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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Women are people, too

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

UCSD fraternity accused of misogyny

Last week, a member of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity requested a picture of “rush boobs” from his undergraduate female friend.

“Lol funny story,” the fraternity member said in a Facebook message to second-year UCSD student Rachel Friedman on Oct. 15. “So I’m in a frat now and we have to get ‘rush boobs’ if you or any of your friends can help me out I would really appreciate it. I don’t need faces I just need topless pics with ‘Rush SAE’ written on their chests.”

Friedman posted a screenshot of the exchange on Facebook sporting the caption, “it’s time people take their heads out of their asses and respect others.”

Concept: women are people.

Even with roughly 50 percent of the world’s population being female, there are still many mindless individuals who seem incapable of remembering that women — people — deserve to be treated with respect.

The UCSD SAE chapter later posted on Facebook that “those responsible within [their] chapter are being dealt with accordingly.” This statement, along with the fraternity claiming to have had no involvement in the occurrence, does not mean that they should get off scot-free. When choosing its members, a Greek organization is identifying who it believes will best represent the group, and UCSD’s SAE is no exception to this standard.

The constant avoidances of blame, and pathetic excuses along the lines of “they didn’t know better,” need to stop. Responsibility must be taken, and a system that helps to shift those ignorant, excuse-filled mentalities into informed, well-educated attitudes must be put in place.

Whether that eventually takes the form of anti-oppressive trainings incorporated in our educational system or a further push by universities to support the use women’s resource centers is up to each school’s discretion. However, the first and most important step is for all community members to see those around them as fellow human beings — as opposed to a skin color, a religion, a sexual preference or a body part.

By no means is this an attack on Greek life, members of fraternities or men in general. The unfortunate fact is that the degradation and objectification of women is everywhere — even on the seemingly forward-thinking settings of prestigious public universities, like UCSD.

The idea of someone typing out and sending the sentence “I don’t need faces I just need topless pics” to a woman clearly indicates that sexually objectifying females is still a relevant topic of discussion.

The Editorial Board warns the community that, although this occurrence may seem harmless to some, incidents like these promote the derogatory mindset that pairs with more serious matters such as sexual assault and domestic violence.

The situation at UCSD was all too familiar for Friedman, who had been a victim of sexual assault in the past. She is not alone when it comes to grappling this topic.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, women between the ages of 18 to 24 are the most commonly abused by an intimate partner. This violence starts with the objectification of women.

On Oct. 18, the UC Davis Police Department issued a crime alert addressing a case of sexual battery that had happened earlier that day. The male offender and female victim had dinner together, and upon walking back to campus, the female was assaulted by her companion.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. With sexual assault a very sensitive topic for many, it is important to keep in mind how seemingly small and harmless events, such as UCSD’s recent episode, can negatively affect the community. These events perpetuate sexual exploitation and serve as stepping stones that lead to bigger and more solemn themes.

This October and beyond, the Editorial Board urges UC Davis students to remember that we are all respectful members of the community — so let’s start acting like it.

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