08 April 2021, The Tablet

We must all take responsibility for a culture which has allowed kids to sexually humiliate others


We must all take responsibility for a culture which has allowed kids to sexually humiliate others
 

Click on to The London Oratory School website, and you’re greeted with an invitation to join the daily Mass livestream, celebrated by school chaplain Fr George Bowen each weekday from the school chapel. Click again, and there’s a “welcome” statement from the head, Daniel Wright, who tells you straight up that the school is “trad, but not quirky” and that it’s “amongst the city’s most prestigious Roman Catholic schools”.

But the polished veneer of the school, founded in 1863 by the Fathers of the London Oratory, is looking slightly tawdry after allegations emerged that it has fostered a “rape culture” and allowed an environment where girls (who are only admitted to the sixth form) are objectified, and where inappropriately sexualised behaviour is tolerated among the male pupils.

Three of my four daughters were sixth- formers at The Oratory: they were happy there, and our family is grateful to many individual teachers at the school for the education they received, but I am far from surprised by the “revelations” that came to light after a website called “Everyone’s Invited” allowed pupils who have been mistreated, shamed, sexually abused and raped by other pupils to anonymously share their testimonies.

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