Q&A with social worker Jane Wildman

Q&A with social worker Jane Wildman

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Do students talk to you about sexual assaults, and is it often that they do?

Kids do come to me about sexual assault. It can be very difficult for them though because so many times they think it was maybe their fault, and so they’re embarrassed to say something. It’s a big step, and it’s great when they do, but it’s a big step when they come and talk to me and tell me.

 

What do you usually do or say to victims to help them recover?

Carmel Clay Schools’s protocol is that if somebody shares something with me concerning sexual assault or any assault, I don’t ask a lot of questions. What I do is I get a police officer in, and that police officer will just ask the basic questions: Did it happen in Hamilton County? Do you know the address? Do you know the person’s name? Then what happens is someone from the police department will contact them, and they will set up what is called a forensic interview. At this interview, this location is in Noblesville, they’re sitting in this room, and in another room, watching on a big screen TV is anybody who needs to hear that person’s story, so maybe Department of Child Services, the police, the prosecutor, there’s a place called Prevail which is an advocacy, so all the people who need to hear the story are there, and they can ask the interviewer to ask certain questions…That way the student doesn’t have to repeat their story over and over. That’s why we don’t ask a lot of questions.

 

If someone is uncomfortable coming to you or talking to someone about it their assault, what do you suggest that they do?

It depends on who assaulted them. If it’s someone in the home, it can be a little more difficult. But if it’s someone not in the home, go to a parent or guardian or an adult that you trust.

 

What is the benefit for a victim to report a sexual assault?

It can be very very difficult to go through, but you need to go through that to move on because it’s always with you, and you need to resolve it. It’s just something that really needs to be dealt with. Whether the perpetrator is charged, who knows? It depends on the evidence, but it’s still healthy, emotionally and psychologically, to help you move on with your life.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would just encourage students to talk to someone and not try to deal with it on their own because teenagers are really not equipped. They just don’t have the maturity and emotional strength yet to deal with that.

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