BHR 9- middle school-day5- sexual assault

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Building Healthy Relationships – Middle School Curriculum

Program 5


This program is designed for students age 12-14 as an introduction to understanding sexual assault. This interactive session provides students with definitions of sexual assault, and creates an awareness of issues related to sexual violence. Furthermore the program addresses sexual assault prevention and safety.

As a result of this program students will:

  1. Learn about and identify local resources for sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. Learn definitions and consequences of sexual assault.

  2. Identify ways to prevent sexual assault and be an ally to survivors of assault.

  3. Learn that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.

Presenter Preparation:

  1. Blank papers for anonymous questions

2. Pencils/pens

Upon arrival:

  1. Arrange seating (if possible) to facilitate discussion. All students should be able to see the presenter (e.g. semi-circle).

  2. Write on the board:

Middle Way House

(812) 336-0846 24/7 crisis line




  • Introduce yourself personally. Explain briefly what your role is at the MWH/Rise.

  • If an OSA is available they should introduce themselves, and explain their role. Explain that some of the information we will discuss can be upsetting, and anyone should feel free to step out if uncomfortable. The OSA will follow anyone out the classroom in case they want to talk. OSAs should assure confidentiality.


  • Ask by show of hands how may students have heard of the Middle Way House. Ask those who raised their hands to share what they know.

  • Explain that MWH is a non-profit organization committed to fighting gender violence. The Middle Way House encompasses a number of services:

  • An emergency shelter for women and children who need a safe place to stay because of violence at home.

  • A rape crisis center with trained advocates that meet people that have experienced sexual assault at the hospital and on scene (if the perpetrator has been arrested). The advocates also are available for phone support. The advocates are available 24/7. This service is available to all genders.

  • A crisis line available 24/7 for people to receive support, ask questions, receive resources regarding relationships, domestic violence and sexual assault. Indicate the number on the board and explain the free, anonymous, confidential concepts. This service is available to all genders.

  • Rise transitional housing. For women and children that have experience domestic violence. It is a 28 unit building where families can reside for up to two years.

  • Free legal consultation e.g. help filing for protective orders or divorce. Legal advocates also accompany survivors to court.

  • Education and prevention programs like the one we are presenting today.


  • Ground Rules

Ask the class what kind of ground rules they would like to have for our discussion. We want it to be a safe place for people to voice their opinions and learn from each other.

If they have not said it already, add:

  • Agree to disagree.

We may have strong opinions, and it is ok for people to disagree.

  • Respect.

  • Confidentiality.

What is said in the room stays in the room

  • Why are we here?

We are here today to talk about sexual assault. We are not here to say if you should be in romantic relationships or having sex. We are here to provide information and have a discussion.


Rape and sexual assault are difficult issues to talk about. This topic can be even more challenging and confusing when people are not sure what the words “rape” and “sexual assault” mean. Many people have heard things about sexual assault that are not true. In this activity we will define sexual assault and rape.

Have students write their definition of rape and sexual assault on a piece of paper, then write on the board:


Ask the students to share their definitions and write them on the board. Ultimately you want to convey that, according to Indiana Law, rape is unwanted (without consent) sexual intercourse, and sexual assault is unwanted sexual touching.

3. Defining and Explaining Consent

Write: CONSENT on the board.

Ask students what it means

Discuss the difference between giving in and giving permission. Explain that consent is stronger than agreeing, it’s giving permission. Ask students to think of things that they’ve agreed to do but didn’t actually want to do. Give some examples such as taking out the garbage or doing homework. Then explain that consent, in the context of sexual activity, must happen between all participating people—it must be mutual.

Explain the “must haves” for consent in the state of Indiana.

Consent = Mutual Permission

1.You must be 16 years old

2.You must be sober

3.You must be awake


The human thermometer, or line game, asks students to place themselves standing on an imaginary line in the room based on their opinions about a statement. This activity will help the students better understand sexual assault, and will challenge some common stereotypes about sexual violence.

Ask students to stand. Have enough space around the room for them to move around freely. Designate one side of the room “agree”, and one side “disagree”. Explain to students you will read a statement and they should decide whether they agree, disagree, or are somewhere in between and stand in the room accordingly.


  • People get raped no matter how good looking they are, how they dress, or how “sexy” they behave.


Anyone can be raped. Rape is a crime of violence. Controlling another human being is what motivated the perpetrator, not the way someone dresses or acts.

  • People between the ages of 16-19 are more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted


Teens 16-19 are more likely than the general population to be assaulted or raped. 80% of people that have been assaulted are under 30; half of these are under 18 (FBI 2007).

Ask students: why do you think young people have a higher chance of getting assaulted?

Explain: Since rape is about power and control, rapists choose to assault people that are more vulnerable and easy to control like young people, elderly people or people with disabilities.

  • Most people who rape don’t know their victims


About 80% of rapists and people that sexually assault know their victims. About 30% of rapists are former or current husbands or boyfriends of the victim, 35% are acquaintances and another 5% are family members (FBI 2007).

  • People who rape do it because they want to have sex


Rape is a violent act. It is about controlling and overpowering another human being through forced sexual activity. People who rape are not looking for sexual satisfaction; they are looking for a feeling of control.

  • Rape and sexual assault usually happen when the victim and the perpetrator have been using alcohol or drugs


Alcohol and other drugs can escalate the frequency and severity of abuse, and can also be used as an excuse to justify the abuser’s use of violence. Alcohol and other drugs do not cause sexual assault, what causes it is the choice of a person to rape, or to use sexual violence as a mean of control and degradation.

In addition being intoxicated prevents you form being able to consent to sexual activities, and makes you more vulnerable. Note that some victims may use alcohol or other drugs as a way to cope with being assaulted.


Pass out blank pieces of paper. Ask students to write a question or comment on the piece of paper. Instruct students to NOT write their names on the piece of paper. Be sure everyone turns in a piece of paper even if they do not have a question to ensure the questions remain anonymous. Answer the questions in class. If you don’t have enough time, tell them you will send answers to the school.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very informative information for middle school students. Contact: (Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Abuse)

Comment by rcasa

can i use this for an educational project in a school? i really like the idea of the “thermometer game” thank you.

Comment by Sarah


Comment by beyondmeresurvival

Thank you!

Comment by Sarah

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