PSA re mild "sexual" assault in schools
I was building this website in December 2014. At some point in the future, I believe that there will be some girls of school age who visit this site and perhaps this page. Mild sexual assault or innappropriate touching is considered a problem in some schools and so I figured I would offer some thoughts. Maybe they will be helpful; maybe not.
This month (December 2014) there were several articles about people in Washington cities who were investigated for "inappropriate touching" of the girls. In one case, a high school softball coach in Camas, Washington is alleged to have being badly touching as many as 17 girls over the space of a month!
On Saturday, 2/28/15, I just now reviewed some more news about the situation in the Camas high school. Apparently the coach had been going through the hallways during crowded times and fondling the butts of a variety of girls.
In another case, in Walla Walla, a teacher was alleged to have "inappropriately touched" 3 teen-girls. The local sheriff deputies investigated and the prosecutor decided not to bring charges, based on insufficient evidence. The question is whether or not the 3 teen girls in Walla Walla then felt bad that charges were not brought. I do not know.
I somewhat figure that girls (those 12 and under) and teen-girls (of ages 13 to 18) in Seattle are not naive and that Seattle school teachers do not engage in mild sexual assault and such assaults would not occur in Seattle schools. I figure that because girls in Seattle are less naive and more informed, that a teacher would not try inappropriate touching. However, I could be wrong and also, at some point, this site may be viewed by girls in places such as Camas or Walla Walla.
Supposedly, inappropriate touching is also done by classmates, and not just by teachers. By the way, innappropriate touching is not a specific crime in Washington state, but it is listed in the "RCW" as part of the definition of certain crimes, as in the phrase "unwanted or inappropriate touching." The RCW is the criminal code of Washington. However, in the context, in the RCW, "inappropriate touching" apparently is only considered a crime when it is either for a sexual purpose and/or unwanted. For that reason, I personally wish that some police departments and/or media such as komonews.com would describe allegations more exactly.
This webpage reports a study that claims to find that 21% of kids aged 10-15 were touched when they did not wish it. I find 21% to be astonishingly high, but I am a guy and I was not a girl while growing up. I do believe that there must be some schools in which the rate of inappropriate touching is far lower. This study was done of middle-school kids in the Midwest, which some people would presume to be a safer environment than on the east or west coasts.
Another webpage reports of a study which says that 30% of ninth grade girls have been "touched, grabbed, or pinched in a sexual nature" and 24% have been "purposely . brushed up against in a sexual manner."
(This study also claims that 25% of 9th grade girls have been flashed or mooned.
Is it called mooning when I am walking at Greenlake?! Hmm!)
One webpage, if I recall correctly, alleges that only about 10% of cases of "sexual assault" in k-12 schools are reported. Another webpage indicates that only about 20% of college-aged women report "sexual assaults" to police. Al-Jazeera has a page summarizing some difficulties, which says that a 2008 study found that 53% of high school girls were "sexually assaulted" by a peer and 39% of those assaults took place at school. As a result, per the study, about 20% of high school aged girls are "sexually assaulted" at school. I personally think these statistics are unreasonably too high, unless by sexual assault one includes any unwanted touching.
Reportedly, 1 in 20 girls switches schools because of her being harassed at school.
I have put "sexual assault" in quotation marks because the phrase means different things to different people. Legally speaking, an "assault" could be so broad that a person could claim that President Bush assaulted Angela Merkel while giving her a very brief shoulder rub in 2006! Then, the question is whether or not Bush's assault of Merkel had a sexual motivation!
In 2005, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish of New Mexico said that Gov Bill Richardson was not good to be around because he "touches my hip, my thigh and sort of the side of my leg[!]" Here we have an example of what is legally a possible sexual assault . . . and one that is/was unreported by a respected public official.
I am a bit saddened that the fellow in Camas touched the girls badly for nearly a month, if reports are correct. I assume that the only way he could have been touching girls for a month before being stopped was that a lot of girls were touched in an unwanted way and did not initially report it or react vigorously.
The question is, How do you who are girls in school wish to react? Do you wish to report all cases of unwanted touching, which can be made into a criminal charge? Legally speaking, assault in the mildest degree (fourth degree assault) is or can be any unwanted touching. By the way, I think helpful questions would include, "Do you always wish to make a case out of it?" and "When do you wish to make a case out of it?"
Unfortunately, people do not always realize when touching is welcome or not. Here is George W Bush giving Angela Merkel a shoulder rub. Because of how she reacts, Angela Merkel probably did not appreciate the shoulder rub, and Bush stops it almost immediately.
On the other hand, in the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion show a model swats the butt of Taylor Swift and Taylor says, "Awesome." Later in the show, Taylor slaps a model's butt back and both seem happy.
A lot of high-school-aged girls do nothing when touched in an unwanted way. If you are touched in some circumstances and you did not like being touched in those circumstances, here are some alternatives in between doing nothing and reporting it:
- turn and look at the fellow (or the teacher) with a stern look;
- turn and look with a stern look and say, "Please come here and I will slap you," and insist that either you will slap the guy or you will report his touching you;
- turn and tell the guy, "Unwanted touching is considered a crime. It is not a good idea."
- turn and tell the guy, "God curses those who do wrong, and touching me where I do not want it is a form of stealing. It is not a good idea."
Now, there is no obligation to follow this example but while carrying my sign, either for a clothed walk or a walk in undies, I have been "sexually assaulted" three times. One time while fully clothed and with a free hugs sign, a guy fondled my butt while hugging me. Another time, while fully clothed and with the Free Hugs sign, a guy humped me briefly. In these two cases, I merely ignored the touching. In a third case which was less bad than humping me, I turned and invited the guy to come and hug, which was my form of redirecting his intention.