Mind the effects of misogynistic words, actions in risque games

I applaud the tough action taken by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to crack down on inappropriate risque games on its campus ("NUS: Risque games completely inappropriate"; last Wednesday).

Such games tacitly condone sexism and misogyny at an impressionable age.

During orientation, young women are, at times, subjected to games where they play victims, and young men generally play the aggressors.

Sexist words used during this time may, at best, be careless or thoughtless, but are inappropriate in a university setting and can even cause mental stress to our vulnerable young women.

These misogynistic words and actions may, in time and without due attention, subtly enter our everyday parlance, become acceptable in general discourse and potentially lead to violence - whether verbal, mental or physical - against women.

It is not only the women who are victims. Less enthusiastic young men are also at times pushed into aggressive conduct with taunting words and abusive language.

Most of these young undergraduate men are just mimicking generations of seniors before them - never giving thought to their actions as anything beyond having some fun.

That is why it is important for tertiary institutions to fully reflect, honestly review and concretely revamp orientation activities.

There must be a stop to what has evolved over all these years - a form of overt, institutionalised bullying, acceptable over the course of a week or two before the start of the academic year.

I hope that future generations of women undergraduates are treated with the respect and civility that should be accorded to them after fighting so hard for a place at a venerable institution of higher learning.

Trina Liang-Lin (Ms)

President

Singapore Committee for UN Women

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Mind the effects of misogynistic words, actions in risque games'. Print Edition | Subscribe