Katic: The quick-fix to rape chants.

Global News labelled this file "rape.jpg." Poor students in the photo, they aren't even Sauder kids!

Global News labelled this file “rape.jpg.” Poor students in the photo, they aren’t even Sauder kids!

In case you missed the story of the UBC Sauder School of Business rape chant, check out the Ubyssey’s reporting on the subject:

“An actual cheer at ubc,” a Sauder School of Business first-year wrote on Twitter. “Y-O-U-N-G at UBC we like em young Y is for yourrr sister O is for ohh so tight U is for under age N is for noo consent G is for goo to jail.”

This might be somewhat counterintuitive, but I am more encouraged by the reaction to the UBC rape chant than I am discouraged by the chant itself. It received near-unanimous condemnation. I didn’t even read one person try to rationalize it with the good ‘ol “can’t you take a joke?” or “boys will be boys.” Did you? It could just be my overwhelmingly progressive Facebook friends, but it seems like the UBC community is rather disturbed by the chant.

Ultimately, perhaps this is really a story about the powerful psycho-social pressure of groupthink, tradition, and in/out group anxieties? I see this in a similar light as those stories of people being attacked in broad daylight while a crowd does nothing, or stories where de-individualization and anonymity turns good people bad. Put yourself in the shoes of these overwhelmed university freshman: you’re told this is a decades-long tradition, the mature “leaders” are doing it, and the dozens of boisterous students around you are doing it. Could you really be “that guy” who ruins the fun?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to excuse the actions of these students. It was wrong, and I think it does reflect an underlining rape culture. But expulsion and unmitigated scorn, although comforting, is too simplistic a reaction. We must be courageous enough to recognize how this culture operates within each of us (mostly subconsciously), how it can sometimes be triggered, and what steps we must take to stop it.

For me, the obvious trigger is orientation culture itself. These mega-events are built unapologetically for one primary purpose: to induce irrational, uninhibited frenzy. Nothing could be more damaging to critical thought, scholarship, or a healthy university culture.

If you took any one of those students aside and had a one-on-one discussion about rape, I bet you they would have a much different opinion than those expressed in the heinous chant.

In my ideal orientation, I would include workshops, lectures, and panel discussions about feminism, sexual assault in the campus context, and critical thinking. But even before that, I think I would just axe Frosh–that would probably do the trick.

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Gordon Katic (@gordonkatic) has been student coordinator for the Terry Project for over two years, and in that time started BARtalk, and the Terry Project on CiTR 101.9FM. A former Ubyssey columnist, and now a student at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, Gordon is trying to use journalism to tell important stories about global issues.

6 Responses to “Katic: The quick-fix to rape chants.”

  1. Sauder student

    Comedy (be it in film, television, stand-up or elsewhere) with offensive content is routinely lauded by otherwise progressive-minded people because it satirizes the misogynistic, racist or otherwise ignorant ideas contained within it. In those cases, an argument can be made that detractors need to learn to “take a joke”. This chant is simply too unfunny, hackneyed, and devoid of substance to be defended as humour; but it isn’t in any way indicative of a deeper problem specific to Sauder nor deserving of the coverage it has received, and the person who initiated it will be punished enough by living the rest of his life as an unfunny person.

  2. Idm04

    Regarding your photo caption — those are Sauder kids and those are the shirts they wore for Frosh. They had a Disney theme this year.

  3. Rob

    ” I am more encouraged by the reaction to the UBC rape chant than I am discouraged” – yes, I suspect you are. Those looking to axe frosh week, and enforce a no-fun, tofu, People’s University of the Pyonyang-type experience LOVE this incident. It’s the burning of reichstag. It’s the impetus you needed for a McCarthyist witch hunt against anyone who might be part of the oh-so-nebulous “oppressive culture”. Not to mention, a convenient opportunity for the long arts and sciences-dominated student organizations to hate on commerce kids (who are, to say the least, easy targets).

    And now that the (justly) critical eyes of EVERYONE at UBC are on this incident, you can use the attention and righteous scorn to extort statements of loyalty toward radical progressive cultural movements.

    In front of a gaggle of overly eager student journalists and stern looking-administrators, you can beat the tune of a drum-head court martial, while you instruct everyone at the CUS to “swear on this stack of Chomsky books that you hate group activities, that all school spirit is capitalist indoctrination, that school sports are inherently oppressive, and that the only clubs allowed should be subversive book clubs and student unions”.

    And they will. Anyone will. As you write, everyone of influence, indeed, anyone that can be heard in the pantheon of campus media, and even in casual discussion, has towed the party line. “The chant was evil. It’s indicative of an evil culture that exists everywhere at every university”.

    Under threat of expulsion, and certain blacklisting, who would dissent? Who would say that while the chant was offensive, to be sure, it might not be part of some huge problem? Who would say that there is no “rape culture” at UBC?

    You want to foster “critical thought, scholarship, or a healthy university culture”? Then stop this crusade. Because from my perspective, the leftist riot about a song in the CUS is a far more troubling example of Groupthink, and irrational, uninhibited frenzy. If those were truly the goals of FROSH week, the FROSH planners would have to tip their hat to the campus media and feminist organizations, because as frenzy goes, the bar has been raised.

  4. Godfrey

    Hey Rob, normally I wouldn’t stoop to comment on such utter baseless drivel (you are essentially evoking the right of free speech to justify rape in the name of comedy, or something? I think?) – especially when you write things like “tow the line” and quote extensively from better written, if slightly more terrifying writers (I think?) instead of using your words.

    But I have to say this because “right-wing” cretins like you take every instance where the public defense of, say, hypothetically haplessly drunken sorority girls is only – solely – the bastion from behind which the “left-wing” stands its ground…as opposed to people who think rape is bad. I feel like I need to capitalize that last phrase and maybe figure out how to make it blink in big cherry glittery letters. Is there a “right wing” font that would help? Because that is all the backlash is about.

    Rape is an assault almost wholly conducted by men against women. Not by science and humanities students against commerce students, Rob. Rape happens too much in college and university, and it is far more often perpetrated by someone the victim knows (which changes it to “date rape”, a reductio ad absurdum that lessens the intent. We might as well go with “low cut skirt rape” and “dancing provocatively rape”). Alcohol often plays a role. Therefore, if anything, educated people who are aware of these facts Do you feel any more educated, Rob? Probably not. You seem educated, but you are not. You are blinded by something. I wonder what woman did a number on you? Maybe an ex-girlfriend discovered feminist theory and dumped your tearful, hateful, knee-jerk (emphasis jerk) misogynist ass. I’d like to shake her hand.

    You project hatred and fear, hostility and aggression. You smear, misdirect and accuse. You are a voice of paranoia couched in antisocial misogyny. You’d make a great politician in Idaho or maybe Arizona. Why don’t you go to school there?

    Finally, I’d like to compare you to someone I saw on TV. When interviewed regarding the pandemic of childhood sexual abuse within the Catholic church, another disturbingly common assault by adult predators against weaker, unknowing human prey – and also under-reported, covered up, smeared, misdirected or knowingly ignored…a bishop of a large North American city responded in person, on camera to the fact that children were being raped by adult men without punishment, indictment or even comment by the Catholic church. Do you know what he said?

    He said, “the issue here is not the crime of sodomy or pedophilia. The issue is celibacy, and it is what these priests need to refocus on.”

    Do you see the absurdity in this statement? It is logical, but it is absurd, because it misdirects in a sensible way

    I think you know what you are doing, Rob. You are either a troll or you truly believe what you are saying. Either way, you are desperate and pathetic.

    For anyone who wants to understand exactly what Rob is saying, but can’t get past the terrible writing, the spittle and the fury: Rob is saying that the backlash isn’t about rape. No, the backlash isn’t fair because now all commerce students are rapists, and it is far more important that commerce students are allowed the freedom to say whatever they want – including the public, communal justification of under-age rape – because anyone who criticizes anything they say is a COMMUNIST.

    It is also fairly amusing to read this nitwit accusing people who don’t like rape (aka “liberals” I guess) of “group-think” ideology…when what occurred was a classic iteration of “group-think”. It’s not what people say or write that is classic “group-think” ideology, Rob. It’s what people do. Imagine you were one of the rioters in 2010 (probably not that hard. I imagine you are from Surrey or some other bastion of suburbia where furious men’s rights activists ply their greasy keyboards in their Mom’s basement den with the blinds covered by a patriotic flag. Or a towel.) Now imagine a suburban, male, twenty-something rioter, caught red-handed, tearfully addressing the media and saying “how dare you accuse me of rioting! I was only exercising my right to free demonstration! You’re just targeting male twenty-somethings and accusing us all of being rioters! Young men, rise up!”

    Only we don’t know if Rob was actually there, chanting Y-O-U-N-G. We can only use our imagination. Anyway, Rob, I sincerely hope you never have sex again. You don’t deserve to.

  5. Godfrey

    Sorry. Where I wrote,

    “Therefore, if anything, educated people who are aware of these facts”

    I meant to finish with “…are more educated. Not more liberal or left wing.”

  6. Gordon Katic

    Hi Rob (Julian Markowitz, right? I’ve played this game before),

    It does say something that you always use pseudonyms for your comments.

    I don’t really have time for paranoid screeds. “Those looking to axe frosh week, and enforce a no-fun, tofu, People’s University of the Pyonyang-type experience LOVE this incident.” What in the world are you talking about? And what “oh so nebulous ‘oppressive culture.’” Who are you quoting here? Who is being threatened with “certain blacklisting?” Who said “the chant is evil?” or part of an “evil culture?” How is my short (and rather optimistic blog post) part of “this crusade?” What crusade? You are all hyperbole.

    There is no feminist frenzy that will stimey your opinion, or the opinion of people like you. If you would like to make the argument that somehow there is no rape culture, or that FROSH is indeed a fun, productive, and healthy event for the campus community, I suggest you go ahead and you use your name, use your arguments, and you make that case in whatever venue you chose. Mens rights forum, I assume?

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