An offensive chant during frosh week at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax went something 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."
Both male and female student orientation leaders are seen chanting this appalling song in a video posted on Instagram. This is a reminder that rape culture continues to prevail, infecting academic institutions, the minds of young people, and society at large. Their obvious desensitization to sexual violence is reason to believe these students perhaps don't fully understand the implications of their message. This is why the establishment of an anti-rape academic agenda should be mandatory throughout educational systems.
Watch the video below:
Executive director Irene Smith at the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre stated, "… none of them questioned prior to the activity the effect and message those words have."
We inhabit a culture that promotes the denigration of women's bodies, slut-shaming, the inferiority of women, and widespread desensitization toward the victims of sexual violence of all genders. Even though 80 student orientation leaders are mandated to undergo a sensitivity training at SMU, it isn't enough to combat the powerful external influences encouraging gender and sexual inequalities. These attitudes and cognitive processes are so embedded in our culture that ongoing, integrated education and activism will be most effective in gradually changing the minds of young people.
A gender equality and sexual violence prevention program specifically targeting men, taught by male educators would also be beneficial in empowering young men to consider their attitudes and actions towards women. While many are shocked with by the chant, which is actually years old, it's important to understand why this is happening in order to systematically prevent it.
Keith Hotchkiss, SMU's senior director of student services, told CTV Atlantic that "This is a disappointing, discouraging and, quite frankly, an offensive video and we're, I guess, taken aback."
Unfortunately, the likelihood of a sensitivity training solving an intricate social issue is low, and given the many instances of misogynistic behavior being ignored in schools, this is just another institutional attempt to sweep the incident under the rug.