Sex, Likes & Social Media: Peer on Peer Sexual Harassment

- TBC

Allison and Deana co founded The RAP Project in 2013. The two women had five young teenagers at the time between them & they were concerned about young men & women and issues surrounding personal safety. “How can they educate and empower teens about personal safety without frightening them?” they asked themselves. They also had different professional backgrounds that would serve them well. Deana, a former sex crimes prosecutor from Brooklyn, & Allison, an international TV news producer for ABC News and Associated Press Television, amongst others. RAP is now in over 150 schools and defines rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and consent. They also look at how social media and online porn influence attitudes, behaviours and expectations as well as discusses sexting, revenge porn and personal safety. Allison and Deana have identified a rising trend of peer on peer on sexual harassment amongst teens. Sadly, the lurid headlines blaring reports of sexual harassment and worse allegedly perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and by many others is not contained. There is evidence of sexual harassment amongst secondary and in some cases primary aged school children. Rape jokes, sending unsolicited sexts & asking peers about their sexual preferences before even saying Hello are all part of our digital native’s reality. RAP is concerned about the lack of respect and the eroding ability of young people to practice friendship, romance and intimacy. “What ever happened to seduction?” they ask their audience. Why are these kids so casual about sex and ‘treat hook ups’ and ‘get withs’ as matter of fact? Where does the highly sexualised, highly inappropriate language stem from? Allison and Deana are extremely passionate about changing this narrative. By educating students and raising awareness about the insidious misogyny and male dominated themes in advertising, media and online hard core pornography, we instil the notion of mutual respect and mutual consent. RAP still has much work to do and plans to start educating school children from years 5 & 6 to try and stem this trend. So far, the organisation has reached over 40,000 teens and are expanding. They value this access and survey thousands of students about what their concerns are, what makes them stressed and how they define relationships, amongst other issues. RAP is also promoting a list of Top Ten Tips on how to manage peer on peer sexual harassment. Allison and Deana are the authors of ‘Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to our teens in the digital age’, published by Vermilion/Random House.