Students and staff at Hood River Valley High School have been raising awareness of sexual assault with the “It’s On Us-Hood River” campaign. “It’s On Us” educates students and staff about sexual assault and freely given consent while debunking myths associated with this underreported crime, myths like, “It doesn’t happen in Hood River.” In fact, in 2015, 14 percent of the junior class at HRVHS reported that they participated in sexual activity they did not want. That is one out of every seven juniors at HRVHS. Sexual assault is happening in Hood River.
Preventing sexual violence has come squarely into focus for all the roles in my life as a community member, husband, parent of three (soon to be four) children, and the principal of HRVHS. It is my duty to ensure that young adults at HRVHS have the knowledge and skills to prevent sexual assault.
Sexual violence affects survivors, families, and loved ones immensely and immediately. However, in a less obvious way, these violent crimes also impact our schools and communities. Sexual assault drives a divisive wedge through our student body while impacting our criminal justice, medical, and mental-health systems and services. This violence and the threat of it erodes the safety net of our community and contributes to an atmosphere of anger and fear.
Please talk openly and frankly with your children about the reality of sexual assault. Educate your children — boys and girls — about consent, how it is given, when consent can be withdrawn and how to do so. Consent videos can be found on YouTube. (For young children, search YouTube: “Consent for Kids,” and for older children, “Tea Consent Clean.”)
Sexual Assault Awareness Week in Hood River County begins April 2. There are many events planned for the week; you can help raise awareness by joining any of the activities listed on the “Hood River Valley It’s On Us” Facebook page.
Thank you for helping us raise awareness to prevent sexual assault in our community.
It’s on us, Hood River. It’s on all of us.
Principal, Hood River Valley High School
As head coaches of the Hood River Valley High School’s athletic programs, we strive to create an environment which teaches skill, competitiveness and sportsmanship. However, fostering personal growth in our athletes is the most important part of our work. In our programs, winning is secondary to character development.
April is sexual assault awareness month, so we write this letter to publicly recommit our program to developing individuals with the character to prevent sexual assault and the courage to speak out against it.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control states that nearly one in five women and one in 71 men reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives. It is a misconception that this issue appears in the college years. In fact, according to this same source, 29.9 percent of female rape victims were first raped between the ages of 11-17. It is also a misconception that sexual assault is not relevant to us in the Gorge. In 2015, almost 14 percent of HRVHS juniors reported experiencing unwanted sexual activity. These are our players, our students, and members of our community. It is our honor and our duty to protect them and give them the tools to protect themselves from sexual violence.
Join us in reaching out to our kids. Talk to them about situations when sexual assault may occur. Teach them when to look out for others and how to intervene on their behalf. Help us create a community in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. It’s on us to do something.
Tom Ames, athletic director
Brandon Bertram, head coach, boys/girls
cross country and track and field
Kelly Cunningham, head coach,
Christopher Dirks, head coach, boys basketball
Kellie Dunn, head coach, girls water polo
Kevin Haspela, head coach, girls soccer
Donnie Herneisen, head coach, girls basketball
Jon Hiatt, head coach, boys tennis
Michelle Jacobs, athletics assistant
LisaAnn Kawachi, head coach,
cheerleading, competitive cheer
Scott Keillor, head coach, boys/girls skiing
Eric Keller, head coach, softball
Trent Kroll, head coach, boys/girls wrestling
Bonnie Lambert, head coach boys/girls
Nordic ski team
Andrew McElderry, head coach, girls lacrosse
Jaime Rivera, head coach, boys soccer
Dave Robinson, head coach, boys water polo
Caleb Sperry, head coach, football
Scott Walker, head coach, volleyball