Social media is a curse and a blessing. For several female students at Dalhousie University, however, it was a curse. They have become the victims of hateful misogynist comments in a contentious Facebook group with the name “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen”. The group consists of male members only. The 4th year dentistry students held a degrading survey, asking which girl they would like to have so called “hate-sex” with and also joked about drugging girls.
The University President feels it is important to deal with this problem forcefully and quickly. For now, 13 students are suspended until January 12th but many people are upset with this “soft” punishment. They want to see the guilty students expelled. The University, in contrast, wants to follow “a just process” and the victims agreed to provide restorative justice.
This incident is not an individual case. The topic “hate-sex” became more well-known with ex- CBC radio moderator Jian Ghomeshi who is accused of sexual assault. Bill Cosby as well made headlines with numerous allegations from women claiming he had non-consensual sex with them in the past by drugging them. A possible question is if “thanks” to these cases the incident at Dalhousie University gets more attention. As a society we thrive for gender equality, however it is sad to see that we are still far from it. Maybe the Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby incidents made us more aware and sensitive to sexual assault. Social media exposed us through sharing, posting and commenting. There has been an effective message sent out by demonstrating that the culprits have not remained unpunished. Perhaps a couple of years ago, one might have seen this as a university prank.
What happens next with the 13 dentistry students is not yet clear however decisions will be made in the next couple of days.
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