By Soteira Briginshaw, Linden Teacher
On November 22, a group of middle and senior school Linden students visited Royal St. George's College (RSGC) to join a discussion on street harassment. This discussion began a few weeks ago in the RSGC Grade 8 social justice class, and emerged from ongoing conversations about masculinity and street harassment. Linden girls were invited by RSGC because they recognized the need to include the voices of those most affected by this topic: girls and women. At Linden, we recognize that we live in a society that has allowed the creation of a culture that permits and even encourages street harassment, particularly of women and girls.
We invited all Linden students in Grades 8-12 to participate in a preliminary discussion on this topic on Wednesday, November 16, which resulted in the creation of the following video which was then used to kick off the panel discussion at RSGC:
Linden students Madi, Morgan, Emma, Liana, Emma, and Juliana served as panelists who shared their experiences with street harassment, responded to questions from RSGC students, and made suggestions for ways that we could all work to end street harassment. At the end of the hour, RSGC students were still approaching the panelists with questions and many vocalized how valuable it had been to hear from girls their age about the impact of street harassment.
Two panelists shared their reflections on the experience below:
"Going to RSGC gave me a different perspective on what people think about street harassment. It opened my eyes to new opinions. This helped me understand what street harassment really is." — Juliana, Grade 8
"At first I was very scared! The other panelists and I sat at a table at the front of the room, facing the audience. I have never participated in something as formal as this, so it came as a huge shock to me. Once the discussion got underway, however, I had no problem responding to the people in the room and sharing my thoughts. The RSGC boys were, to my surprise, very receptive to what we had to say. It was so interesting to hear about things that I knew to be common sense were not something these boys had ever learned. Being at Linden has furthered my knowledge about social customs and norms, and when you're surrounded by like-minded people all the time it is very easy to forget that other people do not think the same way as you. Overall, the time we had was extremely productive, and I'm sure every single person in that room walked away with new knowledge, including myself and the other Linden panelists." — Madi, Grade 12
We thank Royal St. George's College for inviting us to this event and look forward to continuing our collaboration on similar topics.
Excerpt from the Royal St. George’s College Headmaster’s Newsletter, December 2016: