Each year, millions of youth, from kindergarten to college, will go back to school. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), almost half of middle and high school students reported being sexually harassed at least once within a school year. It’s important that all students are able to have a safe and healthy school environment. Whether you're a freshman in college or a parent of a kindergartener, we know that sexual violence is a difficult topic to address. Which is why we want to make sure that you have the resources that you need!
Here are some helpful things that all students, parents and educators can do to start this process in their schools and homes:
Talk About it! A lot of people don't want to talk about sexual violence, consent, or healthy relationships and that's understandable; but unfortunately, if we can’t talk about it, we can’t address it. Start the conversation, no matter the age. If you need support to do so the RRC education team can hold workshop for your school or group.
Know your rights and resources. Every student from early education to higher education has the right to access and thrive in their education. These rights are protected under Title IX and other national and statewide policies. Find out who is your school Title IX coordinator or liason (every school has to have one) and, if needed, our advocates can help guide you along the way. You can read more about Title IX, the Clery Act and look up all coordinators for campuses in Utah here.
Learn and practice consent. We often hear that consent is simple, however, that isn’t always the case. Learn what consent is and practice holding yourself and others accountable to respecting boundaries. Planned Parenthood has a helpful model based around FRIES or that consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific.
Be an upstander! The “bystander effect” says that people are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. It’s important that we all learn how intervene as bystanders and also stop violence from happening whenever possible. You can request an Upstander Training from the Utah Department of Health here.
Know when to ask for help. You can't do it all and there will be situations where you will need to ask for help. If in doubt contact our confidential crisis line at (801) 467-7273.
We wish everyone a safe and happy school year!