The Atlantic

The Girls Who Live in an All-Boys World

Until schools help boys understand personal accountability, they are tacitly endorsing the misogyny that still thrives in some elite classrooms.
Source: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty

Three years ago, I sat in a quiet library speaking with a young woman about her experience at the boarding school she attended. She was a senior and she was more than ready to graduate, she explained, because though the school had been coed for years, to her it still felt like the all-boys school it had been for most of its existence.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s all about them. It’s like we’re here for their benefit.”

Teachers and administrators at the school described her as a student leader, a young woman with a promising future. But as I listened to her explain her school’s social hierarchy and culture, her promising future seemed to have less to do with the elite education she’d received than the spirit of survival she had needed to develop in her four years there.

I spoke with the the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and covering her mouth to muffle her screams during a party they both attended when he was a student at Georgetown Prep, an elite boarding school in Washington, D.C.

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