The discussion in class of the culture at Western made me think of how we stuck to describing only positive or neutral aspects of our reputation or culture– the silly things like the Uggs and Goose jackets and so on or the fact that we wear purple and have school spirit. Although I was disappointed that no one mentioned the new culture of caring that has developed at Western through popular online forums like Umentioned Western on Facebook. Which has a lot to do with health promotion because of the fact that Western students are turning to each other as strangers in the same community for social support with mental health issues. Which brings me to the fact that we didn’t discuss any of the negative parts of the Western culture…not really. I mean, it was mentioned about the “party school” reputation, which is somewhat true I find. Western does have a very strong drinking culture, no matter what the administration seems to try and do in terms of health promotion strategies to reduce binge drinking. And it made me think of how that drinking culture has a darker side that relates to sexual assault on campus. On Umentioned Western, a lot of rape survivors have been coming out with their stories lately and discussing the depression and fear that followed. Some spoke of social victimization after the fact, which is horrendous, but I am not entirely surprised because there is a subculture of very mean, catty people at Western within the friendly outer culture. We definitely have a prominent rape culture on campus, as I have been noticed, as I examine this fact for HS 4292 with Dr. Orchard. We’re not the only school but since we have such a strong party culture and the culture of “biddies and bros” and a thriving Greek scene (frats and sororities), which is unlike many other Canadian schools, it is much worse. And not enough is being done to counteract this culture. Sure, in terms of health promotion they offer counselling for rape survivors and all-women self-defence classes but I want to go to a school where that isn’t necessary because we’ve come up with the proper programs that teach people not to rape or to objectify/dehumanize women in the first place.
February 5, 2013