Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the Opinion/Editorial section of the March 3 edition of The Collegian. It is a column of opinion.
One week ago, a young man called The Collegian office and asked to speak with a reporter about a hazing that had occurred in mid-January that he thought “students should know about.” He then shared with me the story of what I would classify as a heinous sexual victimization that I truly never could have imagined happening on SDSU’s campus.
As managing editor, I felt it was my responsibility to speak with the young man, who to protect his anonymity, I shall refer to as “Robert.” Robert shared with me a story that to this day I am unsure as to whether or not is factual. If this incident did happen, I feel a great responsibility to share his story with my readers. If it did not happen, and it was simply a lie, then I can only imagine that this is a very disturbed young man.
Robert called our office on Feb. 22 and in a trembling voice began to tell me the story of a hazing that had happened to him and about seven other male students.
“I saw a poster hanging on campus that was asking for ‘deeply religious young men to join a fraternity,'” said Robert, a sophomore. “So I called the number because I was interested in joining, and the girl that answered told me that they were going to do a kind of initiation, so I agreed.”
Robert said that the girl, who answered along with a few other girls, took him to what he thought was a “park” and then asked him and the other young men to strip down until they were completely naked.
“They told us that they wanted to ‘make sure we were cool’ even though we were religious,” said Robert. “It turned into a kind of peer pressure thing and so we just ended up going along with it.
“They told us that they wanted (him and the other young men) to have a snowball fight in the nude to make sure we were cool,” he said. “They thought it was hilarious when we were naked and doing this. It was really just embarrassing.”
He went on to say that the girls started taking pictures with their cell phones and sending them to more girls.
“More and more girls kept showing up just laughing at us and humiliating us,” he said. “They had put all of our clothes in one of the cars that we came in and said they wanted to ‘keep them safe’ but one girl drove away with all of our clothes.”
He said the girls later were throwing balls and laughing at the males while they were naked.
“This went on for a while, and then they asked us if we wanted to either ride home or walk (back to the residence halls),” he said. “They seemed to like the idea of us all having to walk home completely naked.
“So then they told us that if we wanted a ride we would have to ‘work for it,'” said Robert. “Meaning like holding up our penises for them to see and judge. Like on a scale of one to 10.”
He said that some of the males were given rides home after doing “less stuff” than others.
“I was one of the last ones there, and the girl who was kind of in charge of it asked the others ‘who wants to see him masturbate?” he said. “So of course they all raised their hands and started cheering.”
Robert said he then began to walk away but realized that he had no idea where he was or how to get back to the dorms.
“By then I didn’t even have a choice. I couldn’t just walk home in the dark completely naked.”
Robert said that he then began touching himself like the girls asked him to “hoping” that they would just stop and “let him go home.”
“It was humiliating, and at one point I actually began to cry from being so embarrassed,” he said. “Which they all then laughed and joked about. They thought it was hilarious that I was completely embarrassed to the point that I was crying while standing there naked masturbating.”
By this point in my conversation with Robert, his voice was beginning to crack and he started speaking more softly. It was at the point that I was straining to understand him.
“This went on for a little while, while they laughed and pointed,” he said. “They wanted me to show them everything. They seemed to be really enjoying it, which I just kept thinking was actually kind of sick.
“One girl then said to me, ‘I hope you didn’t think you were actually getting into a frat for this,'” he said. “So then I knew it was just a joke.”
As a journalist, I have become a bit of a pessimist. As an editor, I am a fairly good judge of character as far as knowing when someone just wants a free story in the paper and when something actually happened.
This young man’s voice was full of such sincerity that at one point I actually thought to myself ‘could this really have happened on my campus?’
I had asked Robert to come into the newsroom to speak with me the next morning and he never showed up. I can only assume that this was either because he was extremely embarrassed or because it was an extravagant lie.
Either way, I feel that my readers should be aware of what this student told me. If it really did happen, I strongly encourage the other young men to come forward so that I can further investigate and try to find out the names of the girls who committed this act of victimization.
If any of the students involved in this possible crime are reading this, I just want to say that you have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be embarrassed by. If this truly did happen, than it is appalling how cruel these girls were.
If this did not happen, and this young man just told an outrageous lie, then I can only begin to imagine the kind of deeply disturbed individual he must be.
The Collegian’s office is located in the basement of the Student Union and our office number is 688-6164 if anyone has any further information about this possible crime. The Collegian would also like to tell readers that SDSU’s Student Health and Counseling offers free counseling services for students who feel the need to speak with a professional.