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Sexual Violence Awareness Week

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January 11-15, Blacksburg High School will host its first Sexual Violence Awareness Week, a public relations project by Seniors Leah Hendershot and Jane Chadwick. The two hope to shed light on an issue rarely discussed on high school campuses, leaving an impact that continues long after they graduate.

“[Sexual violence] is a problem at BHS that some people know about and are doing nothing to stop. Others have no idea it is happening,” writes Hendershot. “Last year we did a project about international sex trafficking that resonated with us. This year, we wanted to do a project that would have a lasting impact on our peers.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 8.20.51 AMHendershot and Chadwick have titled their project “kNOw means NO,” a play on the more commonly known anti-rape slogan “no means no.” Their primary goal is to educate students about the current sexual violence issue at Blacksburg High and what can be done to remediate it.

In early January, they released an online student-survey to gather data about current student experiences with and perceptions of sexual violence. According to a 2011 survey by the American Association of University Women, 58% of 7th-12th graders experience sexual harassment in a given school year. During Sexual Violence Awareness Week, they plan to release their own findings.

The week will feature a number of activities designed to raise school and community awareness. Hendershot and Chadwick plan to deliver presentations and distribute fact sheets to Junior and Senior English classes. They have also designed TV advertisements, hall posters, and intercom announcements for every school day.

The main event will take place on the afternoon of Friday, January 15, when the school will be showing the documentary The Mask You Live In at 5 PM in the auditorium. Hendershot writes, “The movie shows how we as a society can raise a healthier generation of boys and men in order to stop the continuation of sexual violence.” Admission is free and all members of the Blacksburg community are invited. WSLS 10, The Roanoke Times, and Mayor Ron Rordam have also been invited.

“By bringing awareness to these problems in our school, I hope that my peers will carry this message with them throughout the rest of their lives. Hopefully the small role we play in bringing awareness to the problem will make a difference,” Chadwick concluded.

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2 Responses to “Sexual Violence Awareness Week”

  1. Glen Gauss on January 22nd, 2016 10:53 am

    This is something that has been goin on for many years in that high school and it is about time that it is finally bein addressed as it needed to be for a very long time and I’m glad it is finally gettin the attention it needs and desevered for a very long. Blacksburg high school senior 2009 Glen Gauss.


  2. Jill Bloom on March 2nd, 2016 1:57 pm

    This week did so much for our school. This is a topic of conversation that needs to be talked about in high schools, yet is rarely spoken about. I think that this inspired many students to speak out and become more educated on the topic of sexual violence. I’m so proud my children attend a school where this is not “taboo” but instead a topic of education and conversation.


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The student news site of Blacksburg High School
Sexual Violence Awareness Week