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Former St Kevin’s Student Torches Blazer To Protest Against Toxic Culture

“St Kevin’s is a bubble the place privileged younger males can rehearse oppression with out consequence, earlier than graduating with flying colors into the general public.”

In a strong Instagram submit, a former St Kevin’s Faculty Victoria scholar has shared how he broke onto campus and burned his faculty blazer to protest the poisonous “hyper-masculine tradition” that has been fostered on the elite all-boys personal faculty.

Melbourne photographer James Robinson, who graduated from St Kevin’s in 2013, shared that he broke onto faculty grounds final evening to protest the “patriarchal tradition” he witnessed firsthand throughout his time there.

Robinson admitted that “one thing snapped” inside him after Collingwood star Jordan De Goey — who can also be a former scholar of St Kevin’s — was arrested in New York for allegedly groping a girl and assaulting a person. The “forcible touching” charges against De Goey have since been dropped, however the assault prices stay.

“I broke into the varsity yesterday to protest. One thing snapped in me this time. The patriarchal tradition I noticed inside the varsity gates burst out and made its solution to New York, my new house for the final 5 years,” Robinson began his submit. “(Allegedly) assaulting somebody in a metropolis, the place many in my queer group, like me, are rape and sexual assault survivors.”

“St Kevin’s is a bubble the place privileged younger males can rehearse oppression with out consequence, earlier than graduating with flying colors into public,” he continued. “A spot the place ‘locker room discuss’ exists brazenly in hallways and lecture rooms.”

“These photographs are devoted to present college students and victims of St Kevin’s, and faculties prefer it, who really feel like their identification is slowly being chipped away by a hyper-masculine tradition. I see you. I used to be you!”

“This protest takes my therapeutic full circle. I burn my blazer not in anger, however in hope for regeneration,” Robinson ended his submit. “I kiss my accomplice, not in spite, however to convey love again to the one place that ever taught me disgrace.”

Over time, St Kevin’s has earned a less-than-ideal popularity with a variety of controversies involving college students and employees of the elite personal faculty. In 2019, a variety of students were caught singing sexist chants on a Melbourne tram whereas the varsity’s former headmaster and dean of sport provided references for a coach who is a convicted sex offender.

In his submit, Robinson additionally detailed a variety of regarding issues that he claims to have seen throughout his time as a scholar eight years in the past.

From allegations of transphobic bullying and objectification of feminine lecturers, revenge porn, and bribery to hush potential assault prices, the profitable photographer claimed that St Kevin’s operated on “a system designed to let younger boys suppose they’ll do something, assault anybody, and get away with it”.

Talking to Junkee, Robinson remembered one particular exercise from his 12 months 9 intercourse well being class — which featured no data on homosexual intercourse — that has caught with him all through the years. The previous scholar reminisced on class the place the boys have been taught bout sleeping with girls utilizing cookies.

“Three to 4 college students have been requested to chew up a cookie however not swallow it. In order that they chewed it up they usually every spit their cookie right into a glass,” Robinson recounted. “They maintain the glass up afterward and say ‘That is what it’s wish to sleep with a girl who has been with different males. You don’t know the place she’s been or what germs she’s carrying.’”

In one other instance, Robinson instructed Junkee that the varsity really ran courses that have been all about “being a person” which labored to show college students {that a} “feminine is considerably below your possession as a substitute of being handled as equals”.

In his Instagram submit, Robinson additionally shared his personal harrowing expertise of being “abusively outed” on the faculty on the age of 15, which left him suicidal and on a “darkish spiral of self-hate and homosexual disgrace”. When he raised these problems with how “systemic homophobia and racism bled into the curriculum” with a former principal in 2019, Robinson claims he was dismissed.

St Kevin's blazer burn protest toxic masculinity

Credit score: Equipped

Fortunately in contrast to the earlier management who dismissed Robinson’s experiences, present St Kevin’s Principal Deborah Barker has been supportive of Robinson and has been in touch with him to supply her “private help”, a spokesperson instructed Junkee.

In a letter that was despatched out to lecturers, college students, and oldsters this morning, Principal Barker shared that she “genuinely needs to take heed to, and absolutely perceive” Robinson’s considerations. In an try to deal with among the factors raised by Robinson’s Instagram submit, Barker additionally added that “St Kevin’s Faculty is on a journey of tradition renewal, with a concentrate on inclusion and welcome for all”.

“There’s a lot goodness in our Faculty and but we nonetheless have a lot to do,” Principal Barker wrote in her letter. “It has turn into clear in my first yr, of the significance of listening deeply as we attempt to ship a secure and inclusive surroundings for all of our college students in partnership with their households.”

James Robinson confirmed to Junkee that Barker did attain out to him and that the interplay felt real. Robinson additionally confirmed that the pair have plans to fulfill to debate what steps might be put in place to make St Kevin’s a safer place for all college students.

The most important factor that Robinson says he plans to debate is for St Kevin’s to shift right into a mannequin of “defending college students over defending the popularity [of the school]” and to open up avenues for “college students to speak extra brazenly about misogyny”.

“Too many occasions in my expertise… lecturers have been so busy making an attempt to guard the popularity that they have been forgetting the protection of their college students,” Robinson added.

“So I believe the primary step is to be listening to their experiences — even when which means some unhealthy press. I believe the lives and the well being of a single scholar are price greater than a thousand slander articles.”

St Kevin's blazer burn protest toxic masculinity

Picture Credit score: Equipped

Sadly when Robinson shared his story, he was flooded with messages from each previous and current college students who shared comparable experiences at St Kevin’s.

Messages like “nothing has modified because you left,” “the extraordinarily damaging attitudes are nonetheless current” and “you’d be mendacity for those who went to this faculty and by no means skilled some type of misogyny or homophobia or the objectification of ladies” sadly show that St Kevin’s nonetheless has some time to go earlier than the poisonous tradition the school has turn into identified for is fastened.

And whereas appointing a feminine chief to instigate this crucial change is a step in the proper route, Robinson believes that “the difficulty is extra systemic than one single faculty”.

“I believe the varsity has been conscious for the 103 years it’s existed that there have been points about misogyny and the remedy of ladies,” Robinson instructed Junkee. “St Kevin’s is a enterprise, and companies are, in fact, pushed by revenue and popularity,” he continued. “So I believe finally this subject extends past even simply altering the tradition on the faculty — it goes to taking a look at what same-sex faculties are doing to youngsters and the way precisely tying enterprise and earnings and faith into an establishment like schooling is run.”

St Kevin's blazer burn protest toxic masculinity

Picture credit score: @james.pdf / Instagram

However regardless that St Kevin’s is finally a enterprise, Robinson continues to be hopeful that the appointment of Principal Barker — and her willingness to talk to victims — will convey a few much-needed change in poisonous tradition brewing on the faculty.

“Whereas I believe there are steps which might be being made, there are methods to instigate correct change. Finally that goes again to chatting with victims, chatting with girls,” James Robinson concluded. “That’s why I’m actually grateful that there’s a feminine principal and in addition [a willingness] to talk to queer college students like myself.”

“I’m excited to talk to Deborah and open up some conversations round change.”


You possibly can comply with James Robinson and his pictures on Instagram here.

Michelle Rennex is the senior author at Junkee. Follow her on Twitter.

https://junkee.com/st-kevins-blazer-protest/313982 | Former St Kevin’s Scholar Torches Blazer To Protest In opposition to Poisonous Tradition

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