[OPINION] This war is ours


“Safety is an act of compromise.” That was my ending statement in the last debate tournament that I competed in. But after witnessing recent incidents of fraternity-related violence (FRV) brought upon by Upsilon Sigma Phi, I take my statement back. Safety is supposed to be a naturally given privilege. Instead, it turned into a cause we continuously fight for amidst the rash, oppressive, patriarchal society, made even more difficult by fraternities and entities amplifying such social cancers.

Perpetuation of violence and misogyny

Weeks after cases of frat wars around the area of UP Diliman were reported, the said fraternity flexed another display of toxic masculinity shown through the alleged leaked screenshots of their group chat conversation. Their words spoke of intense provocation against women and marginalized groups, promoting the culture of misogyny, Islamophobia and discrimination. (READ: More groups slam 'violent, misogynist' frat-linked chat)

Some argue that these are mere words and are not extended to actions, that these statements are only a mechanism for these immature frat boys to vent out hormonally-induced rants. But we often overlook the power in words; the subliminal intent hidden between words that enable a person to actually carry them out.

I have not experienced nor witnessed fraternity violence firsthand, but I have read volumes of stories resonating the violence being perpetuated in initiations led by organizations such as fraternities. Coupled with those stories, this alleged leaked conversation is enough to invoke fear while I walk alone along the roads of my university– an unnecessary fear yielded by these groups enjoying luxury in impunity.

Defeated purpose

What’s even more tragic is the larger entity that this ‘brotherhood’ is supposed to embody—the University of the Philippines itself. By name, it is their calling and duty to make their group a sign of youth movement towards societal change. Instead, they became perpetrators of toxic masculinity, misogyny, and enablers of violence against marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community and the Lumad.

The threatening frat wars and offensive remarks alleged to come from the fraternity warrant more than a sincere public apology. But the lonsi (Upsilon Sigma Phi members) even failed to deliver such simple compensation for what they have done. They are not troubled by the fact that their group is promoting a culture that the university is passionately fighting against – impunity, violence and misogyny.

Of impunity and silencing dissent

The more passionate you are for speaking out and standing for what is right, the more you place yourself in greater peril at the hands of the perpetrators.

The university is considered unsafe for people who choose to go against such oppressive social injustices borne out of practices conducted by frats. It is even more tragic how the admins of the university fail to protect the people who unleash dissent against entities disturbing the balance, peace and harmony that all of us should freely enjoy. The admin had shown little to no response with regards to this controversy until it alarmed the mainstream press. (READ: [OPINION | Dash of SAS] Campus violence and toxic rhetoric – where are the adults?)

Mobilize and push for our safety

Despite this display of patriarchal vehemence, we should not be scared of continuing the battle for a safe, non-discriminative society. If anything, this is the time for us to fiercely fight for what is right – for us to muster a collective, collaborative mob against these groups perpetuating and upholding ideologies that go against our fundamental philosophy for an equal society.

We can only achieve what we have envisioned if we choose to participate in movements to call out for the rightful punishment and removal of these fraternities. 

Remaining in a silent struggle can never hand the peace and balance that we have always dreamed to enjoy in our society. We should not hide away from the facade of dominance shown by these groups. Rather, we should continue the battle for justice and equality. (READ: From walkouts to dismantled banners, UP community protests frat-related violence)

This war should be ours. And it will be never won by a bunch of perpetrators and chauvinists. – Rappler.com

Carmela Isabelle P. Disilio, 18 years old, is a BS Development Communication student at UP Los Baños. She's constantly curious about the human condition and seeks to answer life's greatest questions. You can email her at cpdisilio@up.edu.ph or follow her on twitter.