Cleveland Rape Crisis Center continues scheduled visits to health classrooms

A Note from SNO: This is an ongoing story from The Shakerite news staff at Shaker Heights High School in Ohio. We’ve chosen to highlight a few of the several stories published to date on this topic as an example of how a news staff can cover a developing story from multiple angles.Print Editor in Chief Shane McKeon published a letter explaining the staff’s rationale for publishing the stories. The comprehensive continuing coverage is excellent. Visit The Shakerite for complete coverage of this story as it develops.

Through health classes, the high school has been educating students with the aid of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center about sexual assault and rape for the past several years.

Brian Dodyck has been visiting health classrooms every semester for the past six years, according to health teacher Hubert McIntyre. Alex Leslie, Director of Prevention and Outreach Programs at CRCC said Dodyck will be in health classrooms the last week of October.

The curriculum includes helping people understand what sexual violence is, discussing consent and healthy relationships. “We make sure everyone has our resources, our hotline number and we provide bus tickets for people to get to us,” Leslie said. “We want to be a resource for people to get help at anytime for free.”

The curriculum will not be changing in light of the alleged rape. “Generally, we go to a lot of schools, and many school have had incidents,” Leslie said. “We do not single out a single incident as it will probably do more harm than good. It would be more traumatic to the community.”

The CRCC advocates on behalf of rape victims and helps to protect their rights. “Our goal, as a lot of prevention programs are targeted at women and how they can prevent themselves from being sexually assaulted creates victim blaming,” Leslie said. “It’s not logical, we don’t do that with other crimes.”

The visits eliminate myths and misconceptions about rape and rape victims, according to McIntyre.

“We want to empower men and women, boys and girls,” he said. “If there’s a situation they have lots of options for what they can do to make that situation safer or distracting the situation or to diffuse it.”

The CRCC often uses the term “upstanders,” encouraging students to report to authorities if they see something, rather than keeping quiet and being a “bystander.”

In terms of prevention, “we really can’t prevent something if we don’t have people looking out knowing they have a role to play. Intervention, we want people to listen to their friends and get the resources they need,” Leslie said.

“Education is very important because it keeps us out of this ‘vacuum’ that we live in,” McIntyre said. Students always remember the CRCC’s presentation as the most memorable and informative, according to McIntyre’s account of the student surveys at the end of the semester.

The CRCC gives students additional resources and emphasizes bystander awareness, according to McIntyre.

HOTLINE NUMBER: 216-619-6192

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