NOT ME! Organization Leads Convocation on Sexual Assault


Courtesy of Ife Adebola

BSM girls attended a convocation on sexual assault in the chapel.

Avery Hawkinson and Lara DePauw

While Benilde-St. Margaret’s convocations have formerly been a cheerful learning experience, the most recent one allowed junior and senior students to attend a “NOT ME!” safety training program. The program provides students knowledge that can be used to prevent physical and sexual assault, while also empowering them to act and flee before a such a situation arises. 

Students were divided into groups based on gender and participated in a discussion covering statistics, prevention strategies, and additional general information. Some students liked being split up by gender and age, but others thought it would have been more effective for all students to hear messages on sexual assault. “I did not like being separated by grade because I feel that sexual assault does not only happen to 11th and 12th graders, it could also happen to 10th graders as well as middle schoolers, and cyber security can also happen to anyone as well,” junior Maggie Graczyk said.

The session for female pupils was led by Kelly Johnson, NOT ME Program Director and Instructor. Many BSM women interacted with the session and asked questions. Johnson stressed the importance of the session, explaining that while it may not be one of the most fun topics to talk about, it is one of the most important ones. While it is said that 1 in 6 women are the victims of attempted or completed sexual assault, only 60% are reported and it is believed to be about 1 in 4. Unfortunately, almost 90% of assaults are by someone the victim knows, and two thirds happen in a place the victim finds comfortable. 

When it comes to your personal safety, politeness goes out the window,”

— Kelly Johnson

There are two ways in which assaulters might reach their victims: CIA and AIA. The first stands for connect, isolate and attack, which is usually through finding emotional connections that are closer than normal. The latter stands for abduct, isolate, attack. The offenders find these victims through identifying people who may be intimidated into submission. In order to avoid the worst possible outcome, Johnson pushes having a voice– being loud and strong. “When it comes to your personal safety, politeness goes out the window,” Johnson said during the session. 

While being present and paying attention to surroundings are important, it can also help to have multiple people around you. If the situation turns to the worst, Johnson emphasizes the importance of blame– it is never the victim’s fault. “There is no situation that you can find yourself in [where there are not] adults who love you and want to help you,” Johnson said. 

Junior and senior boys listened to a similar presentation led by Johnson’s husband Bruce. “We learned about the creep meter and if something seems out of place you need to trust your gut in scary situations. The speaker also talked about the Navy Seals that use their creep meter during missions in order to be aware of what’s going on in battle,” Senior Carsen Brandt said

Along with sexual assault awareness, freshmen and sophomores were paired together to learn about cyber safety. “It was about cyber safety and being safe online. We talked a lot about how to stay safe online, the consequences that can occur from misuse, examples from people from around the world, and then social media,” sophomore Ellie Shideman said.