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King's Worcester

24 March

Continuing the Conversation – Bethan’s Monitor’s Address

Following on from last weeks highly relevant and important Senior Assembly Bethan (U6, Cr) delivered an inspirational Monitor’s Address in assembly continuing the conversation on changing the narrative.

All School Monitors do a Monitor’s Address during their Upper Sixth year which has continued throughout the lockdowns.

Good Morning Everyone I hope you’re all having a good final week of the term today

I thought I’d reflect on what Mr Doodes brought to light through his address last week following the heart-breaking murder of Sarah Everard, the conversation of gender violence and the surrounding issues have continued to live through discussions in the media and among friends at school and my friends and I were so grateful that Mr Doodes openly discussed this problem instead of brushing it under the carpet or dismissing it in fear of being supposedly too controversial. Maybe I was naive to think that everyone would feel the same way. It’s now evident that some people think this is an unsolvable issue as we quote “can’t change how men think” and there’s nothing we can do about it or maybe they simply feel it is unimportant after all apparently I’m meant to take it as a compliment when someone shouts crude comments at me from across the street or when a stranger on public transport thinks they’re entitled to touch me up. Obviously, this is only the view of a select few people in the media or at school but it is still too many people. Too many people who can react to someone being harassed or even raped by making a mockery of their experience. Too many people that immediately jumped to the defence of the assailant instead of acknowledging a victim’s pain.

The conversation stirred from this topic’s current relevancy is definitely aided in reducing this destructive mindset. Due to the normalization of sexual harassment, lots of people didn’t understand the scale of the issue or that it was their own friends or daughters that are dealing with harassment.

This is really important. After all, education is the doorway to an open mind and a changed world and we can even see this within the school. A survey conducted in our Creighton house time on Friday showed that the majority of us felt more empowered to speak out against sexual harassment after Mr Doodes address but still why do some people so easily continue to make ignorant comments about sexual harassment.

I think it can link back to one of the key qualities Mr Joyce discussed two weeks ago, compassion.

A relationship between the spectator and the sufferer. It’s so easy to belittle things when they seem all but a distant issue that you see on an infographic on an Instagram story.

Sometimes I feel that the people who blatantly disregard the feelings and experiences of those around them haven’t gone beyond that stage yet. They haven’t taken the time to truly empathize with their peers. This obviously isn’t solely something that surrounds the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s death, a global empathy deficit can surely be contributing to a whole range of damaging ideologies.

Even at the personal level being able to show compassion to your peers is integral to disarming arguments and gaining a deeper understanding of others so examine your personal biases and privilege being honest with yourself about whether you’ve considered a problem from the perspective of those who experience it.

Hopefully, together we can change harmful attitudes honouring and remembering victims such as Sarah Everard through change.

Thank you

You can see the previous Monitor’s Address here.