Sexual Assault & Bullying

On this Page: Signs of Sexual Assault | What to Do | School Violence & Bullying

Montana youth are sexually active

The 2013 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 46% of 9-12th graders have had sexual intercourse; 12.5% became sexually active at age 15.  Almost 9% reported they were physically forced to have sexual intercourse.

Adolescents are the group most often victimized by sexual assault, yet they are also the least likely to tell anyone.

A teenager may fear disclosing rape because

check She/he was drinking or doing drugs
check She/he believes that parents will blame him/her
check She/he was at a forbidden place (e.g., a club, a party)
check She/he was already sexually active
check She/he wants to protect the family’s feelings
check She/he doesn’t know that forced sex is rape
check Teenagers who have been assaulted often have problems that arise from the rape

Often, these signs are thought of as problems in themselves, but they may indicate an underlying cause that is sexual assault.

These signs include

check Sudden personality changes
check Avoidance of certain people
check Withdrawal from usual school or social activities
check Sudden phobic behavior
check Flagrant promiscuous behavior
check Drug or alcohol abuse
check Self-destructive or risk-taking behavior
check Sudden alienation from peers and family
check Development of eating disorders
check Diminished self-worth to the point of suicide

If a teenager discloses that she/he has been raped

check Believe him/her
check Don’t blame him/her
check Empower him/her to make his/her own decisions
check Get help

Violence & Bullying

The 2013 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 26 of 9-12 graders had been bullied on campus in the past 12 months. Twenty-three percent had been in a physical fight. Twenty-five percent carried a weapon the past 30 days, 10% on school property.

Why didn’t we see it coming?

There are early warning signs in most cases of violence to self and others – certain behavioral and emotional signs that, when viewed in context, can signal a troubled child.

Early warning signs provide you the impetus to check out your concerns and address your child’s needs. They allow you to act responsibly by getting help for your child before problems escalate.

Don’t rely on teachers, administrators and other school support staff — they are not typically trained to analyze children’s feelings and motives.  However, they are on the front line when it comes to observing troublesome behavior and making referrals to appropriate professionals. They also play a significant role in responding to diagnostic information provided by specialists.

Educators and families can increase their ability to recognize early warning signs and together can review school records for patterns of behavior or sudden changes in behavior.

Early Warning Signs

check Social Withdrawal
check Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, or intimidating others
check Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone and bullying behaviors
check Excessive feelings of rejection
check History of discipline problems
check Being a victim of violence
check Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
check Feelings of being pick on and persecuted
check Drug and alcohol use
check Low school interest and poor academic performance
check Affiliation with gangs
check Expression of violence in writing and/or drawings
check Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
check Uncontrolled anger
check Serious threats of violence

Early warning signs aid in identifying and referring children who may need help. None of these signs alone is sufficient for predicting aggression and violence.

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