Now More Than Ever

Now More Than Ever

Last week, two Steubenville high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in a semi-conscious state, were found guilty by an Ohio Judge. But this isn’t the end of the story. In fact, now that a verdict has been reached, it’s more important than ever to speak out against sexual violence.

Because it also happened in Connecticut, where two high school football players have recently been charged with second degree assault of a 13-year-old girl. And it happened in New Jersey, where two students raped a 15-year-old in a stairwell. And it could happen at a high school near you unless we all stand up and insist that it stop.

The Steubenville rape case, which illustrated the entitlement that star football players felt in their small sports-loving community, makes it painfully clear that we can no longer remain bystanders in these heartbreaking events. Parents, coaches, teachers and students all need to play a role in preventing the sexual violence before it starts.

Our own violence prevention program Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) provides high school sports coaches with the tools they need to teach their young athletes what healthy and respectful relationships look like. Working from a 12 week Playbook and Coaches Kit curriculum, coaches are trained to lead conversations with their players on topics that they might never have discussed before: respect for women and girls, digital dating abuse, personal responsibility and positive bystander behavior.

In fact, a 3 year evidence-based CDC study in 16 Sacramento, California high schools showed that student athletes who participated in CBIM were more likely to call out abusive behavior among their peers than those outside the program.

Phil Conley, a varsity basketball coach in Portland, ME implemented CBIM this past season and found that it changed the entire chemistry and culture of his team. “I've said it before and I'll say it 100 times,” said Coach Conley. “I firmly believe that this (program) brought my team together to where it is today."

Let’s blow the whistle on bad behavior instead of texting or tweeting about it in social media. Now is the time to give schools, teachers, coaches and students the tools they need to prevent and end sexual assault. To learn more about CBIM, visit:: http://www.coachescorner.org/.

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