In a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, viewers witnessed Christine Blasey Ford defend her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh proceeded to deny the allegations, and it was there that we witnessed a man who failed to hold himself accountable for his actions.
During his testimony, he used his time at Yale Law School to excuse his drinking habits and behavior in high school and college.
Like Kavanaugh, many male students at GW come from affluent backgrounds. As concerning headlines about Kavanaugh’s behavior continue to surface and institutions like the U.S. Senate and White House fail to hold him accountable for his actions, students should use this opportunity to further educate themselves about sexual assault and how to support survivors.
In the context of the #MeToo movement and nearly two dozen allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump, it is disheartening that so many men ignore or shrug off the demeaning words and behavior of their peers.
GW requires incoming students to participate in a sexual assault prevention program during their freshman year. But one mandatory, in-person sexual assault training for incoming freshmen is easily forgettable and this training does not apply to transfer or graduate students, who are only required to complete one online training class.
The University should better serve its students by providing increased training, but colleges and universities are not responsible for teaching men to take responsibility for their actions.
The norms that surround us when we are at home or with our friends influence the way that we think and act. It is on us to remove ourselves from toxic situations or to confront our friends or family members when their behavior is degrading or when they promote rape culture by dismissing crude jokes or statements as “boys being boys.” Keeping this ideology alive is damaging to us all, and it depends on everyone, especially men, to change this from the inside out.
While GW offers workshops on a wide array of topics related to sexual assault, these sessions are not mandatory, but male students should opt into these sessions.
Men of any age shouldn’t need to be told that their actions have consequences. Many would argue that this is common sense, but regardless, people are still getting hurt. And if more frequent trainings or sessions can prevent people from being harmed, then we must start now by learning more and taking responsibility for the future.
Matthew Zachary, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer.
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