Steamboat students form new club to promote awareness about sexual assault |

Steamboat students form new club to promote awareness about sexual assault

A group of Steamboat Springs High School students recently formed a club that is focused on sexual assault awareness. Pictured in the front, from left, are Mackenzie Ward, Brooke Buchanan and Riley Toye. Back row: Grant McNamara, David LaPointe, Sedona Lewis, Ellie Kavanaugh, Natalie Simon, Amy Speer, Kelly Petix and Izzy Rillos.
Courtesy Photo

— A group of Steamboat Springs High School students have recently taken it upon themselves to educate their peers about the issue of sexual assault through a newly founded club.

High school senior Sedona Lewis started the group after conversations with her peers revealed an alarming number of sexual assault incidents among high school students.

“I was on a school trip and someone brought it up, and the students started talking about it, and we agreed that it was a really big problem,” Lewis said. “Because Steamboat is a small place, we felt we could make a big difference.”

The student-led group decided to focus their efforts on the issue of sexual assault in the high school. Lewis researched different campaigns and learned about an organization called PAVE — Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment — and their campaign, SafeBAE. After speaking with the director of SafeBAE, the Steamboat students began discussing ways to change the conversation surrounding sexual assault in the high school.

“PAVE focuses on the idea of consent rather than the harsh, scary stuff about rape,” Lewis explained. “We liked that message because we never wanted kids to be scared or unsafe talking about sexual assault.”

To gain insight into the true impact of sexual assault on students, Lewis and her peers conducted a school-wide survey. According to data gathered from the survey, 50 percent of the Steamboat Springs High School student body know someone who has been sexually assaulted, and one in 10 students have been victims of sexual assault.

The group viewed these results as further evidence of the need to confront sexual assault in the high school and to create a safe environment in their school.

Lewis and 10 other students decided to host an assembly and present a 30-minute presentation to discuss misconceptions and stigmas about consent, as well as statistics from the survey.

“We wanted to stress the simplicity of consent, it’s just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” Lewis said. “We wanted to clarify that so everyone knows. It’s not something that is talked about very often.”

The response from Steamboat Springs High School students has been positive. Wristbands handed out at the assembly are now a relatively common sight around school, and Lewis says her peers have been vocal about their support for the group’s mission to prevent sexual assault.

Additionally, the group has been asked to speak to organizations like Young Life and have been invited to present at other schools and health classes.

“I’m planning to take it to other places, too,” Lewis explained. “And at the end of this year, we may do something just for upperclassmen talking about college. It’s about taking preventative measures rather than addressing after it happens.”

Community members can find more information about the group by contacting Lewis at Steamboat Springs High School students are welcome to join the club for meetings every Thursday in Mr. Nilsson’s room.

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