ST. ED'S INVITES CLEVELAND RAPE CRISIS CENTER TO LEAD SENIOR SEMINARS
ADVOCATING FOR HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Over the next two months, the senior class will be participating in four seminars led by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, engaging them in interactive presentations on defining healthy relationships, bystander intervention and consent. Having already completed the first two seminars before the holiday break, students were able to more deeply understand relationship dynamics and vulnerability. "These seminars are designed by experts in Cleveland to robustly prepare our young men to approach all their relationships in a healthy, joyful manner, while also giving them baseline skills for safely and civilly disrupting interactions that may be problematic," says Associate Dean of Academics & IB Coordinator Mr. Nick Kuhar. "They help students break down and interrogate dysfunctional perspectives about romantic relationships." Through collaborative activity during their first seminar, seniors deconstructed what constitutes signs of abuse and emphasized how vulnerability, openness and civility can be deliberate components that they actively build on within their own relationships.
"These exercises challenged students to create catalogs of what vulnerability requires and the benefits from being vulnerable and tested their categories through theoretical scenarios," says Mr. Kuhar. "As our students navigate romantic relationships - a territory that social media has made increasingly complex, especially for teenagers - the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has really helped reflect and identify how power and control in relationships can come into play. For instance, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center facilitator helped delineate eight distinct ways - emotional, mental, verbal, financial, physical, sexual, spiritual and social - by which humans can seek control of others and how vying for control can negatively impact relationships."
When returning from these seminars, seniors furthered their discussions on the topics they covered in their Theology classes, connecting them to the content they've learned throughout this semester. With a particular focus on the dignity of human life and solidarity, students reflected more on how respect can play a huge part in maintaining healthy relationships. "Dignity of human life means treating people with respect and coming to know the truth about yourself," says Theology Department Chair Mr. Chris Merriman. "Victims of abuse deserve to be treated with respect, but self-respect also means discovering the dignity within ourselves and becoming our true selves to form healthier relationships. These are not just women's issues, they're all of our issues. We are in this together. We are brothers and sisters and need to care for and respect each other."