The dust has settled over the university campuses in Halifax and British Columbia but the rage within me still pulsates.
For those that haven’t had the chance to be up to speed on this I’ll be glad to refresh your memory. Students at St Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax and at the University of British Columbia thought it would be hilarious, cool even, to form an acronym that depicts their taste in sexual partner and endorses rape. Young, tight, underage and the punch line: no consent. The only words that come to mind are what.the.eff (sorry mum)? This stirs in me an anger that cannot be described because the topic of Rape is NOT a joke!
It reminds me of a time in secondary school when I’d debate boys on various topics and I clearly remember one smartly dressed boy getting up to the podium, clearing his throat and saying with every ounce of conviction within him: “if I see a girl in a mini skirt I will rape!” I’m not exactly sure what my 15 year-old self thought at the time, but if I had never wanted to win a debate, that day I was sure going to win. And we did (we had some bad ass debaters). This debate continued for much of those years and often came up either in the news or among students, in attempt to combat rape culture, or rather stop girls from dressing ‘sexy’ and thus get themselves raped. I felt like I was constantly having to argue either orally or in writing why this was not women’s faults. I recall my final Grade 12 essay was on explaining why the popular Channel O should not be banned-it was causing all sorts of nonsense including encouraging indecent dressing! NOT! Needless to say, I aced that essay!
But here we are again, in 2013 and rape culture is not any different. What makes it ok for boys AND girls (as seen in the SMU video) to think that this is acceptable, even funny? And how have the adults stood by all these years and let this chant go on? I couldn’t believe the chant has been going on for YEARSSSS!! How did no one pick up on this, scratch his or her head and say this does not sound right, what are we doing?!? Back then I’m ashamed to say I thought the boy I was debating was primitive. I’d stereotyped him to be an unintelligent government school pupil who didn’t know better. But the students at SMU and UBC are just as despicable.
So what happens now? In my view, there needs to be a little more than sensitivity training for those Frosh leaders. I’m glad to hear someone’s getting fired or has stepped down because there needs to be accountability from the top. College and University campuses are infamous for debauchery, drinking games and more hangovers than the Hangover. I mean, people are certainly entitled to live out their college experience as loud as they want. I’m all for late night partying and all but the minute someone borders or even treads on the potential for non-consensual activities with anyone, let alone a minor, my cool factor definitely hits a zero.
As girls we’re constantly reminded about how we should avoid putting ourselves in circumstances that will bring us harm or as sometimes is offensively put: circumstances that you’re going to regret. A friend sent me this article by Zerlina Maxwell, (a political analyst and rape survivor), that I have never forgotten that turns that advice on it’s head and stops focusing on girls, but brings into discussion for once the role that educating boys has on the outcome of these events.
Read it. Digest it. Discuss it: