The Dal ‘gentlemen’ aren’t the victims

*This article contains mentions of rape and violent imagery.

Bang until stress is relieved or (girl is) unconscious. Someone punish her with their shaft.

Lina up against the wall, we’re going to have a Heineken. If her pussy can’t hold it, her Heineken.

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.

Graphic shows comments that were written on the Dalhousie “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen” Facebook page. (Courtesy of Susana Gomez-Baez/The Ryersonian)

Graphic shows comments that were written on the Dalhousie “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen” Facebook page. (Courtesy of Susana Gomez-Baez/The Ryersonian)

These phrases aren’t academic essays, but they were written by university students. Canadian universities are becoming synonymous with rape culture. Rape culture is the normalization of sexual assault and violence in everyday society, like casual ‘jokes’ about drugging and raping women. Within the past two years, Canadian university students have been found violently—and enthusiastically—chanting, polling and posting hateful comments against women. Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, McMaster University in Hamilton, University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University in Halifax have had the most talked about examples of rape culture in which female students are, unfailingly, always the targets.

And yet, there are Canadians who still believe that male students in these incidents are suffering public humiliation for a “victimless thought crime.” On Jan. 21, The Ryersonian published an opinion arguing in favour of the Dalhousie dentistry students’ privacy. The author argued while the male students’ actions on Facebook were morally questionable, the public should stop demanding that their names become known—after all, it would hurt their promising careers. The posts about female students weren’t illegal, albeit “offensive”—so we should “back off.”

As a Ryerson student, I’m saddened that a writer at our campus newspaper has deflected attention away from where it should be. The dentistry students’ posts shouldn’t be labelled offensive. Doing so simplifies rape culture.

The word offensive is defined as causing someone to feel deeply hurt, upset or angry. I am a female-identifying student and my male counterparts do not offend me: I am repulsed. I have been moved to tears—vomit, even, when sifting through the racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments that have been created by male students with a specific target in mind: women.

If society is going to fight for men’s rights to an untarnished career in dentistry, then women also deserve to thrive and learn in a safe environment without fear of being sexually assaulted.

These secret chants, frosh week anthems and the Facebook posts mentioned in the beginning of this piece are not just words. They are the product of a deeply ingrained mentality that women need to be sexually available to men wherever and whenever men want.

But not every victim of sexual assault comes forward with their stories. Arguing in favour of the Dalhousie gentlemens’ privacy is just one way our society is shaming women from voicing their feelings about traumatic experiences. We are consistently told that a man, or in this case, his career, is more important than our trauma.

These secret chants, frosh week anthems and the Facebook posts mentioned in the beginning of this piece are not just words. They are the product of a deeply ingrained mentality that women need to be sexually available to men wherever and whenever men want. These women include underage females, teaching assistants and university students. This is a fraction of rape culture.

Such a rape culture may exist at our own university. Earlier this month in a video, a prominent anti-feminist Youtuber, Sandman MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), claimed to be a former Ryerson student.

“Women are made out to be harmless, beautiful creatures. But the truth is, women today will rip out your heart and your testicles,” Sandman claims in his introductory video.

This is a person who I may have sat next to in class or who passed my friends on Gould Street—someone who may have used us as inspiration for his videos about women.

I fear that this mentality against female students is not uncommon. I will not back off.

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