Dutch fraternities brew sexism

The Dutch fraternity Vindicat in Groningen will no longer receive grants from the University of Groningen after numerous reports of dangerous hazing rituals.

Lara Bullens
Lara Bullens NewsMavens, Western Europe
Dutch fraternities brew sexism - NewsMavens
Amsterdam. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Funding was already retracted last year, and will not be reissued this year, as a result of two cases in which students were severely injured or hospitalized.

But beyond the violent hazing ceremonies, which often make it to the headlines, a dangerous and macho culture is brewing. Fraternities in the Netherlands have upheld a heavily sexist worldview, and still take part in "slut-shaming".

Many fraternities, such as Vindicat, keep “banga” lists. “Banga” is slang for “slut”.

These lists are circulated within the fraternities, and contain the photos, names, phone numbers, addresses and a rating of how good a female student is in bed.

Much like the Burn Book in the cult film Mean Girls, these lists are created without the consent or the knowledge of the women.

In August 2016, Dutch fraternities were almost granted national cultural heritage status as the tradition dates back to 200 years ago. Thankfully, that decision has been put on hold.

Details from the story:

  • The University of Groningen and Hanze University announced on Tuesday that the Vindicat fraternity would no longer receive grants for this upcoming academic year.
  • Each board member of Dutch fraternities is entitled to up to 440 euros a month.
  • Two Vindicat students are facing prosecution following an incident in December last year, in which a student developed a concussion.
  • The two students did not report this (it was the victim who filed a complaint) and are facing charges for assault.
  • In November last year, another Vindicat member was given 250 hours of community service after an initiation ceremony that caused a fellow student to suffer a severe head injury.
  • Hazing is the practice of putting ‘pledges’ or newcomers through a series of tests that serve as a rite of passage into the fraternity.
  • Students are sworn to secrecy about what happens during these ‘tests’.
  • Hazing ceremonies include not eating or washing for a given amount of time, acting as servants to older members, dressing up or being humiliated, and alcohol is heavily involved
  • In earlier years, hazing at Vindicat caused a student to die from drinking one liter of Jenever (Dutch gin).
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