Rape Culture At DHS: Singling out one event pushes an anti-DHS agenda

Before I even start this article, I want to note the importance and gravity of acknowledging rape culture and the #metoo movement. Calling out the institutions and people that must be held accountable for the perpetuation of rape culture or normalizing the harmful misogyny in society is a crucial part of changing those structures. Without acknowledgment, we can’t change the behaviors, big or small, that continue to plague society. This being said, I don’t believe that the spring sports assembly held recently at DHS was a representation of rape culture. In my opinion, the Herald inaccurately claimed the normalization of rape culture. I believe the sensationalization of the minute-to-win it game at the Unified spring sports assembly is an example of poor journalism and one sidedness on behalf of the Herald, no matter how inappropriate the game may’ve been.

The article in the Durango Herald published on March 15th spoke to a few of the concerns raised by the assembly. If you haven’t read that article yet, I recommend you do so in order to understand the claims I’m making here. Understandably, the balloon game made many students and members of the community uncomfortable, which absolutely needs to be addressed. School assemblies should be a place of celebration and inclusion, which was absolutely the case before the balloon game incident. Now, I know the article was not talking about the highlights of the entire assembly and that the assembly as a whole wasn’t the focus, but I feel it necessary to look at the whole thing, especially because the Herald failed to do so. The majority of this assembly was a celebration of the upcoming spring sports season, the success of Maddie Jo Robins, and most prominently, the importance of inclusion and to End the R Word through the Unified basketball game. The inclusion obvious in the rest of the assembly proves that most of the administration at the school would not go out of their way to make students feel singled out or uncomfortable. School is not a place for displays of triggering behavior or inappropriate displays like this one, but the largest issue I took with the ballon fiasco was the heteronormative nature of the game, not the normalization of rape culture as the Herald saw it. History has ingrained heteronormative behaviors into our day to day, but that doesn’t have to take place in schools and can be avoided with more appropriate, less gendered games.There were so many more appropriate options to fill the five minutes the balloon game took up, and the choice to instigate the balloon game was a major oversight.

The largest part of the article that I took issue with was the lack of time in the turn around between event and article, and the one sidedness of the story. I found it extremely inappropriate that the article was published with a photo of the student athletes that participated without their knowledge, especially given the inappropriate nature of the game. Without knowledge of the photo being taken or published and the lack of comment from the school, this one sided display was pushing a seemingly anti-DHS agenda. Furthermore, the cartoon published shortly after the article showing the Playboy bunny in the DHS logo instead of the demon is another obviously anti-DHS symbol. This cartoon was uncalled for and juvenile, adding fuel to a fire that didn’t even need to be started in the first place.With no comment from the school or administration, putting the school and students on the spot directly afterward, the article came across as poorly researched and supported only with bias, including quotes from people not directly affected by the game.

In the Herald’s defense, it is absolutely important to address instances, even small ones of inappropriate behavior. And sometimes, the instances that we don’t take a second look at are the most common and most harmful. In the situation of the assembly game however, the sensationalization of the game was uncalled for. This is a learning experience for DHS and I see future school events being more thoroughly thought out to understand how they could be triggering or harmful for students. Although the article had negative repercussions on the school in the face of the media, it now will allow for a stronger awareness of inappropriate behaviors and how we can make more people feel safe at school.