Sexual assault is an umbrella term used for any sexual contact without a person’s consent. This can happen to anyone at any age, gender or sexual orientation. Despite the fact that this can happen to anyone, society has built a stigma around the issue. This makes it difficult for people who have been assaulted to come forward.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 1.2 million Wisconsin adults have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. This does not even include people who have experienced it and have not reported it or kids who are still in high school. A statewide count of crime reported assaults is 13,235 cases, which makes an average of 4,412 survivors annually in Wisconsin. This information is also from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
This issue may seem far away but knowing how many cases are reported in Wisconsin, imagine how many survivors there are nearby. This is an active issue that needs more awareness than is already presented. With focus on Neenah High Schhol, the topic of sexual assault is rarely discussed.
Student Tina Dahn shared her reflection if she was ever educated about sexual assault at NHS. “No, there is only one presentation at NHS that vaugely talked about sexual assault.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services mentions that nationally, only 39 percent of sexual assaults are reported. For those who think that NHS is not subjected to sexual assault, two-thirds of reported assaults are survivors less than 15 years of age. So although this problem seems so far or hard to idealize in NHS, a good chunk of reported assaults are people in the age range of high school.
Again, Tina Dahn reflected if she knew people who have been sexually assaulted; “Yes, I know a few.”
With the knowledge of how sexual assault pertains to NHS, there is a need to focus on what can be done about it. What NHS could do is introduce more awareness of sexual assault and what to do if you or someone you know has been assaulted. This is an issue that has such big numbers but is rarely talked about.
What you can do to help this issue is support survivors in your life, practice consent and support anyone who speaks out. Destroying stigma around sexual assault can help build an understanding community at NHS.
If you have been sexually assaulted, know that you have a right to speak out and it is not your fault.
Resources for survivors:
Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741