Excusing the Inexcusable

Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape on September 16th. Today is October 5th, and Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination is still under contention.

What protects a man like Kavanaugh is not just the politicization of the Supreme Court, but also the environment that we as Andover students are all currently a part of: high school. Many have attempted to brush aside Kavanaugh’s wrongdoings as trivial because of their place and setting. Phrases such as “boys will be boys” have been used in attempts to justify his behavior as part of growing up and enable “bro culture,” as discussed by the New York Times article “Schools Are Tackling ‘Bro’ Culture. The Kavanaugh Case Shows Why That’s Hard to Do,” published on September 28th.

This “bro culture,” which is partly rooted in toxic masculinity, perpetuates attitudes that normalize certain behaviors such as drug use, excessive drinking, hazing, and sexual exploitation. This culture can be addressed by education and by actively calling out certain attributes or traditions that keep it in place. Andover does attempt to combat this culture through a variety of initiatives, such as the required screening of “The Mask You Live In,” but our campus is by no means free of “bro culture.”

We, as current students in high school, have to recognize that this “bro culture” that seems to be embedded in not just high school but also in the Senate floor cannot excuse people from their actions. The impact of these actions are very real, regardless of the age in which they were committed or, in Kavanaugh’s case, how long ago they were committed.

In the end, attempting to shield Kavanaugh from the magnitude of his actions is providing excuses for the inexcusable. It doesn’t matter if we may never be put on trial by the Senate. We should care about Kavanaugh’s actions and their impacts because we know that sexual misconduct and sexual assault is just as wrong when committed by a teenager as when it is committed by an adult — and just as painful for the victim throughout their life.

This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXLI.