Our raunchy campuses
Sexist practices and sexual harassment on university and college campuses are getting more audacious and rampant. During an overnight welcoming ceremony for freshmen at a university in Seoul, rooms for female attendants were labeled with raunchy names like “The Making Love Room.”
Female students were forced to dance in sexy ways, and sexist games were organized that generated discomfort, embarrassment and a feeling of insult among the female attendants.
Most cases of sexual harassment and abuse on campuses in the past were associated with the unequal power relationship between students and faculty.
But the welcoming ceremony incident suggests sexual harassment among students on campus may be a serious problem, too.
The welcoming ceremony was organized not by a certain department but by the university itself. It should have involved a lot of people organizing the event.
We have to question the overall intelligence and attitude of university students if they thought it was harmless to offend women with raunchy words and games, even if no assault was committed. Sexist jokes, comments, innuendo, and advances are said to have become a part of university culture.
The games and even the names on the menus of food and drinks at university campus festivals and parties are overtly sexual.
Physical contact and verbal abuse is prevalent and widely condoned. Dirty jokes and slurs are considered humorous, and anyone who responds angrily against them is regarded as being someone without a normal sense of humor.
Women mostly have to laugh at the raunchy escapades to avoid being labeled as stiff. Such a sexist attitude and culture is one of the factors behind the rise in rapes on campuses.
Universities are required to offer sexual education to students. But that seems of little help. Punishments for sexual harassment are too light on campuses, and universities tend to cover serious cases up instead of raising awareness and clamping down on those practices.
Sex without respect for the other party can be physically and psychologically damaging to the victim. Students must be taught decency and manners about their sexual behavior.
JoongAng Ilbo, March 14, Page 30