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Hashtags that Hit Home – The #MeTooK12 Movement

By: Colleen Curtin, Youth Program Coordinator, DVN

#MeToo, #TimesUp, #MeTooK12 – hashtags abound these days and as much as I try, I cannot  keep up. This last one really hits home for me though. My new new job at DVN as the Youth Program Coordinator is to bring training and programming to youth and young adults in and around Indianapolis. #MeTooK12 is THEIR story. It is a hashtag created by the non-profit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, in response to the #MeToo campaign that has swept across social media platforms in recent months. #MeTooK12 provides a space for survivors to share their experiences from kindergarten through 12th grade. Their stories are powerful and so is the call to action. In the United States, young people ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. Teens age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.  Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. are a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Those numbers are difficult to read. The impact that these violent incidents have on young lives is far reaching.

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools was founded by the parents of a high school student who was sexually assaulted on a school field trip. They were disappointed at the lack of support the system provided for their daughter. Their hope with this campaign is to provide awareness about the issues facing youth, provide resources for activism to combat violence, and resources for advocacy. I hope #MeTooK12 will raise awareness in our own community about the challenges facing students, and that it will inspire all of us to become advocates for justice for all survivors and encourage us to engage important conversations with the teens in our lives who need support and encouragement and provide our institutions with motivation to increase and improve policies for survivors in our schools.

“Few people of influence understand how sexual harassment and assault devastate the lives of K-12 students, their families, and friends — beginning in elementary school; and the younger the victim, the more devastating the impact and greater vulnerability to repeated assault. Not only do the survivors’ emotional and psychological scars endure long after the incidents, their social lives, education, and career dreams can be shattered.” – SSAIS

*All statistics are from Futures Without Violence.

Written by Colleen Curtin, Youth Program Coordinator