ROX Rocks!

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Jenna Keiffer

Jonathan Alder High School ROX club takes a group photo after learning self defense skills.

Jenna Keiffer, PR Manager/ Staff Writer

Being a girl is hard! No, really. From the pressures of media to change our bodies and behaviors, to the very real and very scary reality of sexual harassment and assault, teenage girls in high school have a lot to learn. These lessons aren’t always taught by parents or guardians at home, but we live in a world where it is crucial for every girl to know how to defend herself and know that she controls her own body. ROX, a non profit organization founded in 2006 by Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, stands for Ruling Our Experiences. The club was formed “to create a program that helped girls successfully navigate the challenges that they face during their adolescent years.” Now in 2020, ROX has more than 250 schools, with over 3,700 girls (Howell).

The presence of ROX is so important in the society we live in today. According to the CDC, “More than 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives.” This is absolutely absurd. Although this  expanding issue has nothing to do with women’s actions and everything to do with rape culture, girls are given no other option but to combat these threats. In addition, teen girls are extremely susceptible to self confidence issues, with society bossing them on how to dress and act. They experience a 26% drop in confidence between 5th and 9th grade. Another area where ROX is necessary is academically. 1 in 3 girls with a grade point average of 4.0 or higher do not believe they are smart enough for their dream career. Clearly, there is a need for a group tailored to teenage girls to help teach confidence, defense, and push them to be the strongest women they can be. 

The Jonathan Alder School District, located in Madison County Ohio, brought ROX club to their high school and junior high buildings in 2018. Nicole Schrock, JAHS’s ROX director, enjoys the time she spends with the high school girls in her ROX group. “I love learning from the younger women in our ROX group,” she says. “Being able to mentor and teach them means so much to me because I want to be that person younger girls could look up to.” Schrock stepped up to bring ROX to JAHS because she stands for “creating a culture where women support women and stand for all humanity.” 

ROX meetings look a little different at each school, but JAHS’s typically begin with snacks, then a fun game that contains some underlying message and a lesson. Topics that come up during ROX meetings consist of pressures of media and peers, forming healthy relationships, building confidence, standing up for yourself, etc. Misty Swanger, Jonathan Alder’s assistant superintendent), is another leader of ROX at the high school, and taught the girls a few tips and tricks on self defense at one of their most recent meetings. The girls felt not only empowered afterwards, but much more confident in their ability to protect themselves in vulnerable situations. 

Audrey Davis, a senior at Jonathan Alder High School and member of ROX, is thankful for her experiences in this club because she has “learned that women face a lot of hardships but should empower each other instead of bringing each other down.” When asked if other girls should join, Davis says, “Teenage girls should attend ROX to learn lots of skills like communication, their presence on social media, and self defense!” Another senior at Jonathan Alder High School, Sophie Zawodny, also attends ROX club. Zawodny says, “I’ve learned how complex and strong women are. ROX teaches you a lot about who you are and how capable you are to do anything you set your mind to.”