For years, Berkeley High School (BHS) has struggled with a deeply destructive rape culture. Toxic masculinity and lack of consequences lie at the root of this reality. There is no universal solution to rape culture, but there are ways to start changing the narrative for future BHS generations. One necessary step is outlined in the policy demanded by BHS students:
If multiple members of a sports team or club affiliated with BHS are accused of sexual misconduct, the entire team will complete an official sexual assault training with a Title IX coordinator present. If multiple members are convicted of sexual assault and/or rape, that entire sports team or club will be suspended for the rest of the season/semester.
This is not a revolutionary idea. In professional sports, sponsors often “drop” athletes that are surrounded in controversy, especially if it involves rape. Some BHS teams have participated in sexual harm trainings, but there needs to be an official mandate to ensure that this change continues. Coaches should have to sign an agreement stating that, should multiple of their students commit sexual assault, they will personally ensure that all activities of the team will be terminated.
This may seem drastic, but it is necessary. Our generation hopes to create a future without rape, and that begins with implementing structural changes in high school. Under this rule, the “team” culture that has empowers young men to commit sexual assault would shift to accountability. This rule redirects the idea of brotherhood into a positive source of power for preventing sexual assault.
Every BHS athlete signs a Code of Conduct promising to conduct themselves responsibly while representing our school. Sexual harassment and assault violate this code of conduct. When you put on a Jacket jersey, you are given the privilege of being part of a team, and with that privilege comes the responsibility of being a leader, on and off the field.