coach, doctor, or priest (just to list a few examples). These stories often involve survivors who thought they wouldn’t be believed because our culture still doesn’t understand what consent means.

Teachers and schools can change that.

K-12 schools need to start teaching our children about consent. Educators can teach children to respect each other’s boundaries. Now is a moment in time where schools and educators might be able to garner the support they need to teach age-appropriate lessons about these topics at the K-12 level. What more does a school board need to approve teaching a curriculum that includes lessons about consent than to look at the daily news? Or do a quick Twitter search of #MeToo or #MeTooK12?

Our cultural ship has been heading in the wrong direction concerning sexual violence for far too long. There have been many voices over the years crying out for us to turn the ship around before more tragedies happen.

Now is our moment to go in a new direction.

Don’t miss it.

 

Want to teach consent in your classroom? Check out these resources from Power Up, Speak Out!

HOW TO SAY NO: POWER UP RADIO (WITH A BONUS EDUCATOR PODCAST ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT)

TEACHING CONSENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD

BOUNDARIES, CONSENT, AND #METOO: 5 WAYS TO HELP STUDENTS LEARN TO TREAT EACH OTHER WELL

NPR: How Schools Can Reduce Sexual Violence