So, it’s happened again – a group of young men, allegedly from a private school in Melbourne, this time Wesley College – reportedly making loud, “disgusting” comments about women, writes Michael Carr-Gregg.
Last time such behaviour was highlighted by the media, it was students from St Kevin’s College in Melbourne who were filmed chanting a sexist song on a packed tram.
On this occasion, the behaviour was so extreme that the bus driver felt the need to apologise to some passengers, who presumably felt so disturbed and/or threatened that they disembarked. Full praise should go to the St Michael’s student who reported the matter to the Wesley College administration and to the principal of Wesley, Nick Evans, for a swift apology and thoughtful response.
While both incidents were deplorable, this latest event seems particularly unbelievable coming at a time when the public discourse on treating women with respect and dignity has reached stratospheric levels, thanks to Australian of the Year Grace Tame, the case of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and the murder in the UK of Sarah Everard.
First, as Grace Tame said last week, “men are not the enemy” and it is clearly not all boys who behave this way. As a psychologist who toils in the vineyards of adolescence every day, I meet many kind, gentle, sensitive, socially aware, beautiful young men who love and cherish their sisters, mothers and grandmothers and are simply appalled by what happened on that bus.
Second, such behaviour is not the exclusive province of private schools but can be seen throughout our education system. Perhaps some parents believe that if they send their sons to private schools that these institutions will somehow infuse them with “better” values, attitudes and beliefs.
Perhaps it is time we named the catastrophic spinelessness of some parents to set intelligent limits, boundaries and consequences when it comes to the behaviour of their boys.
Parents can’t escape responsibility for boys’ misogynistic behaviour (Sydney Morning Herald)
Grace Tame / Guardian / YouTube