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May 8, 2017 | by  | in VicUFO |
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VIC UFO

Rape culture is so persistent in the spaces I inhabit that few incidents come as a shock to me. I’ve been spoken over, cat-called, followed, and grabbed to the point where hearing about these behaviours no longer comes as a surprise. However, occasional cases come to light that leave me lost for words, and sickened anew by the way men treat women in our society. The resignation of two teachers from St Patrick’s College in Silverstream following sexual harassment by students is one of these stories.

By the time this column is published more details will have emerged, but right now all I feel is shock and anger. Not only at the way these women have been treated, but at the conditions that have allowed misogynistic attitudes to proliferate to this point. I am astonished that these students’ behaviour was allowed to continue to the point where their teachers felt it was unsafe to return to work. This is an extreme case of sexual harassment, but yet another product of the rape culture ever-present in our society.

So call your friends (and yourself) out on misogynistic behaviour. Explain how objectification, blaming, and shaming all contribute to rape culture. These might be seen as passing comments, but individual actions add up, and it was years of exposure to misogynistic discourse that taught these students it was acceptable to harass their female teachers. You may not be able to personally put an end to rape culture, but by speaking out against sexist comments we are able to interrupt the disrespect and objectification they teach. What happened at St Patrick’s is a horrifying reminder of what can happen when we don’t.

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