Maine high school hosts sexual assault, awareness forum

Students discuss sexual harassment

TOPSHAM, Maine (NECN)-- As powerful men fall, and more women speak up about sexual misconduct, some students in Maine are hoping to learn from the "Me Too" movement. 

Every freshman and sophomore at Mount Ararat High School in Topsham, Maine took part in an "Awareness Day" Tuesday. It included sessions about sexual harassment, consent, assault, and gender stereotypes. 

"We think this topic is important and we want our peers to hear about this," said Dalton Streeter, a senior at the high school. 

Dalton, and a handful of other student leaders, recently attended a training by nonprofit Boys to Men. 

"Our work makes the connection between the healthy emotional development of boys, the benefit of gender equality, and the need for all of us to come together to end violence against girls," said Boys to Men Executive Director Matt Theodores. 

The students from Mount Ararat found the training so helpful, they asked to have every student at their school receive it. 

"We all just wanted to bring it back to our school to spread the message to change the whole culture at our school," said student Hayden Libby. 

The students, along with facilitators from Boys to Men, discussed scenarios about healthy and unhealthy relationships. They defined consent and debated gender stereotypes. 

Theodores says demand for their training has skyrocketed in recent years. And in recent months, their work has never seemed so important. 

"It's an interesting time," said Theodores, referring to the number of high profile men who have lost powerful positions due to sexual misconduct allegations, and the many women who have come forward to say they too have experienced harassment or assault. 

"It's really encouraging to see a group of students not accepting the culture that's being handed to them," said Theodores. 

The students said they're spreading the word about consent and respect, in the hopes that instead of saying "me too," they'll someday say "no more." 

"Our generation is the one that's going to change it," said student Meriwether Stockford. 

Copyright 2017 NECN


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