SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A graduate of West High in Salt Lake City is speaking out about sexual harassment she endured in her 8th-grade art class hoping her story can protect girls like her.
Scout Asay was just 13 when she says her art teacher began sexually harassing her in class. She said at first it wasn’t clear what she could do about it, she said she thought then, “It’s weird that he said that to me right? It’s weird that he invited me to this event. It’s weird that he touched my butt and grabbed my waist.”
She says she went to her peers first who brushed off her experience saying that the teacher was “creepy” and that she should take the attention as a compliment, but it only escalated.
“He would invite me to go to things with him outside of school. There were times where he, never under the clothing, but times where he would touch me over my privates, grab my breasts,” she said.
She stopped attending class, so her grade dropped, prompting her parents to have a conversation with her. Asay said she tried to tell them some of what was happening, but she just didn’t have the vocabulary to communicate it completely. While she thought her parents reported to the school, she later learned that they never reported the teacher’s actions to administration.
Asay said the teacher was removed from the classroom three years later for harrassment against a different student.
“I do wish that things could have been different, that I could have been the one to say there’s something going on here that’s not right, such that no students after me had to have a repeat experience of mine,” said Asay.
Experts say even your young children are ready for age-appropriate definitions of sexual abuse and harassment and these conversations are the best way to keep our children safe.