“Euphoria” should have used Mckay’s story to bring awareness to victims of hazing


Photo contributed by Gabrielle Desroches

Gabrielle Desroches poses in a Euphoria themed shoot

Jessica Brouse

“Euphoria” is a HBO series starring Zendaya who plays a teenage girl struggling with addiction and the loss of her father. Season two of “Euphoria” just came out on Jan. 9, 2022 with new episodes every Sunday at 9:00 p.m.  The hit television show is well known for their aesthetic display of makeup, costumes and scenery. Euphoria is one of my favorite shows but it is definitely intended for mature audiences as it covers serious topics such as substance abuse and sexual assault throughout both seasons. 

In my opinion the substance abuse and sexual assault depicted in the show brings awareness to issues that are more common than some people may think. However, the writers of “Euphoria” could have raised more awareness by documenting what exactly happened to Chris McKay in season one episode six instead of leaving it up to the audience to infer what occurred. 

In the scene from episode six, Mckay is shown pledging a frat at his university by completing a series of alcohol drinking tasks at a party. When Mckay returns back to his dorm with his girlfriend, members of the fraternity break into his room and throw him on the ground. What exactly is done to Mckay is unclear to the viewer but it can be assumed that a form of assault occurred which left him extremely distraught.    

According to an article written by Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), “previous research reports that about 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime, however this number is underestimated due to underreporting…men are less likely to report their sexual assault compared to women.”

When most people think of hazing, they don’t imagine it to be as severe as it was in this scene. However, incidents of severe hazing have been documented on campuses around the United States. Colleges continue to struggle to prevent hazing after years of implementing multiple methods to urge students to report it.

An article written by Best College states that, “fraternities are increasingly becoming a place where hazing turns from a rite of passage to a deadly ritual. Since 2000, at least 50 college students have died from hazing, with the majority of those deaths related to alcohol.” 

It is a good thing that “Euphoria” is bringing awareness to the reality of sexual assault as a form of hazing. However, more could have been contributed to Mckays story line in order to bring awareness to the aftermath of this traumatic event. After this scene, Mckay’s assault was not brought again in season one or two of “Euphoria”. 

University of California Santa Cruz third year student, Alissa Fullerton enjoys watching Euphoria but is also concerned that there was nothing said after what had happened to McKay. 

“When I first saw this scene I did not know what to think about what happened. I knew it was a form of hazing …It also kind of showed how he dealt with issues in the past. I do still think it should have been addressed later in the show,” Fullerton said.

In my opinion, the McKay situation is a statement on its own. In reality, many men do not come forward or talk about being sexually assaulted. Although sexual assault awareness is targeted at women, is it also a problem amongst male demographics. I think this is a bigger topic that Euphoria writers could have raised awareness about. 

“At the end of the day what really happened to him was not okay. I think it is kind of disappointing with a situation such as, sexual assault happens. They overlooked it instead of addressing it. . .” Fullerton said.

In my opinion, “Euphoria” is by no means glamorizing sexual assault. These depictions have brought more awareness to issues of male sexual assault but more needs to be done. A higher level of awareness should have been raised through the development of Mckay’s story line.