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Prevention Education

Growing Strong’s prevention education program strives to educate children and adults about bodily autonomy, consent and protecting oneself and others from sexual abuse. We provide the sexual abuse and grooming prevention education lessons required by Illinois Board of Education under Erin’s Law and Faith’s Law. At no cost to the organizations which host us, we break the silence which so often lurks around these issues, offering information which helps learners to build respect for themselves and for others. We equip learners to make informed decisions around telling people in authority when someone’s behavior makes them uncomfortable, avoiding or leaving risky situations, and conducting their own relationships respectfully.

Some statistics that parents, and adults need to be aware of:

  1. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  2. Only 1 in 10 children disclose child sexual abuse.
  3. Over 90% of the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are people the victims know.
  4. As many as 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children.

We work to empower children to keep themselves safe, and to call for help from adults when they need it.

Schools

Growing Strong offers multiple prevention education lessons to each grade (Preschool – 12th grade) but can compress our offering to a single lesson which fulfills the Erin’s Law/Faith’s Law Requirement if time is at a premium.

Primary and Intermediate Grades

The focus for younger children is on teaching them that they get to decide when touching is welcome, and when is not. Because these children can be targets for much older children and adults, we offer strategies for navigating the power differential and for trusting their own gut when a situation feels uncomfortable. Growing Strong presents videos carefully tuned to children’s developmental levels using language which is friendly and empowering.

Erin’s Law / Faith’s Law

These are lessons designed to prevent sexual abuse and grooming. We focus on 4 themes:

  1. Children are the bosses of their own bodies, especially of their private areas
  2. Children do not deserve to be abused, and it is never their fault if abuse happens
  3. Children need to tell a trusted adult when they experience abuse, and if the first adult is not helpful, to continue to tell others until someone steps up to keep them safe.
  4. Touch requires consent. We all should be asking for permission before we try to hug, hold hands with, or tickle another person, and we all have the right to say “yes” if we want the touch, “no” if we do not, and we also may change our minds at any time.

Bully Prevention

When we have a second opportunity to meet with young students, we offer these lessons. we cover the “Golden Rule” – the importance of treating other as we would like to be treated. We teach that nobody deserves to be bullied, and encourage students to enlist the help of a trusted adult in getting the bullying to stop (and to persist in telling adults until somebody helps.)

Good Choice-making

When we are able to meet a third time with young students, we have a range of offerings which cover anger management, doing our best, and an animated introduction to human trafficking. School officials may choose from among these which fits the needs of their school

Middle School

In middle school, the curriculum shifts as students are beginning to negotiate the complexity of romantic interest among their peers.

Erin’s Law / Faith’s Law

We discuss what sexual harassment looks like, how consent functions in the way we treat people, how to deal with sexual harassment whether it comes from another student or an adult, and who and how to tell about abuse if it happens. We reinforce that nobody deserves harassment or abuse, and that it is never the victim’s fault

Bully Prevention

For middle schoolers, we talk about bullying online as well as in person. We cover ways that bystanders can intervene to end bullying.

Internet Safety

Middle School students are beginning to spend significant time in social media and other Internet venues, so we offer lessons on managing one’s digital presence, the dangers of sexting, and recognizing signs of human trafficking

High School

The high school curriculum is structured differently. Because presentations each year are often made to assemblies of students from all grades, Growing Strong has a 4 year set of different programs which rotate each year.

Erin’s Law / Faith’s Law

In high school, our focus is on teen dating abuse prevention. We teach that consent for any sexual activity must legally require a verbal “Yes” at each step from a partner who is enthusiastic and unimpaired by alcohol or other drugs. We discuss the nature of rape, and the increased danger alcohol adds to potentially abusive scenarios.

Dating Abuse

Understanding the difference between healthy and toxic relationships, and how to extricate oneself when a relationship no longer feels healthy, are covered in additional programs we make available.

Bystander Intervention

In these lessons, we cover the way friends can look after one another in situations which begin to feel uncomfortable, whether it be unwelcome romantic attention, unintentional over-consumption of drugs or alcohol, or potential human trafficking. The unexpected costs of sexting is also offered.