Sexual violence in schools

Sexual+violence+in+schools

In 2010, 4,200 students nationwide were reported to be sexually assaulted. Students are three times more likely than women to experience sexual violence. Nowadays, our children aren’t even safe in their own school. A lot of schools, including Westside High School, lack the proper response to sexual assault.

Currently, there is no proper training towards responding to sexual violence and harassment in a plethora of Houston Independent School District (HISD) schools. Our district needs to establish policies regarding such events. Many students, females and males, are violated within their own classrooms, whether it be from a peer or teacher. A lot of victims, such as myself, feel that their experience isn’t worth the trouble–it’s just something we have to ‘accept’. If HISD constructs policies and establish proper staff training, these assaults can be helped or even prevented.

Recently I contacted Esther Warkov, the founder of Stop Sexual Assault In Schools (SSAIS), a nonprofit organization. Warkov and her husband founded SSAIS in 2015, three years after their daughter was sexually assaulted on a school field trip. “Like most parents, sexual harassment and assault at school weren’t on my radar when our daughter was raped,” says Warkov.

Warkov made several attempts to contact a Title IX coordinator at HISD. She found that there’s no coordinator displayed on the district website. Despite making several calls, she wasn’t given access to a Title IX Coordinator until the following day. “Pathetic,” Warkov stated. “Texas is a disaster area when it comes to Title IX compliance.”

I’m currently working with SSAIS to seek compliance with Title IX in HISD schools. If students and staff work together, we can defeat the epidemic of sexual violence in schools.