Educating students about sexual assault, abuse

Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 14, 2016

They are the faces of abusers most recently making news -- finally caught sometimes after months of victimizing the most vulnerable.           

We know their names, but of course, not every abuser makes the news.

Most kids don't tell people right away. Fifty percent of them don't tell anybody in the first month and 75 percent wait even longer than that,” said Lisae Jordan with the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  

Jordan said part of that is kids not knowing what to do when someone crosses the line. That's where House Bill 72, also known as Erin's Law, comes in.

“It will say that all kids in K-12 are going to receive some kind of education about how to identify and how to prevent sexual assault and sexual abuse. It'll be done in an age appropriate way so we want to make sure that we're talking to kids in a way that they can understand,” Joran said.

Jordan worked with the bill's sponsor, Del. Eric Luedtke, to finally pass the bill through the House and Senate and get it to the governor's desk.

He said there has been some concern that these school conversations would be inappropriate, but he said other than that, the bill has gotten a lot support

“It's the single more effective thing we can do to reduce child abuse,” Luedtke said.

This is personal for the delegate from his past job.

“I was a middle school teacher for a long time so I have a lot of concern obviously for what happens to students. I had students who were victims outside of school during the time I worked in the school system, there were two incidents in my own school,” he said.

Luedtke calls the bill  - in its second year in this form - straightforward. Jordan calls it responsible. Both said they're looking forward to the bill's signing and swift implementation next school year.

“We want to give kids the tools to go talk to somebody. It's not the kids responsibility to stop sex abuse, it's not the kids responsibility to prevent sexual abuse, but we do have a responsibility to talk to kids about what might happen and just give them the tools to respond,” Jordan said.

Erin’s Law has passed in 26 states in the last six years.

See more from the ABC2 special Community in Crisis: Violence Against Women:

Rape crisis and recovery centers in Maryland

Woman uses her own experience with rape to help others heal

How to talk to your child about sexual assault

Lethality Assessment Program used to identify potentially deadly relationships

Sexual abuse survivors shut down North Ave with The Monument Quilt

SAFE Program at GBMC empowers sexual assault victims

Advocate fights to end street harassment through local non-profit

INFOGRAPHIC: Sexual violence against women by the numbers

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindleand Android.