Don’t Ignore It. CHS students should address, not ignore controversial issues.

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Don’t Ignore It. CHS students should address, not ignore controversial issues.

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Here in our lovely city of Carmel, everything has always looked appealing and attractive. After all, we live in the number one city in America. We go to a great school. Everyone seems to be rich and happy. Everything is just perfect.

Except it isn’t. 

Moving to Carmel in seventh grade, I had a certain image of what Carmel was: a nice, small, suburban city where everyone, for the most part, lives a good life. And for a while, that image held true. Indeed, many people are well off and there are a lot of great aspects of living here. However, after getting to know people and the community better, I quickly learned that not everything is as perfect as it seems. Despite its beautiful facade, Carmel has issues just like residents in other cities. What makes Carmel unique is that it works hard to camouflage those problems, but it’s important to take a closer look at those issues so we can work as a community to help.

We think all people in Carmel are affluent, and while many are, according to U.S. News, 11 percent of students are on the free or reduced lunch programs. That amounts to about 550 students at this school. Carmel is thought to be a happy city, but according to the Association for Children’s Mental Health, one in five children and adolescents face mental health issues. At Carmel, that would be just over 1,000 students who actively face or have faced mental health issues. Carmel, in general, is thought to have a low crime rate. While this is true, that doesn’t mean people don’t deal with issues such as abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and more. In fact, according to a 2013 study by the Avon Foundation for Women, one in three women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. R.A.I.N.N., the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network,  found that people from ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to experience sexual violence. These numbers don’t exclude Carmel. To put these numbers in perspective, that would mean 625 girls and 357 boys from our current high school population have experienced or will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

These problems exist, but by not talking about them we create a culture of isolating people and ignoring important issues that occur every day. Therefore, it is crucial that we open up dialogue, share our stories and talk about uncomfortable topics. Carmel, just like any city, is not perfect, and that is okay. It is a great place to live, not because of the fancy houses and wealth, but because of all the different stories and people who coexist here.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Raiha Zainab at rzainab@hilite.org.

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