TW: This article contains description of sexual assault.
A then 17-year-old girl shared her experience of being choked her against the side of a car by her boyfriend who had used her for her body, her story to be posted on the MVHS Me Too Instagram during their sexual assault awareness week. She and the club wanted to share a survivor’s story and let other survivors know that they are not alone.
From April 19 to April 23, the Me Too Club made a post on their Instagram each day to spread awareness and open conversation about different topics, including information about consent, victim blaming, and violence.
Co-President Sasha Sokoloff explains the goal of the club aspires is to create a safe space for survivors to go to where they are supported, and to open up the conversation about sexual assault. She added that the sexual assault awareness week they’ve cultivated aims to give students an opportunity to learn and to honor April as sexual assault awareness month.
For day one, the club shared a video explaining the difference between sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment, and how being aware of these terms is a great way to be an ally to sexual assault survivors.
On day two, the Me Too club shared information about how one cannot give consent under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“In the high school setting, that’s a very common scenario and one that shouldn’t be common,” Sokoloff said, “so it’s important for us to remind everyone that consent under the influence is not possible.”
For day three, the club shared a survivor’s story about a 17-year-old girl who was sexually harassed and assaulted by her boyfriend. The post said that her boyfriend became jealous when she was no longer solely devoted to him and became obsessed with her body. One day, he took her on a drive and went so fast she thought she was going to die. When he stopped she tried to run but he held her by her throat and shoved her into his car. She lied and said he loved him to escape and later filed a restraining order. This event scarred her and caused her to have many anxiety attacks, though she eventually recovered.
Sokoloff said that the club felt that sharing a survivor’s story was one of the best ways to provide awareness about this topic and give a real-life example of an assault. “It shows them that they’re that they will be okay and that they are not alone,” Sokoloff said.
“If somebody sees that it’s happened to somebody before and it’s happened to them, they may want to put their story out there.” Club advisor Tami Kittle said. Kittle said that many survivors may not even know that what they experienced was assault until they see it happen to someone else. Seeing someone else’s story can help them feel comfortable to come forward about their own with a circle of people ready to support them.
On days four and five, the club shared information about victim blaming and jail time for perpetrators.
“[The Me Too Club] wants to do as much as we can to bring awareness to this to make our campus safer, as well as the students’ lives safer,” Kittle said.
As victim of sexual assault herself, seeing Co-Presidents Ava Hinz and Sasha Sokoloff be so passionate about making sure victims of sexual assault were listened to and heard inspired Kittle to be a part of this club.
Kittle explains how she saw how girls weren’t believed if they decided to speak up about being assaulted, and boys were put down for being weak.
“I think students in high school, because they’re developing and they don’t have their voice yet, need to understand that they have rights, and that they have a voice,” Kittle said.