Melbourne photographer, who was ‘abused’ at school, broke into the grounds of his former St Kevin’s Catholic school and burned a blazer to protest the institution’s toxic homophobia and misogynist culture .
Photographer based in Melbourne and New York James j robinson posted on his one-off Instagram event with several images including the burning of a St Kevin’s blazer, as well as several headlines from various posts reporting the school’s toxic behavior.
The infamous private boys’ school has made headlines in the past for toxic student behavior. In 2019, a group of students from St Kevin was caught on camera singing sexist chants on a streetcar and last year there were allegations against a teacher for sexual misconduct towards a student.
“I’ve seen revenge porn against girls”
In his Instagram post, Robinson said he was motivated to take action after it was reported that Collingwood football player and St Kevin’s alumnus Jordan De Goey had been arrested in New York for allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on the dance floor.
âSomething broke inside me this time. The patriarchal culture that I saw inside the school gates erupted and spread to New York City, my new home for five years, âthe post said.
âSt Kevin’s is a bubble where privileged young men can repeat oppression without consequence, before graduating brilliantly in public. A place where the “locker room conversation” openly exists in hallways and classrooms. “
âI’ve seen revenge porn against girls from ‘sister schools’. I have seen the objectification of teachers and the transphobic harassment of a teacher in transition. I saw friends make a pact of silence to protect two students who pulled a knife at a taxi driver, and a principal who later paid to be silent.
“I’ve seen a system designed to let young boys think they can do anything, assault anyone and get away with it.”
“Scornful response from the school”
In 2019, Robinson said he contacted the school and sent them an email providing advice on how to create a safer school environment.
âI sent the ex-principal an email detailing the dark spiral of self-hatred and gay shame that school has put me into, a path I still struggle with until my twenties. I explained how systemic homophobia and racism crept into the program, teaching me to hate myself. “
“I received a contemptuous response and a canceled meeting.”
Robinson also gave a Ted speaks the same year, he says he contacted the school where he explains in detail how he was abused when he was 14.
âA two-year-old boy above me asked me to go out on MSN and I cried all night in relief to finally find someone like me after years of feeling lonely,â Robinson said at the time. from Ted Talk.
“But that relief was taken away from me when I arrived at school the next day to find him and his friends pointing at me and laughing at me.”
“I realized that my first coming out experience had been taken away forever as a kind of prank on me.”
The protest echoes among the students
In the past 24 hours, Robinson’s post has gone viral on Instagram and the photographer has shared posts on his Instagram story, with people thanking him for his protest.
âI saw your article on St Kevin’s and it really resonated with me as a current student (year 12 so can’t wait to be out in a few weeks),â one person said in a message to Robinson.
âSchool’s obsession with public image (doing nothing to help public image that matters?) Made me repress who I was and made me hate who I was. I’m openly queer, but due to the schools’ anti-LGBTQIA + agenda, I couldn’t recognize it without hating myself until after school, âsaid another.
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