*Trigger- this project includes content discussing sexual assault*
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
Across the nation, consent curriculum has become a standard in both independent and private schools. Consent curriculum is extremely important, especially considering how many college students have come forth with stories of sexual assault. Because of movies such as The Hunting Ground, most people view sexual assault as a problem only prominent on college campuses. This leaves out an entire population of both younger and older than college -aged women and men. I sat through my own school’s consent curriculum, and realized it was solely preventative. It teaches students about the principles of consent, and how to determine if someone is able to give consent in certain circumstances. One thing consent curriculum does not cover is what to do if sexual assault has already occurred for a person or their friends. My goal of the catalyst project was to raise awareness to this flaw, and work with health educators to create resources and “Aftermath Curriculum” into the pre-existing consent curriculum.
The challenge with creating this kind of curriculum are the laws and school obligations. At my school specifically, all faculty are mandated reporters, meaning they are required to report instances of sexual assault to authorities and parents. If students want to talk to the counselor, depending on the situation, the counselor is legally obligated to inform the necessary people. Additionally, students are unaware of the pre-existing resources, like crisis centers and hotlines. Students often keep sexual assault private, which often leads to the victim experiencing anxiety, depression or forms of PTSD.
Understanding Assault Catalyst Project (Use this link to access my powerpoint)
I decided that in order to find a realistic solution, I wanted to talk to both my schools guidance counselor, Rachel Concannon, and my school’s health teacher, Laura Alberti. Listen in on the conversation:
Now I turn the task to you, the audience. Take into account what you, your students, your peers, learn about consent. Is it proficient in both teaching prevention and educating about their rights? The first step, obviously, is to know these rights and help educate others around you. In addition to having foundational knowledge about Title IX and its relation to sexual assault, you should strive to identify resources available to you in your community.
After thinking about what I wanted to do, I decided to talk to the leaders of our consent talks, the Women’s Affinity group and health educator, Laura Alberti. Everyone is confident that an “Aftermath Curriculum” will be incorporated into the regular consent curriculum, but will be helping the committee formulate and visualize that further, in order to hone it in.