Schools have a responsibility to tackle rape culture – but they are not to blame for it

The uncomfortable truth is that the experiences revealed by Everyone’s Invited are just the tip of a cultural iceberg that is societal in its scale, writes Ed Dorrell

Monday 05 April 2021 12:27
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<p>A placard saying 'End Rape Culture' attached to the fence outside James Allen's Girls' School in London</p>

A placard saying 'End Rape Culture' attached to the fence outside James Allen's Girls' School in London

Nine years ago, I commissioned and published a cover feature for the Times Education Supplement by then-teacher Chloe Combi. Its headline was simple: “Porn – the shocking truth”.

For a venerable education newspaper this was brave stuff. Chloe’s piece surprised many, informed many more and upset a good number, too. Written just a handful of years after smart phones had become commonplace, it outlined in fairly graphic detail what any teenager could have told you: young people were watching porn – a lot. It was having a huge impact on how they saw themselves and their relationships. Chloe was among the first to understand the scale of this revolution and the extraordinary impact such a cultural change might have.

Chloe also wrote for theTES about the impact that social media, then also in its relative infancy, was having on young people – how it was changing social dynamics, how it meant that teenagers could not escape the social-pressured world of their friends, and how “banter” was going completely unregulated.

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