Rape culture is still alive and well in Canada. Let’s all congratulate ourselves on a job poorly done.
After watching and reading about the recent sexist chants produced by orientation leaders at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax during frosh week, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder where we keep going wrong. I might expect this kind of behavior in another country where misogyny and sexism are apparently more existent, but Canada is supposed to be better than this, isn’t it?
For those who are unaware, the chant goes like this: “SMU boys, we like them YOUNG: Y is for Your sister, O is for Oh so tight, U is for Underage, N is for No consent, G is for Grab that ass.”
While the whole chant is terrible, the part about — oh I don’t know — underage, non-consensual sex really irks me to the nth degree. Apparently these students at SMU don’t support the law or feminist values.
What generation is going to finally end rape culture in Canada? I would say the world but, frankly, if we can’t deal with this in our own backyard than how are we ever going to tackle it abroad? While the events at SMU are not representative of Canada entirely, all it takes is one piece of moldy bread to spoil the whole bag.
I do not want Canada to be associated with these sexist behaviours, and I’m sure many of you carry the same sentiments. Although the chant took place provinces away, this is a national issue because sexist and misogynistic attitudes still exist across the country. If we continue to normalize these actions, they are not going to go away.
I would love to think that this rape culture doesn’t exist at the University of Saskatchewan campus, but I know it does. While we did just have Sexual Assault Awareness Week, there was also a sexual assault reported on Sept. 12, taking place in the early evening on Cumberland Avenue. Not to mention the continued controversies over the Don’t Be That Guy campaign and the U of S Students’ Union’s positive spin on it with the Be This Guy campaign.
These campaigns attempt to end sexual assault, sexism, rape culture and everything in between; yet critics find faults within each advertisement, eschewing both campaign’s good-hearted and poignant objectives.
If we can’t all agree on a solution to end rape culture on our campus, in our province or in our country, how is it ever going to end? I challenge the Don’t Be That Guy or Be This Guy nay-sayers to come up with an alternative solution that works towards ending rape culture in Canada.
While the chant at SMU was criticized and publicized as not okay, the culture that perpetuates these ideas continues to thrive.
Rape culture will only exist as long as we allow it to, so we all need to be active participants in this change.
Those interested in working towards a change can submit an entry for the U of S’ Be This Guy video contest, which aims to show how everyone can help prevent sexual assault.
Graphic: Stephanie Mah