Young Women’s Leadership Update

Maisy Del Deo and Veda Kiper-Phelps

The Young Women’s Leadership Support subgroup was created with the intention to make all YHS students feel safer, more supported, and more comfortable in the school. The group has recently been working with the YHS health department on a project about education on sexual harassment and assault. The group has noticed that there is a lack of education around sexual harassment and assault in the school, which can lead to unhealthy situations. 

According to the Associated Press, from 2011 to 2015, about 17,000 sexual assaults were committed by U.S. students. 18.4% of Maine high school students:  26.4% of girls and 10.6% of boys – report having been the target of offensive sexual comments at school or on the way to or from school, says MCASA (Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault). 

The project the group is working on will add more information regarding sexual harassment/assault to the required health curriculums as a way to give valuable information to the entire student body. The curriculum will include the differences between assault and harassment, how to identify both, and what to do if either is witnessed or experienced along with how to reach out for help regarding these issues. The lessons will further highlight the fact that it’s not a student’s responsibility to go through this alone. 

Making sure every student has knowledge of the basics of these topics is one step closer to making the community a better, more safe place for every individual. The group strongly believes that having more frequent conversations and lessons around the topic of sexual harassment/assault will smash the stigma and create a healthier and safer environment in YHS. Feel free to stop by a Young Women’s Leadership meeting during PIE time on Tuesdays in the library – questions and conversations are always welcome and encouraged!