Commentary

Demanding Further Dialogue

Laci Green coupled personal insight with staggering statistics to paint a detailed and authentic picture of rape culture during an All-School Meeting (ASM) two weeks ago. After her speech, however, many students voiced their opinions about the lack of opportunities to discuss the talk. This absence of following up detracts from our school’s efforts to educate students; if we are to eradicate rape culture, we must continue to spark productive conversation on sexual assault.

Though a heavy talk so early on in the year might have been overwhelming for many of the new students, the early timing of Green’s ASM was one of its biggest merits. Talking about issues surrounding sexual assault and consent during the beginning of Fall Term not only provides an accessible and compelling entry point into such conversations, but also establishes clear expectations for the rest of the year before new students fully immerse themselves into Andover’s hook-up culture.

Green’s speech has thus far been a successful catalyst for conversation. Clubs like Women’s Forum and dorms have held discussions on sexual assault and healthy relationships following her presentation. Green did attend a Q&A dinner, though only student leaders were invited to attend. Regardless, these are the key steps to addressing issues of sexual assault and harassment on campus. But these opportunities are simply not enough. We need to delve deeper to discuss and address the underlying mentalities that are allowing these cases to go unnoticed and unreported.

In order to consistently combat rape culture and Andover’s hook-up culture, we need to form a small group of enthusiastic, dedicated students well-versed in the language of healthy and consensual relationships, who could work closely with the Sykes staff to create a comprehensive and thorough sexual education curriculum. A single ASM, a few club meetings, and parietal talks once a year are not enough to educate students on the harmful effects of rape culture or unhealthy relationships. This discussion needs to be ongoing and formalized. If we could implement this program, we would not only have a proper sexual education program, but also have first-hand student input regarding conversations on healthy relationships on campus.

All in all, I applaud Laci Green and the administration’s efforts to call us to conversation. And I sincerely believe that the Andover community will do its best to answer this call.

Oct 21, 2016