Krause, Donlan head new committee to educate students about issue
By Cameron M. Bray ’16
Principal Mr. Bob Ryan sent an email to Ms. Kendra Krause and Dr. Tom Donlan in September asking whether they would chair a new committee based around the issue of sexual assault.
They both said yes, and in October a committee was formed in order to better educate students and faculty about the issue filling news and discussions around the country.
Ms. Krause said that the issue of sexual assault had been on Mr. Ryan and the administration’s mind for a long time and that the committee was formed partly in response to a report released last fall by the Association of American Universities saying that one in four women experience sexual assault on college campuses.
“I think the numbers there confirmed what people knew anecdotally,” she said, “that there’s a problem on college campuses and a significant number of young people report being assaulted on campus.”
While the issue of sexual assault may seem distant for high school students, college awaits them only one, two, three or four years away, and Ms. Krause said Brophy should prepare students for that reality.
Mr. Ryan announced to the senior class March 8 that they would take part in a unique, full day of programming on the topic at Central High School Monday, March 14 titled “Moral Courage: Taking a Stand against Sexual Assault.”
“While we know that one day cannot totally change the culture on the hundred college campuses where you will find yourselves, we believe it to be a good start for your individual formation and for the betterment of Brophy,” Mr. Ryan wrote in an email to seniors.
Seniors should report to the Central High School auditorium by 9 a.m. Monday the 14th.
Besides education, Ms. Krause said that one of the committee’s goals is to help foster a discussion about the issue of sexual assault.
“I think it’s hard to talk about, so helping kids and faculty members process how to talk about this is a goal,” she said. “I’m not convinced every person, every boy, every adult knows what assault is. It’s not just rape. I think a lot of it stems from how we—culturally, not just Brophy—in a society talk about women.”
For victims, too, the issue is especially difficult to talk about. Only about 20 percent of victims, according to a Justice Department report, go to the police, so the often-quoted statistics may be under representations of the true reality.
Since October, the committee has met several times, Ms. Krause said, and is in the process of debating how to best approach the issue with students, whether that be through the health curriculum, through the retreat program, or through workshops or talks.
Currently, the committee’s members include Ms. Kalli Vaughan, Mr. Ryan Hubbell, Mr. Chad Unrein, Mr. Ian Aston, Ms. Breanne Toshner and Mr. Noah Lewkowitz ’98.
Ms. Toshner, who was invited to join the committee last fall by Ms. Krause, said that she was glad to be a part of it and that as a woman at Brophy she was glad to have a voice.
“I think it’s such an important issue,” she said. “I really care about all our students here at Brophy and I want them to be good people when they go to college. I think sexual assault is a confusing thing for young men and women because I think consent is confusing.”
Ms. Toshner agreed with Ms. Krause that the issue is a difficult one to talk about and we as a society are not doing enough to address the issue.
“That statistic that one in three women or one in four women or one in five women are going to get unwanted sexual advances, sexual assault or rape in their lifetime is crazy to me,” she said. “I think it’s because we don’t have the tools [to properly talk about the issue].”
Caroline James ’16, a senior at Xavier, said she was pleased when she heard that there was a sexual assault committee and that it fit the Brophy motto, “Men for Others.”
She said that the issue of sexual violence needs greater attention in general and that the committee was a good move on Brophy’s part.
“I definitely think it needs to be a big deal and very much emphasized, especially for seniors going off to college next year,” James said. “I think the committee to address the issue is very important and a step in the right direction.”
Ethan Kostishak ’16 said he was also pleased when he heard about the committee.
He said that by its very nature sexual assault is an issue that should receive attention from the community.
“I don’t think it’s a measure of ‘Is it that bad of an issue?’ Since this exists, it is an issue that should be taken care of,” he said.
Agreeing with James, Kostishak said the committee was a step in the right direction. However, he also said that we as community and a society have not done enough and that more can always be done.
“I think that to say we’ve done enough is to say that we’ve finished the goal, that we’ve fixed the problem,” he said.