Southmoreland community notes shift in social norms after Kavanaugh hearing

History teacher Mr. David Keefer has found it to be crucial to remind students that their actions can very well affect them in the future.

“Things can come back to haunt you,” Mr. Keefer said. “It is important to stay mindful of your actions.”

The “Me Too” movement has spread worldwide, giving a voice to women who have held onto pain for many years and are now beginning to reveal their shocking stories regarding sexual assault. The movement has caused a reaction so strong that it has led all the way to the recent Supreme Court nomination of federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who recently was accused by three women of sexual assault back in high school.

One accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing earlier this month and recalled  the pain such an event has caused her and her family while she was in high school.

While it is still unknown if the actions Kavanaugh is accused of are true, additional sexual assault accusations remain against him, many of which allegedly occurred in the years ranging from high school to college.

One female student at Southmoreland allegedly experienced an event related to this controversial subject, but would not comment due to the “painful memories” that still linger. However, she did comment that “many women (and men) find it hard to come forward regarding these situations because society has proven that without direct evidence, victims are rarely believed.”

High school students recently voiced their concerns that many of their classmates have underestimated the seriousness of such actions.

“Regardless of how long the accusation took to surface, it is justified and if guilty, should be held accountable since he is a nominee of one of the highest positions in the nation,” Southmoreland senior Dakota Coffman said of the accusations against Kavanaugh. “His (Kavanaugh’s) job is to bring justice and make sure laws are being abided by, so he should have to abide by them, too.”

Many defenders of Kavanaugh point to his alleged intoxication at the time the events occurred. This allows the perpetuation of the idea that men are able to do what they want without consequence and furthers the stigma of “toxic masculinity”- the belief men must live up to traditionally masculine values, including being violent or unsympathetic towards others, especially women.

The concept of “toxic masculinity” has had a significant cultural impact, phrases like “boys will be boys” are used to defend the predatory actions. When asking five boys and five girls how this impacted the so-called “rape culture,” every one of them said, in essence, that these phrases were created by society to normalize behavior.

“Words like that only further perpetuate that kind of behavior and make the excuse that it is just part of their nature,” Southmoreland senior Christina Garsteck said.

Interestingly, when a boy was asked the same question regarding such a phrase, Southmoreland senior Dylan Opalinski said, “While society is trying to get rid of things like hyper masculinity, they are simultaneously embracing it when phrases like these surface.”

When female students were asked if they had ever felt unsafe or had been in a dangerous situation with predatory men, Southmoreland senior Genesis Harshell said there are times when she feels unsafe in public due to the “current state of today’s problem” with inflated masculinity in society.

“When my shift at work is over, it is usually dark, so I often have a guy that I trust walk me to my car to ensure my safety” Harshell said. “If there isn’t anyone to walk with me, I walk with my keys between my fingers in case I am faced with a threatening encounter.”

A male sophomore student at Southmoreland who wishes to remain anonymous said that he has “personally said things toward girls that could be taken in an offensive or objective way. I regret it. Though when I see something similar happening to a girl now, I try to put a stop to it as best as I can.”

Ultimately, the U. S. Senate decided to pause to make the final vote for a week to commence an FBI investigation. On October 6, 2018, Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed as the newest Supreme Court Justice. Regardless, Kavanaugh’s reputation remains tainted, showing how important it is to ensure a spotless record, no matter the age.

 

Toni Brayo

Toni Brayo

Hi, I'm Toni and I am a senior at Southmoreland. I am the Vice President of the National Honor Society, a member of Art Council, Writer's Cafe, Random Acts of Kindness, and more. In the future, I plan to study Marketing and Studio Arts. I aspire to someday travel the world as an art dealer.
Toni Brayo
About Toni Brayo
Hi, I'm Toni and I am a senior at Southmoreland. I am the Vice President of the National Honor Society, a member of Art Council, Writer's Cafe, Random Acts of Kindness, and more. In the future, I plan to study Marketing and Studio Arts. I aspire to someday travel the world as an art dealer.

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