Our response to the “What’s behind UBC student hijinks? Bad behaviour: immaturity or something more” article by Daphne Bramham published in the Vancouver Sun on October 24th 2013. We have submitted this response to the Vancouver Sun as well, but have received no communications from them.
UPDATE!!!! A version of this letter was published by The Vancouver Sun on November 13th!
Bramham treats UBC’s racist and rape-promoting frosh chants as perplexing phenomena, concluding that they may carry no “deeper meaning.” In her view, UBC in the year 2013 is such an enlightened and equitable place that ‘consciousness raising’ about race and gender” should be assumed unnecessary. Bramham attributes blatant misogyny and racism on campus to “immature, stupid” behaviour of the sort that can never be “completely root[ed] out” among youth. And if appalling student behaviour can be addressed, Bramham gives no indication as to how – but she does imply that the solution has little to do with “gender equity.”
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre has been serving survivors of sexual violence for three decades, and we find nothing puzzling about UBC’s frosh chants. We live in a society where 90% of rape survivors are women, and where Aboriginal women are 5 to 7 times more likely to die from male violence than non-Aboriginal women. If the frosh chants appear to condone sexist and colonial violence – it’s because they do. Misogyny and racism are deeply rooted in our society and on our campuses. WAVAW refuses to tolerate complacency; we call on UBC to stand publically against the systems and culture that perpetuate violence.
By: Alana Prochuk, C.A.R.E. About Gendered Violence Coordinator