In the Classroom
While the vast majority of sexual abuse outreach initiatives are aimed at prevention,
ToPrevail's educational program is focused on helping those who have already been victimized, but suffer in silence. Utilizing my 20 years as an educator, I've developed a unique and engaging presentation for kids in middle school and high school.
Our program has several objectives:
Shatter the crippling sense of isolation that accompanies sexual abuse through the telling of my own story.
Empower discussion through an anonymous question and answer section.
Facilitate a role play scenario in which students learn how to talk about sexual abuse with their peers.
Foster an atmosphere of hope and empathy, conveying the message that although scary, coming forward will lead to good things.
Connection with local counselors/authorities to ensure proper follow up.
As an indication of the program's effectiveness, below are some of the actual questions and notes that students have written to me during the anonymous Q & A section.
"How do you tell someone that its happen to you?"
"How do I help someone who has been sexually abused?"
"Should I be ashamed for being raped? I have so many, way to many mental disorders. I feel helpless. He is always there. In my dreams. My flashbacks. I currently have PTSD, depression, anxiety. I and the worst thoughts about myself. I have a few outlets and people but people don't believe me most of the time....I'm honestly at a loss. To everyone I'm the whore for what he did to me. ....I made a self quote "I myself am made up of flaws stitched together be resilience."
"How do you help the person whoes abuser is bigger than you?"
"I was also abused and now I feel like I can't say no when people ask for sex or "favors" because it never mattered before so why would it now. How do you learn its ok to say no and be strong enough to really mean it stick to it?"
"I can't drown my demon. How did you get rid of yours?"
"What do I do if my sister has been abused?"
"What is the best way to tell someone about being abused?"
"How do you tell your father/girlfriend or friend that your 18 year old cousin did things to you when you were 10 and your brother just kept doing it. What do you do when you self harm."