June 11, 2015
Our children are not safe because there is a culture of silence surrounding the issue of sexual violence in the United States. No one wants to believe that sexual violence could happen to our children, but the reality is that this is occurring at a rate of epidemic proportions. According to the CDC Foundation, domestic violence and violence against women and children is a global epidemic.
In the U.S.,
- 10.5 percent of high school girls, and 4.2 percent of high school boys, have been forced to have sexual intercourse, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- 48 percent of students grades 7-12 experienced sexual harassment at school during the school year.
- The CDC recommends providing age-appropriate training in healthy relationship behavior beginning at an early age, while behavior is modifiable.
- The Teach Safe Relationships Act would authorize grants to local education agencies to teach about age-appropriate safe relationship behavior in the curriculum in sex education programs for middle and high school students. Safe relationship behavior education promotes safe relationships and teaches students to recognize and prevent physical and emotional relationship abuse, sexual violence and sexual harassment. The bill also covers what constitutes consent as well as teaching about emotional health and well-being in relationships.
- This legislation was introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in February, but continues to sit in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Sexual violence is at epidemic levels, and we need to institute prevention efforts like we would for any other public health epidemic. Please ask your senator to co-sponsor the Teach Safe Relationships Act.
Thank you for taking action to keep our children safe.