For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – The first step in preventing sexual assault and violence is understanding the reality. According to Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Every single day more than 570 people experience sexual violence in this country. To bring this reality closer to home, 45 percent of last year’s Marshfield High School seniors reported that they, or someone they know, had been sexually assaulted. That equates to 118 students in just one class, within one school in our community that has been impacted by sexual violence.
On March 23, a scheduled early dismissal day for the district, Personal Development Center (PDC), the domestic abuse and assault services agency in Marshfield, Marshfield High School, Marshfield Police Department, and Ki Nagare Dojo presented “Safety after High School” – a sexual assault prevention program targeted to seniors. This is the third year that PDC and the Unified School District of Marshfield have worked collaboratively with other community partners to provide seniors an intense half-day program focused on understanding sexual assault and violence through real life application skills and developing self-defense knowledge to help protect students from potential assaults in the future. The program was scheduled purposefully just before prom, graduation, and students moving on to post-secondary institutions, the work force, or military career paths.
The day started out with a large group presentation of the facts and risks related to sexual assault, including safety planning and bystander intervention information. Students then rotated through three workshops including small group discussion and activities with real life application to help students develop strategies to reduce their risk of sexual assault or violence; a mindfulness workshop that taught breathing exercises and techniques for self-care and provided insight on becoming a knowledge consumer of advertisements and media that support sexual violence; and a basic self-defense class that provided students the opportunity to develop and practice their own personal safety techniques.