SHARP Warriors’ Day of Change educates community about consent and rape culture



SHARP Warriors shared presentations about toxic masculinity, gender-based violence, and consent.

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) coalition held their second annual Day of Change at the high school on Thursday, March 3.

Day of Change is a day devoted to educating the community on topics including consent, toxic masculinity and rape culture and give students and staff tools to disrupt these dangerous systems.

SHARP’s student leader, senior Sasha Kalvert, said SHARP had to consider their goals for Day of Change and how to reach them while considering what is appropriate for their audience.

“We’re trying to work to cater this day to students’ needs because I believe that all students have been negatively impacted by rape culture,” Kalvert said. “We have to ask ourselves, ‘How do we pull everybody into this work without creating an unsafe environment for people who’ve experienced violence in this culture?’”

Senior Evan Guttell, a member of the SHARP coalition and an organizer of Day of Change, said one of the day’s goals was to show students how rape culture is a part of their lives.

“A main goal [of Day of Change] to have students think about this more as an issue that’s present in their life and as something that they can be combating and that they can actually take part in various ways of dismantling rape culture and learning more about consent,” Guttell said.

Kalvert said the dismantling of rape culture is often thought of as work done specifically to benefit women and non-binary people, but it is important to reframe it as work that will benefit everyone.

“I’ve always hated the sentiment that if you’re a male-identifying person you do the work for your mom, your sister, or your girlfriend,” Kalvert said. “What we’re really trying to get across today is that it’s for you.”

Kalvert said emphasizing the mutual benefit in dismantling the patriarchy helps to establish a common ground between all people when discussing these issues.

“Today’s goal was to provide a common foundation to further conversations. We want everybody to be on the same page so that when we try to have more complex conversations, we have some nuance and some background to really support each other with it,” Kalvert said.

To achieve their goals, SHARP organized Day of Change to consist of two short lessons with built-in discussion times and a debriefing period.

During A-block, student facilitators and teachers presented a lesson plan focused on laying the groundwork for a better understanding of consent. The block began with a short video introducing the group’s mission and their goals for the day.

In conjunction with the video, SHARP students walked classes through the norms of healthy conversation while introducing terms and their definitions in order to create a shared understanding of concepts like rape culture, toxic masculinity and consent.

The lesson then moved into applying the requirements of consent to real-world scenarios. Students were prompted to explain whether or not certain situations were or weren’t consent.

During B-block, the discussion was continued with a video about rape culture and toxic masculinity, including an interview with Youth Sexual Violence Prevention Education Director at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Casey Corcoran.

Corcoran said it’s important to recognize that people’s intersectional identities—their race, gender, social class and sexual orientation—impact the way that they experience systems such as rape culture and toxic masculinity.

“We need to understand how those identities intersect and impact the way individuals walk through the world, and that includes the way they experience things like the criminal justice system and the barriers they might encounter when trying to access [sexual assault] services,” Corcoran said.

Guttell said it is important to “call people in” and have difficult conversations to foster a place of learning and growth in which these systems can be dismantled.

“Conflict is very necessary in these situations,” Guttell said. “It’s impossible to be an ally and start breaking down rape culture in the environments we’re in without being confrontational. Otherwise, the status quo will continue.”