Dozens of Norman parents packed into the Norman High School multi-purpose room Saturday morning for a talk about how to give “the talk."
“There's an art called conversation that happened a long, long time ago. I think that educators are scared of it. I think that parents are scared of it. I think that people in our community that care are scared of it,” Lori Sharp said.
Sharp is a mother and a teacher in Norman. Concerned about what she's been seeing in schools and on the news, she said “The Talk,” a two hour seminar from multiple sexual violence awareness groups, was important.
The event was a call to action for parents and educators. It was designed give them the tools to talk about sexual health and safety through two bills in the state houses.
Safety was on the minds of many in the room following recent allegations of rape made against four Norman North High School wrestlers and one Moore High School wrestler.
“To say it doesn't cross my mind because I'm a parent, I would be a liar. To say it doesn't cross my mind because I have kids that I'm with every day, I would be a liar,” Sharp said.
“I don't think our community did a good job of protecting them as students,” Mary Boren said.
Boren was a school counselor and said she had to stop sexual harassment on playgrounds and in hallways on a regular basis. She is also related to University of Oklahoma president David Boren.
“We aren't doing enough as a community, as a state, as parents, as educators to talk about these issues,” Stacey Wright with the sexual violence awareness group Yes All Daughters said. “When kids don't know not to rape other kids, we have a problem.”
According to the state Department of Health, women in Oklahoma report rapes or attempted rapes up to 45 percent higher than the national average over the last 10 years. One in six boys and one in four girls will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18, according to Yes All Daughters.
Sharp said the bills are a step in the right direction in renewing a long lost art.
“Get your earbuds out of your ears, get your cell phone out of your hand, and talk to each other,” she said.