Students from kindergarten through college have returned to school throughout the state of Maryland. According to an Associated Press investigation, there were approximately 17,000 reports of sexual assaults by students in school between 2011 and 2015. Because sexual assault is widely underreported, there are likely many more incidents taking place in schools. It is vitally important that we invest in prevention and response efforts in all schools, from kindergarten through higher education.
Prevention strategies to help protect students come in many different forms. In this quarter’s Prevention Corner feature, we examine the many parallels between healthy sexuality and sexual violence prevention at the college level, and how healthy sexuality can inform our prevention work. As we consider sexual violence prevention at the college level, it is critical to ensure we include the needs of community colleges. In our College Consortium feature, we unpack some of the challenges that community colleges face and highlight areas in which they can incorporate sexual assault prevention strategies on their campuses.
Media and television play a huge role in influencing youth attitudes and behaviors. Unfortunately, many popular television shows contribute to our society’s pervasive rape culture. In this quarter’s Safety Sync article, we take a closer look at how sexual violence is portrayed in popular television and how these depictions influence rape culture.
It is essential to include underserved youth populations in our conversations about sexual violence. LGBTQ youth in juvenile detention facilities face an increased risk for sexual violence while in these facilities. In this issue, we discuss the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) protections for LGBTQ youth and the importance of including this population in our prevention and response efforts.
Human sex trafficking is one form of sexual violence that needs to be addressed in our state. In this quarter’s Program Spotlight, we highlight MCASA’s Coordinated Action Against Sex Trafficking (CAAST) Project and their efforts to build statewide capacity to provide services to sex trafficking survivors.
We encourage you to join us in our efforts to end sexual violence in Maryland and urge you to consider becoming a member of MCASA or making a donation to support our work. If you in higher education and are passionate about ending sexual violence, we encourage you to join MCASA’s College Consortium. There is a lot more work to be done to ensure the safety of our students and community members. Please join us in the fight to end sexual violence.
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault