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The most effective educators know students can’t learn when they’re afraid.
“We are committed to keeping each and every child safe at our school and I Have The Right To is leading the way.”
I Have The Right To programming can equip your school to prevent sexual assault in the first place and to respond fairly when it does happen.
Counsel for administrators and faculty on best practices regarding issues of sexual assault and sexual assault prevention
Curated curricula and training based on the needs, mission, and culture of the school community
LEARN MORE about what this can look like
Access to a diverse speakers’ bureau for all school constituencies: students, faculty, staff, parents, counselors, administrators, and Board members
Contact us to begin a conversation about how
I Have The Right To can meet the needs of your school
“The I Have The Right To team has it all: a clear vision, compassion, and the conviction to make lasting change. Our students, parents, and faculty thank you!”
Sexual assault is the term given to the crime of a nonconsensual sexual act, including if an individual lacks the capacity to consent. (For more on consent, read the FAQ below.)
As an educator, you need to be informed about sexual assault because the incidence of sexual assault among middle and high school students is staggering. Sadly, counselors and educators are at the frontlines of this epidemic: they are the individuals who students often disclose an assault to and are the individuals most likely to observe warning signs of abuse due to their daily interactions with students.
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in any form of sexual activity. It goes further. According to the Consent Awareness Network, consent must be a freely given, knowledgeable, and informed agreement without force, fear, or fraud. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Individuals who are under the age of consent, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or unconscious cannot legally give consent. Further, the absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes,” and consent by someone’s body language or their dress or state of dress cannot be taken as consent.
First, know that as an adult, you are a mandatory reporter of sexual assault. This means that you have a legal responsibility to report suspected or disclosed abuse or assault of a minor, regardless of whether the assault was committed by another minor or by an adult.
Should a student disclose sexual assault to you, ensure that they are safe from imminent harm or danger. Ask open-ended questions, and avoid filling in any holes in a disclosure with your own assumptions.
If you are an educator making a mandatory report, coordinate with your school’s health or counseling department. Staff in these offices often have more experience with mandatory reporting and best practice dictates that they be the ones to file a formal report with the state.
If you are a counselor or health practitioner at your school, read up on the process for filing mandatory reports for your state. You will need to use these if a faculty member receives a disclosure of assault. To file the report, contact your state’s department for child services. Share the information you have gathered, ideally the name and age of the survivor, the name and age of the perpetrator, their location, and the details of the alleged assault.
Remember that mandatory reporters are only required to report allegations of assault or abuse. They are not the ones responsible for investigating or confirming the allegations; it is best to leave this to the experts. This caution applies to parents as well: depending on the situation (particularly if the assault or abuse was perpetrated by a family member), it may be best to avoid sharing any allegation with parents until a report has been filed.
Preventing sexual assault means taking action long before an assault occurs. I Have The Right To leads programming nationwide to facilitate prevention efforts, and to help schools respond to sexual assault when it does happen.
Our preventative work is focused in three areas:
Contact us to learn more about how we can tailor a program to best fit your school’s culture and community.
To start, know that false reporting of sexual assault is very rare; studies show that between 2 and 10% of allegations of sexual assault are falsified. This means that when a survivor comes forward with an allegation, their account is very likely true. Believe and support the survivor accordingly.
Reject the notion that it will be possible to believe, uphold, and protect survivors and protect the school’s reputation at the same time. Sadly, too many institutions make decisions to protect themselves at the expense of the safety of their students.
Administrators should scrutinize each and every decision following an allegation and ask themselves: “Is this the decision I would want my child’s school to make? Is this the decision that will keep our students – including the survivor – safe?” If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.
Though the picture is sobering, the future is promising. Search our proprietary map of assault cases worldwide to see where students and educators are advocating for change.
Contact us to get your school added to this map, for the right reasons.
Know of a case of student activism that isn’t reflected on the map? Tell us by sharing a news story.
“I Have The Right To’s presentation to parents raised awareness about sexual assault, galvanized genuine interest from families, and honored our school culture. We are grateful for the foundation that I Have The Right To laid for us.”