Sexual Assault Not Just a College Issue

Oct 20, 2016

The 2005 video showing Donald Trump bragging about groping and making unwanted sexual advances, and the growing number of women accusing Trump of sexual assault, have renewed a national discussion about preventing sexual assault. While addressing sexual assault has become a prominent discussion on college campuses, action on high school campuses has been slower.

When Abigail Strutzenberger was a junior at Treynor High School in 2013, a classmate assaulted her after taking her keys during the school day. After she came forward about the abuse, many of the students and adults in her community were unsupportive.

"I lost a lot of friends because of this, and a lot of parents told their children that they shouldn't talk to me. It was a very hard thing. I got harassed at school, I got told I wanted it to happen and that I asked for it to happen to me."

Her attacker took a plea to two non-sexual assault charges and one charge of false imprisonment and was placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years. Now Strutzenberger is speaking out for better practices in preventing and addressing sexual assault at the high school level.

"I was always told it happens in college, but no one ever mentioned how often it happens in high school. There needs to be a change with the whole victim blaming, and the less silence there is, the less change there will be. [...] It definitely makes me think that we need to be more proactive with dialogue and recognize that it’s not just a college issue." 

In this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Strutzenberger about the intersection of sexual assault prevention and education.

Also in this hour:

  • Alan Heisterkamp, director of the center for violence prevention
  • Jen Gomez, director of students services and equity education in Sioux City public schools