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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

SHARP brings fighting rape culture to centerstage with Day Of Change

FRIES. During Day of Change, students learned about consent through this acronym. The slogan helps to educate students on what consent should be: freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in four women experience attempted or completed rape in their lives. To address and dismantle this culture, the school’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Coalition held its fourth annual Day of Change on Wednesday, March 13 during A-block, C-block and T-block.

Day of Change focused on guiding students on consent and coercion. It brought awareness to sexual harassment in our own community and what it means to take action.

Beginning the day in A-block, teachers presented about rightful consent. The lesson reflected on how the media sexualizes women, romanticizes sexual violence and disregards using consent when portraying intimate relationships between characters. In some classes, SHARP student facilitators came in to help teach the lesson.

The lessons emphasized that consent needs to be freely given, realistic, informed, enthusiastic and specific response (FRIES). Sophomore Lila Cannon said learning about consent felt relevant and timely.

“A day like today is important because it reminds everyone in the BHS community how valuable consent is,” Cannon said. “I was reminded of the FRIES acronym and how important consent is in all aspects of life, in relationships and at school.”

Senior Advait Krishnan said the first lesson was helpful in setting norms for the day because it explained the definition of important terms, such as sexual harassment and assault, which might otherwise be lost in communication.

“It was a nice set of ground rules,” Krishnan said. “Because if you’re just speaking about it, you don’t know what the definition is, what you are using or what you are defining.”

During the second lesson in C-block, students took out a valuable object and another attempted to persuade them to give it up. This enabled each to practice what peer pressure may look like and how to assertively say no.

Sophomore Cedar Alcott said this lesson was enlightening, as it can be hard to recognize manipulation when it is happening.

“Talking about coercion was the most impactful thing for me because I relate to it a lot,” Alcott said. “It happens a lot without us realizing it.”

A third lesson took place during T-block that allowed students to debrief and practice self-care. After a video that guided them in meditation, each chose for themselves how to spend the rest of the period.

Krishnan said Day of Change brought attention to subjects that are at times difficult to talk about.

“It’s important to address the problems at our school, especially the ones that are less heard of. I think in doing this we can embrace it,” Krishnan said.

While Krishnan said he learned new information from both classes, one way he said SHARP could incorporate more interaction is through student discussion and a visit from professionals.

Similarly, Alcott said she wished students were more respectful during each lesson but that the presenters taught it well. In addition to opening conversation, she said the lessons helped students imagine possible solutions they might undertake in the future.

“It makes people think about these problems that are usually stigmatized. It also gives people a chance to think about what they would do in that situation,” Alcott said. “It gives them a chance to process things that have happened to them in the past and gives them a space to talk about it.”

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