“Please don’t compromise their (male teachers) employment by not doing the right thing(wearing revealing clothing) – Victim blaming culture is sadly rife in our society
A principal at a Sydney girls’ school will apologise after telling students not to “compromise the employment” of male teachers by wearing revealing clothing. Cheltenham Girls High School Principal Suellen Lawrence made the comments in a video address to students while attempting to enforce swimming carnival dress codes.
‘If student’s come in mufti for any reason wearing shorts and tops that are stringy, and skimpy and revealing I will be ringing your parents to send you home. So please don’t do that girls, please don’t spoil it for others, make sure that you adhere to the rules and wear some clothing that covers you properly. Please remember girls that there are men teachers in this school and they don’t want to be looking at that either, don’t compromise their employment because you can’t do the right thing. So girls, just keep this in mind when we do have mufti days.’ – SueEllen Lawrence Principal Cheltenham Girls high school.
Some students were heard gasping as the comments were made. A parent, who spoke to 7NEWS on the condition of anonymity, said the message not only sexually charges the relationship between male teachers and their students but it questions the teachers’ professionalism.
“(My daughter) was quite upset actually, she came home and it was the first thing she wanted to talk about with the family,” the father said.
“What are the girls going to be thinking now whenever a teacher looks at them?”
Parents are also worried it tells the students that tempting men would be their fault, the parent adding: “this is an all-girls school and then we’ve got victim-blaming inside the school.”
When students confronted the principal she doubled down at the next assembly.
“For those girls that have taken this out of context and have decided to make it into some sort of big issue,” she said to students.
“I’m sorry for you, you need to go back and listen to what was said.”
The Education Department says Lawrence is a dedicated teacher who now does admit her views were expressed poorly. There will be no investigation and no disciplinary action. NSW Department of Education
Executive Director of School Performance Cathy Brennan told 7NEWS that the comments were “inappropriate” and she was “confident that there is genuine remorse”.
“We’ve taken that really seriously and worked with our principal to raise those concerns with her,” Brennan said.
“She’s ready to apologise, recognises they were not the comments aligned with our view of how we give confidence to our students and how we position our schools.”
No investigation and no disciplinary action – and we wonder why victim blaming is prevalent in our society. What message are we sending our young people when a Principal tells a group of girls that their choice of clothing can make male teachers act in a way that will “compromise their employment”.
How exactly does that get taken out of context, she told young impressionable girls to make sure they dress appropriately, so they don’t risk compromising the male teachers employment ! What is there to take out of context here exactly ?
Sadly, this attitude is all too common in our society, the very first comment on this news article was- “How is this not true, young women wear inappropriate clothing which gets men fired all the time” –
My response was …“ or men could, you know, not act like dogs on heat and realise that children are totally off limits to their sexual urges at all times.” No piece of clothing is ever responsible for someones predatory actions.
My response literally drew angry emoticons, people were actually angry with me for daring to say that men are responsible for their actions.
I then doubled down on my statement with the FACAA classic “No one deserves to be raped, no matter what they said or did not say, wore or did not wear, did or did not do” . Sadder still this elicited more angry emoticons (no comments, oddly enough) but it appeared that many people were mad to hear that rape victims were never to blame for being raped.
Who could possibly support these victim blaming comments ? Unbelievably, there were dozens of comments agreeing that young girls should be worried about the jobs of male teachers …. Seriously what the hell people !)
Just when you think our society couldn’t get any worse when it comes to blaming the victim, a photo of the parliament house alleged rape survivor brought this gem of a comment “How could this have been rape, everyone knows that women with their dresses up can run faster than men with their pants down”
It occurs to me that our society wants to blame victims for what happens to them. Over and over again we see rape victims told they shouldn’t have been walking at night, or they shouldn’t have been dressed like “that” or even they shoudn’t have been out drinking… the list goes on and on and on.
If we believe the victims are to blame then we can also believe we have some level of control, we can stop ourselves from being raped or abused… sadly this just isn’t the truth.
To rape survivors everywhere on behalf of all of us here at FACAA. It was NOT your fault, no matter what you did or did not do, said or did not say, wore or did not wear, if you said no at any point (yes even after the act has begun) then they should have stopped immediately and if they did not, we are all so very sorry.
Anything less than that is wrong, no victim.. adult or child deserves to be attacked, deserves to be abused. No matter what some people may think !