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STAFF ED: Sexual Assault
December 8, 2017
In October, the “#MeToo” campaign went viral after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as their status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
This sparked a flood of posts, tweets and updates using the newly introduced hashtag, calling out sexual predators across the globe.
The numerous allegations made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein triggered Milano’s tweet. Dozens of women have recently accused Weinstein of sexual assault, and as a result, the Weinstein company fired him and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences terminated his membership.
Three women have accused Weinstein of rape, in addition to over 60 other reports of sexual harassment. He continues to deny all claims made against him.
Others have accused powerful Hollywood figures as well. Five women accused comedian Louis C. K. of sexual misconduct. Consequently, his movie release and comedy special were canceled, and FX discontinued relations with C.K..
Women are not the only ones who are coming forward about their struggles with sexual assault. Over a dozen men have accused House of Cards actor, Kevin Spacey, of sexual misconduct and attempted rape. Spacey admitted to some of the claims and used the accusations to come out as gay.
This angered many in the LGBTQ community, who viewed this as a smokescreen to distract from the accusations of pedophilia. Spacey has since been suspended and replaced from his series House of Cards, as well as other projects.
Sexual assault is not just plaguing Hollywood.
Powerful figures in business, sports and politics are being accused of sexual misconduct everyday.
Over a dozen women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment. This cycle of sexual assault is one that needs to be broken, and it starts with the youth of America. Educating students in college, high school and middle or elementary school on consensual behavior is essential to America’s growth and improvement as a country.
The fact that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lives, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, shows that there is a problem in the nation, and this issue, like most, can be traced back to poor or lack of education during childhood and early adulthood.
Clayton High School has begun to take the preliminary steps to educate its student body about this immense problem.
“In [the class] Healthy Decisions, we had Safe Connections come in and talk about sexual assault and sexual consent,” CHS physical education and health teacher Alexandra Libby said. “Then we also had, in our Racket and Net classes, and ATA Martial Arts company come in to teach about self defense.”
Safe Connections is a not-for-profit based in St. Louis that is devoted to reducing sexual assault and violence through education, counseling and other services.
But 47 minutes of lecturing during a student’s sophomore year and self defense classes for students who take a certain gym class is not enough.
The School District of Clayton should begin educating students at Wydown Middle School about the importance of consensual behavior. Students in Racket and Net Sports should not be the only students given the opportunity to learn self-defense. Defense classes should be required in all physical education classes so Clayton can educate its students; therefore, assisting them if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Even students who took the self-defense class thought it to be insufficient in teaching students how to protect themselves from assault.
Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, according to RAINN, or Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
If Clayton can do more to protect its students from these horrific acts, in addition to teaching students not to engage in said acts, then our schools should be doing everything they can.
Sexual violence causes intense distress, elevated chance of drug use and damage to both professional and personal relationships. Clayton should educate its students in order to prevent these challenges from affecting students. Ending sexual assault and abuse starts with education, and it starts in the school.