UW fraternity ‘breaks the silence’ on sexual assualt, rape culture

The Sigma Chi fraternity at the University of Waterloo recently released a video outlining their desire to break the silence surrounding sexual assault and rape culture within fraternities.

The video, entitled “Break the Silence PSA” features members of the fraternity discussing the prevalence of rape culture and sexual assault in not only our society, but also the community. They continue to say that in order to change the discussion surrounding these issues, they must “change themselves.”

Third-year UW student and member of Sigma Chi Artem Litchmanov said the video has been in the works for some time, as they began discussions on this initiative in the summer.

“We basically started discussing this in our chapter more actively [in the summer],” he said, adding that after seeing a similar video released by the United States government they decided to make their own.

“That kind of sparked the idea to start our own campaign in our community to speak out about this issue and to start the conversation within our chapter and hopefully within Sigma Chi internationally in America and Canada.”

Litchmanov continued to say there have been studies that show sexual assault and rape culture are prevalent in fraternities, which is why they believe the culture needs to be changed.

“It’s really not a secret or anything that this stuff does happen on colleges and at college parties a lot. Sexual harassment happens, not necessarily to the extent of rape, but even to the extent of sexual harassment in the way males treat women at parties,” he said. “So the goal of this is to shift our culture in our fraternity — that would mean changing the way we talk, about the jokes we make as well as about the actions we take at parties and holding every brother accountable for these actions.”

This, he explained, will encourage other organizations, especially male-oriented ones, to change their culture as well.

The video was just the first step in their campaign to start discussions surrounding sexual assault and rape culture. Litchmanov said the fraternity hopes to branch out these discussions to other universities and organizations to make change locally before hoping to make change on a broader scale.

“It’s not a problem only one gender has to face,” he said. “It is really unfortunate and as a male organization we want other male organizations to realize it is not a female issue.”

“It is on us to work as a group to stop this. It’s not a gender issue, it’s a society issue and we are as equal part of society as women are and it is our responsibility to stop these issues from happening as well.”

3 Comments

  1. Great video guys! The first step is creating the open dialogue and you guys are doing it!

  2. fantastic good job UW Sigma Chi!

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