The importance of educating students on sexual assault

Opinion by ElissaEisele

“You’re not going out like that,” is a sentence we’ve all heard from our parents or guardians at least a time or two. Have you ever taken the time to consider why they’re stating that? It’s simple. We live in a hyper sexual society, and this is one of many negative effects. Our parents were trying to protect us from the evils of the real world.

Preparing us for a battle where more often than not, victims of sexual assault are met with the question, “but what were you wearing,” and crude remarks that, “she was asking for it.” Although we might not be able to change this reality, we can prepare ourselves as women to be best equipped to fight the battle that has never been in our favor.

There is much more danger young girls face in the transition between adolescence and adulthood. High school is confusing; there are changes in friend groups, new levels of independence and a shifting dynamic with boys. These changes coupled with variating timelines between what you and your parents think you’re ready for create a naivety in teenage girls.

Some schools don’t believe in teaching sexual education courses, they believe that it is a topic meant solely for the home. This disconnect proves dangerous to young adults entering a phase in life where they may become sexually active.

A study by the Statista in 2019, shows the percentage of high school students ninth through twelfth grade that experienced sexual abuse. This study supports the statement that teenage girls are at higher risk for encountering sexual abuse; 11.3 % of female students reported encountering sexual abuse, compared to 3.5% of male students.

This in no means dismisses sexual abuse male students face in high school. This data shines light on how many female students are affected by sexual abuse, meaning there’s a greater chance of them being taken advantage of.

In Nebraska alone, 12.7% of female students faced sexual abuse, compared to the 3.9% of male students. The Nebraska state average is daunting, 1.4% higher than the national average of abuse for young women in high school, whereas the male average is .4% higher. This data highlights why women need to be more situationally aware.

There is power in sharing your story. In order to culminate a safer environment for women, we must be open to having this conversation.

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