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She received counseling from rape victim advocates. A lot of people think that you have to be in a dark alley or be drunk for you to be sexually assaulted, and that’s not true.” Rittenhour said these misconceptions about sexual violence are common among Iowa high school students and teachers.“They talked to me about it and helped me understand that it wasn’t my fault that I froze, because I blamed myself for so long,” she said. “A lot of young people don’t have much exposure to education about healthy relationships and sexual violence,” Rittenhour said.She points to videos portraying women ogled by men, which she shows in class in order to make a point with students.“They don’t realize what some of the material is promoting,” she said.
In some schools, the education is only in ninth grade, a time before most students become sexually active, educators said in the Iowa Watch interviews.Attempts to educate students about sexual assault in a high school setting sometimes lack effectiveness, Iowa Watch interviews with teachers, administrators and high school students from 18 Iowa school districts revealed.The result is students who said they didn’t know what sexual assault consisted of, how to prevent it and how to get help after an assault took place.Taylor Grider, 16, an Iowa City West High School junior said she took one trimester of health during her freshman year but that seemed like a minimal amount considering that she was going to high school for four years.“I don’t think we even really touch the subject of assault that much.
Kathryn Herdliska, 17, a Cedar Rapids Prairie High School junior, said drilling into students that sexual assault is not okay could help assault victims know they are not alone.