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Male faculty guest columnists share how men can be allies

The editorial board came to the conclusion that male students may hesitate to speak out about sexual assault because of possible backlash, so we instead asked male faculty to step in to voice their support and serve as role models.


“Men have been talking for long enough. Maybe it’s time we shut up and listen.”

– Shawn Staines, world language teacher

 

There are two issues that rise above all others when considering the recent deluge of high-profile accusations of sexual assault and misconduct. First and foremost, the victims of these crimes must be treated with respect and provided with the necessary supports in an attempt to heal. Secondly, those who commit these heinous acts must be held accountable. Both of these statements are true regardless of where either party falls on the gender spectrum, although male-on-female sexual assault is the most common variation. For this reason, I want to speak primarily to that scenario, with all due respect to all victims of sexual assault. Open communication about this ongoing cultural problem is critical if it is to be corrected in any reasonable timeframe. Even if young men have positive male role models who treat women with respect and actively combat ideas that normalize and/or justify any form of sexual assault, there are far too many conflicting outside influences to think that one could reasonably block them all out completely. Males need to be able to have an honest discussion with each other about how this behavior is unacceptable. The celebrities who have recently been exposed failed us as fellow men when abused their power and position to take advantage of these women. We must work tirelessly to make sure that future generations will not grow up in a climate that allows this sick sense of entitlement to grow. As a male teacher, I am committed to work harder to that end.

– Brian Calnan, math teacher

 

The women who have raised their voices against sexual assault and harassment are truly courageous.  Sexism, like racism, is deeply rooted in American culture and the swift, positive response to their allegations gives one hope in a time when our country seems to be moving socially backwards not forwards. It will be a long, hard road to eradicate these social issues; they are so deeply embedded. We need strong, smart leadership to fight sexism in our society. Today’s young women and men will be America’s leaders of tomorrow. They must be champions of equality for all.  Those future leaders are here at Algonquin and we must support open discussion about respect for all, but in particular, respect for women. The silence breakers with their collective voice had the power to shake the mountain. The resulting avalanche of male perpetrators falling from power has been long overdue.

– Kenneth Wadman, science teacher

 

I believe that great progress has been made towards gender equality in the USA and world, compared with the overwhelming majority of human history. Having said that, I believe that there is still much change to be made socially, institutionally, and course, individually.

As our culture moves towards greater gender equality, it isn’t surprising to me that different individuals accept change at different rates or, in some cases, not at all. For this reason, I think patience, thoughtful communication, and sharing of experiences are key tools for working towards continued positive change.

Not very long ago, a spectrum of unwanted sexual actions taken by men in positions of power used to be socially acceptable and unhidden. Following gender-equality progress, these behaviors have become less acceptable and less talked about, but still, of course, occur frequently.  I hope that we are now reaching a point that the American people will hold themselves to a higher standard, publically and privately, with regards to gender equality.

The recent outpouring of women sharing their tragic experiences is instrumental in changing people’s hearts and minds. By providing faces, details, and real experiences to this problem, it affects people in a way that is more difficult to brush off, dismiss or ignore.

Personally, I would prefer my (hypothetical) daughter be born in 2017 than in 1957, but I hope and believe that brighter days are ahead for the women of the United States.

– Nathan Largesse, science teacher

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