Whether the sexual abuse/harassment occurred during one incident yesterday or many times several years ago, reporting it to authorities is a scary and highly stressful process. Living with the uncertainty of not reporting can be equally painful and debilitating. There is no correct way for all victims. There is no easy way for any victim. S.E.S.A.M.E. is here to support you through your justice seeking journey with the following recommendations:
Generally speaking, before reporting to any official, it is best to have the emotional support of at least one individual and/or an experienced counseling entity such as the local rape crisis center, community mental health service, or child advocacy center. Do not hesitate to report your sexual abuse directly to your local, county, and state law enforcement agencies, district or state attorney's office, and any child protection agency. All of these have trained sexual abuse investigators and most have supportive victim advocates. Schools have neither.
Non-touching and verbal sexual harassment by school staff should never be ignored. Such inappropriate behaviors are the "red flags" that trained administrators must take seriously. These same "minor" boundary violations may signal the beginnings of the grooming (seduction) process -- or may be indicative of past extensive abuses of power. "A seemingly minor incident of sexual touching by a close and trusted adult can have a profound and lasting impact." (Protecting Our Students: Ontario Attorney General's Report, 2000, p. 134) Report all incidents to the designated Title IX official at your school. Repeating your complaint to the highest ranking administrator as well might be discouraged but it is to your best benefit. A call to your state's Department of Educator Professional Practice or Teacher Misconduct Office should be made also. All students deserve to have educators who are held to high standards of ethical professionalism. All teacher credentialing units hold a public mandate to be vigilant in their oversight of all who hold certification to teach their state's children.
If you need support, S.E.S.A.M.E and our board of experienced professionals can help. Contact us today.
Deliberate false accusations against teachers are reprehensible, cause untold damage, and may constitute a crime. S.E.S.A.M.E. encourages schools to train and educate administrators, teachers, parents and students about appropriate boundaries so that there is a shared understanding of appropriate behavior.
To report abuse or misconduct, contact:
ChildHelp: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or visit www.childhelp.org
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) or visit www.RAINN.org