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Welcome to High School!

Well, high school is starting up again—HAS started, for most—around the Tri-Valley!  School means lots of things for lots of people—dances, AP classes, stress about Algebra, thinking about jobs or college, thinking about boyfriends or girlfriends.  One thing a lot of students DON’T worry about is sexual violence.

If you were a freshman at most of the high schools in the Tri-Valley in the last few years, you probably got a visit from someone who works at Tri-Valley Haven.  We would have shown up at your health class, talking about dating violence and date rape… really happy, uplifting stuff.  But really IMPORTANT stuff, because the number of teen girls (and boys!) who are sexually assaulted during high school is really high.

In fact, it’s so high that the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) posted a blog in which they recognize September as National Campus Safety and Awareness Month.  As they point out, high incidences of dating violence, sexual harassment and assault take place on school campuses. Since students cannot learn if they do not feel safe, OVW calls for “increased focus on primary prevention of violence and victimization in early adolescence – or even earlier.”

Did you know that:

  • Approximately 80 percent of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced the first rape before age 18 (30 percent between 11-17 years old and 12 percent at or before the age of 10).
  • 28 percent of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
  • About 35 percent of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 14 percent of women without an early rape history.

For those of us who work at Tri-Valley Haven, especially in the education department, we think a lot about high school students and Junior high school students.  We think about the classes we will present.  We think about the best ways to talk about sexual violence and dating violence.  We know it is a hard subject, but what is even harder by far is experiencing dating or sexual violence itself.

We are here to get the word out, to talk about ways to stay safe, and even more than that, to talk about ways high school students, junior high students, and people of all ages can learn to safely speak up, intervene, and prevent violence before it even starts.

This blog will talk about that—among other things!  It’s called “Bystander Intervention” and we’re all about it.

So until next time, enjoy the new school year, get a chance hopefully to make new friends, learn new things… and stay safe!

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