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Young Voices: Educating to End Sexual Violence Advocacy through peer-to-peer education at the U.S. Naval Academy By Shaquil Keels I was raised by two of the

most wonderful women in the world, my mother and grandmother. They taught me from a young age to always do what I believe is right and told me that as a man, I must always love, respect, and protect women. Thanks to their influence, as I grew up, I treated everyone with compassion. It was second nature to me that all people should be treated with dignity and respect at all times, no matter their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation. It wasn’t until high school that I realized there was an epidemic taking place in our society. Sexual violence is something we all know but have difficulty talking about, particularly males. Our societal desire to sweep it under the rug is the very reason it is imperative that we do talk about it. So I’ll start the conversation: I am a 23-year-old man, a First Class Midshipman at the U.S.

Photo provided by the author

Shaquil Keels is the U.S. Naval Academy’s Student Advisor for It’s On Us, the national campaign to stop sexual violence. Then-Vice President Joe Biden, who helped launch the campaign, visited the campus in 2016 to talk about its impact.

Naval Academy, and I am dedicating my life to putting an end to sexual violence. And I want to talk about it.

My junior year of high school, a close friend revealed to me that she was sexually assaulted. I had no idea how to respond. I was shocked that 33

Issue 5 | First Quarter | 2017  

The Mary Christie Quarterly is a publication of the Mary Christie Foundation, a thought leadership and philanthropic organization dedicated...

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