What to do when the #MeToo movement hits close to home


Lauren Sanchez / Hilltop Views

Providence Catholic School was founded in 1951.

Lauren Sanchez, Viewpoints Editor

An open letter to the students of Providence Catholic School

We’re all familiar with the #MeToo movement; in the 24 hour news cycle, word travels anywhere and everywhere. As women, hearing about these cases elicits many reactions. Sometimes we’re angry, disgusted and ready to throw a riot over the news, at least those have always been my reactions to the never ending stream of allegations.

However, recently I received news that my middle and high school, Providence Catholic School, is currently investigating sexual assault allegations against a former teacher. Being someone who still has close ties to this school, my reaction was almost immediate, but it wasn’t one I was expecting.

I was in shock. People will always tell women that sexual assault could happen to anyone, or it could happen anywhere. While that’s true, you never really think it will happen so close to home. I spent seven years of my life at that school. I found a family in the people there, both students and faculty. That space that was so sacred to me was now dealing with something I never really thought could have happened there.

Then I thought back to the current students and how they might be feeling. These are middle school students AND high school students, many of whom have no idea what any of these allegations mean for them or the school.

As someone who graduated from Providence three years ago, and someone with the platform I have, I want to speak openly to the students of Providence Catholic School.

What do you do when the #MeToo movement hits so close to home?

That’s a complicated question to ask, but it’s one that we must address right now as a community of Provident women.

Firstly, support your fellow students. Trust me, I know middle school and high school is full of drama and feuding, most of college is like that too. But in situations like these, we need to look to each other for support. It can be hard looking past grudges and bad blood, but to quote “Bojack Horseman,” all we have in this terrifying world are the connections that we make. You don’t have to hug every other person you see in the hallway, but if someone in your class comes to you, asking for help, don’t turn them away.

Second, trust your parents. To reiterate my earlier point, I was a teenager once too, I was afraid to tell my parents how I was feeling or what I was going through while I was in middle and high school. But when I did get the courage to talk to my parents, they always supported me. If you’re scared because of these allegations or if you’re going through something yourself, don’t be afraid to turn to your parents for support.

Lastly, what I really want to stress to you, Provets, is the importance of your relationships with your teachers. I know, I was a teenager once too. If someone had told me to confide in my teachers when I was 15, I probably would have shrugged it off. But as a 21 year old, I look back and kick myself for not realizing what a great support system I had while I was at Providence. I had teachers who cared for me and wanted what was best for me, I really could have gone to them with anything and they would have helped.

Don’t be afraid to go to your teachers or your counselors if God forbid something happens. When there’s a community of adults around us, we feel vulnerable, we feel like because they have control they won’t understand what we’re going through. Unfortunately we let that vulnerability, or that fear of vulnerability control us. Do not let that control you and keep you from getting help from the faculty. They were once your age too, they know what it’s like being a teenager who feels like the whole world just won’t listen.  

This is a very scary time to be a woman and hearing about everything going on in the #MeToo movement makes it ten times scarier. But you have a faculty that is dedicated to your best interests. The Administration worked hard to shed light on the truth and seek justice for those affected by these allegations, they care for your emotional and physical well-being.

If you’re feeling the emotional toll from this news, you’re not alone. If you have an experience you don’t know how to deal with or share, you have people at this school that will fight tooth and nail for you. Please, don’t push that help away, take advantage of it.

I will keep you all in my prayers.

Love, your Provet Sister, Lauren Sanchez

Class of 2015