School assignment draws flak for asking how victim can ‘avoid’ sexual assault
A school assignment that attempted to start a conversation on sexual assault did just that, but for the wrong reasons.
A student at a Wisconsin school showed her mom their health class assignment after they watched a video on sexual assault, reported Kenosha News on Dec. 20.
Grade 10 students of Bradford High School viewed the scene “Freshman Fall” from the 1996 movie “She Cried No”. In the film, the protagonist, college freshman Melissa is drugged and raped by a fraternity member.
Students were made to fill out a list of questions after watching the video. The parent, Charity Willard Eigenberger, shared the first question in a Facebook post on Dec. 19.
UPDATE: The principal called me right away the morning after I posted this and apologized, without making any excuses,…
It said: “What could have Melissa done differently to have avoided her sexual assault (provide at least 4 examples)?”
In her initial caption, Eigenberger said that her daughter refused to do the assignment because it blamed the victim. Eigenberger has since updated the post to state that the principal spoke to her and apologized for the assignment.
“The lesson has been pulled and he thanked me for the social media post because he has gotten hundreds of emails from all over and in many of them, people have offered resources and curricula that he and his health education department would’ve not otherwise been exposed to,” she said. “They plan on going through those resources and deciding what can best be utilized in their program.”
The post provoked mixed reactions among the thousands of people who commented on it and shared it. There was outrage on what the question was implying — that victims of sexual assault had responsibility for the attacks done to them, that it was promoting rape culture and disregarded the concept of consent. Others defended the question, stating that women should be taught to be responsible for their safety.
Besides the Facebook posts, some students and parents alike expressed disapproval at the assignment directly to the district administration, prompting the district to announce that it would step in to investigate the assignment, Kenosha News reported.
“The district will be doing a comprehensive review of the health curriculum covering relationships and dating violence, consent and sexual assault to avoid future incidents,” the district administration said in a statement. “It was not the intent of the district or our staff to offend any of our students, families or stakeholders and we apologize for the concern this may have caused.” Niña V. Guno/JB
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