Students Publicize Anti-Rape Petition

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Students Publicize Anti-Rape Petition

By Sarah Asch

Sophomores Summer Hutson, Emerson Bualat, Hayley Swanson, and Francis Streitmann have created an online petition in connection with their Change the World project for their Core class. The petition, which they advertised on Facebook and through their Instagram account (@endrapeinmarin), gained a lot of traction among Tam students, earning over 600 signatures.
“For our KD/Chamberlin core we have to do a Change the World project,” Streitman said. “We have to choose something that we find is wrong with the world, and we chose rape culture.”
According to social issues teacher Luc Chamberlin, the goal is to get students involved the world. “We want to teach people to be participatory in their democracy,” he said. “Unfortunately, most of the World History curriculum is violent and quite negative, so the Change the World project gives kids a positive way to make a difference.”
Huston, Bualat, and Streitman have worked on the project the entire school year and Swanson joined more recently.
“The first semester it was basically just a research project about the history of the problem and what’s wrong with it,” Huston said. “And then the second semester what we’re doing is we’re finding something to make a difference. Something small that we can actually achieve in seven weeks or less. So we chose to make part of the sex education curriculum in the district be about rape and rape culture. There’s a lot of myths about rape out there and a lot of people don’t understand what rape is and how to prevent it.”
According to Swanson, she was drawn to participating in the project after seeing the others present to the class. “Entering this group project, now I feel like I’m more educated [about rape and rape culture], and I understand it more,” Swanson said. “Beforehand, when they were just presenting, even though it was a small speech, it was shocking….I was interested in the fact that schools weren’t taking this as seriously as they necessarily needed to be.”
As the project continues, the four girls are working up to presenting to the school board in order to try to get teachers to include a lesson plan that they are creating in the social issues curriculum.
“We went around and we talked to all the teachers to see what they were already teaching about rape and most of them taught very little, and they were all open to getting a lesson plan from us and teaching information we had researched,” Huston said. “So basically what we’re planning on doing is going to the Board of Trustees, presenting our petition, and basically having a speech prepared to convince them to put this into the curriculum.”
Ultimately, the goal of the project is to provide kids with an education about an important topic. “We hope that at the end of this project we accomplish our goal and by the next year everyone can understand rape in a better way,” Huston said.
The petition can be found on change.org, started by Bualat and titled “Add Information About Rape & Rape Culture Into the Social Issues Curriculum.”