Sexual assault is more common than it should be, but it does not have to be this way.
Health teachers teach a section in their classrooms about sexual abuse and rape, but all teachers think that just one section is not enough. Health is a freshman class, and it is only one semester long.
“They forget so much by the time they are seniors,” said health teacher Jean Emrich. “Even if they have learned it before. Health is really the only class in which we can discuss this.”
Even though sexual assault is not a huge part of the curriculum, all health teachers try to make it a section that really hits harder than the rest.
“I try to explain to my students that at any point, a ‘yes’ can become a ‘no,’” said health teacher Sue Anderson.“That if their body says ‘yes,’ it does not mean that they say ‘yes.’”
“I always try to show differences in gender, but by also keeping them equal,” said Carol Dixon, CVHS anatomy and physiology teacher.
With only one class to teach about sexual abuse, students are less aware about what kinds of things are considered sexual abuse. Anderson pointed out an interesting fact about the abuse of genders that many students are not aware of.
“Rape can only happen to a woman. Many people may say that a man was raped, but that is not the correct term for it. A male can be sexually abused, but rape is a word that can only describe forced vaginal intercourse,” said Anderson.
The topic of sexual abuse can be difficult to talk about. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it is a topic we all have to learn in order to avoid any occurrences in the future. It is a very real problem that, unfortunately, many students have to deal with.
“I wish we could have programs,” said Dixon. “Programs like Every 15 Minutes to talk solely on the topic of rape and touching. That would be very useful to our students… We all need to work on this.”