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Sex Education Classes in Missouri Could Soon Also Cover Sexual V - KOAM TV 7

Sex Education Classes in Missouri Could Soon Also Cover Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, and Consent

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WEBB CITY, MISSOURI -

The Missouri legislature has passed a bill requiring school districts that teach sex education to also include information about sexual violence, sexual harassment, and consent.

"We have had people seek services here," says Louise Secker with Joplin's Lafayette House, a domestic Violence and sexual assault advocacy organization.  "And it's not just for an assault that has happened in the immediate prior days.  Sometimes it's something that has happened to them in the past, six months or a year, that they're just now seeking counseling for."

Most of the domestic violence survivors who come to the Lafayette House are between 20 and 35 years old.  Chances are, high school classes aren't a distant memory to them.

"If we can get in and make a difference early on, that's what we're here to do," says Webb City Schools Superintendent Tony Rossetti. 

Rossetti says the sex ed classes taught to his students already include some information about sexual violence, sexual harassment, and consent.  He hasn't heard yet if those classes will have to be more specific.

"If you can set that foundation early on, then perhaps we can make kids aware that later on, even currently, but later on those types of behaviors aren't acceptable in a civilized community," says Rossetti.

"Sexual assault or rape is known as one of the most under reported crimes," says Secker.  The Lafayette House has seen a 50 percent increase in cases over the past three years.  "I am hoping that just the awareness of the services we offer and the fact they're confidential has encouraged more people to come forward and report it," says Secker.

Secker hopes the same for Missouri schools:  A standard in the classroom for sexual assault awareness brings more cases forward.

Many school districts in the area use the Life Choices organization for their sex ed curriculum. 

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