Following over 4000 confessions of sexual assault, humiliation and violence through the website Everyone’s Invited we have an excellent moment for evaluating the subjects of education and sexuality. This outpouring of anger and emotion has adjusted the attention of all schools, parents and future parents towards the deep level of suffering inflicted through sexual violence at secondary school. A culture of rape and sexual violence benefits neither man nor woman. I encourage all students to have conversations with women to find out how frequent and painful the experiences of sexual violence are. The fact cultures of sexual violence are taking root within London’s best schools, the very places that are expected to set an example towards the rest of British and global society, is completely unacceptable.
Through the excellent work of Jon Ronson in his book So You’ve Been Shamed we should be wary of expecting internet and media shaming to offer effective leadership in understanding the problems of teenage sex culture. Everyone’s Invited provides source material that can enlighten teachers, parents and students with the feelings of anger hopefully leading towards contemplation and future deterrent, however, deliberation and evaluation will be required to understand the subjects of rape, violence, revenge porn, cyberstalking and sex.
As someone who left KGS in 2014 and has experience campaigning on issues like climate change and cybercrime I’m very aware of the value of honest accounts needed to help mitigate and solve future problems. I will give descriptions and suggestions based on the experience of myself and peers I have talked to. In turn, I have talked with both the LSE and University of Bristol about how to solve their University mental health crises highlighting how unnecessary suffering that leads towards stupid and dangerous behaviour very often stems from a complete ignorance of how the mind and body works. I will strongly suggest schools implement mindfulness meditation studies to provide students with the tools for navigating mental wellbeing and physiology. Not only does mindfulness meditation provide the individual with an ability to read their own psychology and physiology on subjects like sex, anger, love and hate, failure to do so, and a complete lack of school education beyond dreaded sex education classes, leads towards ignorance and vulnerability that will see confused about subjects like sex, thought and physiology look towards domineering peers, reality tv and fictional characters for guidance over how one should lead their sex lives.
Sex plays an exceptionally significant part of the teenagers schooling experience. A friend, recalling his teens, emphasised the hierarchical significance of sex, with individuals gaining status through sexual achievement and through association with the individuals they participate in sexual activities with. Talking from experience sex and romance plays an extraordinarily significant role in the bonding of social groups, providing constant levels of intrigue and entertainment. It is therefore no surprise that at 17, students from a whole host of schools between Hampton Court and Putney attended Greek party islands where sex and alcohol are the two greatest stimulations.
At school no one is taught how they’re mind works. Despite getting straight A* and A’s, playing lead roles in school theatre productions and being well loved by school mates and the 2nd XI hockey team I wasted a great deal of energy and attention contemplating the sexual self. I confused an inability to understand how thoughts worked with an idea that I was dissatisfied on the subjects of sex and romance. This demonstrates two things. Firstly, even the best students are not being provided tools to understand how thought and mind works. Secondly, the primacy of the subject of sex towards an individual’s sense of pubescent self.
I’m convinced this suffering would have been prevented through the implementation of an effective mindfulness meditation programme. This would serve to provide students with practical tools to understand, mind, consciousness, physiology, thought and the self and would alleviate all trappings of attaining illusory visions of self that are generally determined by subculture, peers, celebrities, media and TV who either have no idea what they are doing or were created purely for the purpose of entertainment. After leaving the routine and organization of school, students realise they have not been equipped with tools to effectively understand their bodies and navigate their lives. In 1961 Aldous Huxley diagnosed the exact same problem with British schooling, where the entire emphasis, beyond playing sport, is on symbolic learning, and no effort is given to understanding individual psychology, consciousness and physiology. The protagonist Will Farnaby, recognising his failings at self-contemplation, complains that ‘the school that I went to we never got to know things we only ever got words’. Similarly, Huxley, one of the greatest symbol manipulators of his generation, was hugely critical of societies overemphasis on symbols arguing that while some symbols ‘correspond fairly closely to some of the aspects of external reality… sometimes, on the contrary, the symbols have almost no connection with external reality’. Huxley and I have both experienced how a failure to educate society how the mind works has created extraordinary levels of unnecessary suffering.
Through teaching meditation and letting students understand themselves better we will allow students to build social structures with greater understanding of one another and thus prevent anxious and ignorant performances of sexuality that, in part, spawn gross cultures around rape, cyberstalking, revenge porn and sexual violence.