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AIBU to thank that my nephews university womens society were wrong in..

(84 Posts)
Immycupoftea Sat 13-Oct-12 14:56:46

My nephew is a fresher at a University in Kent. In an introduction speech to a large hall of freshers the Womens Society officer proclaimed that "All men were potential rapists" AIBU in thinking this is not a point of view to express to 18 year olds. I realise we all have to be careful, but....
I must add this was not an employee of the uni, just a society officer.

Isn't it kind of the expectation of the Women's Society to be fairy extreme in their views? Are freshers sheep nowadays? It is a big part of being an undergraduate to be exposed to semi shocking "new" (to you not to oldies) ideas, absorb and debate them... Its a sad thing if 18 year old degree students need to be sheltered even from silly opinions these days, they are at uni (party) to use their brains and form opinions of their own...

If nobody said anything hopefully its because they were all too hung over grin

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 15:30:48

UltraBOF - it's not common knowledge that 'rape' is abuse with the penis ONLY.

personally I would class any sort of sexual abuse that involves insertion, as rape.

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 15:31:40

And I think whether or not that line was to spark debate, you're going to still get some girl walking away with that quote in her head who'll go on to take it as truth.

Immycupoftea Sat 13-Oct-12 15:33:49

Thank you Ghostship, I agree completly.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Sat 13-Oct-12 15:35:07

Well - assuming they have a functioning penis then yes all men do have the potential to forcibly penetrate a woman. The potential IS there, inherent in the male sex. Furthermore women are at far greater risk of attack from men they know than from strangers. So I don't think it's that controversial a view point for a Womens' Officer to express. What is she supposed to say? Some men have the potential to be rapists? How exactly would 'some' be defined? Abusive men don't come with a label. They look like all other men.

If your nephew was offended, I think that may have a positive outcome. He can reflect on his behaviour and make damn sure no woman ever has cause to say the potential converted to reality in his case.

Hmmmm I still don't think undergrads should need nannying or thought-policing and should be old enough to know not to take everything anyone ever tells them as 100% literal truth...

Also 18 year olds from sheltered homes living away for the first time who are naive enough to be shaken by that statement might be naive enough to trust the wrong person just because he is her age/ on her course/ has a nice face... shocking them into thinking twice might be a not altogether stupid aim...

Bluestocking Sat 13-Oct-12 15:42:20

I'd like a bit more context. Why was the Women's Society officer talking to a large hall of freshers? It can't have been a talk to all freshers, as annual intake is about 4000. Was the society officer giving a talk to encourage new students to join the Women's Society, or was it a talk about personal safety? What did the officer say after the proclamation about all men being potential rapists? Without knowing a bit more, I can't tell you whether this was wrong or not.

Bluestocking Sat 13-Oct-12 15:43:39

Right on, EnglishWoman. I am a bit fed up with eighteen year olds simultaneously expecting to be treated like adults, but then also babied and spoonfed when they feel like it.

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 15:47:12


It's silly to point it out though, and a really negative and insulting thing to say.

We all have potential to be murderers
We all have potential to be paedophiles

We all have 'potential' to become rape victims. < bet she didn't say that one.

Talyra Sat 13-Oct-12 15:48:47

Without hearing the rest of the speech, I'd reserve judgement. Could have been making this sort of point for example:

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 15:48:55

And englishwoman is right, BUT I'd be more concerned with what context they took that sentence in, and how they processed it. Did they realise it was suppose to shock? Or did they take it as gospel?

Talyra Sat 13-Oct-12 15:48:56

TeddyBare Sat 13-Oct-12 16:11:13

How did the speech continue? It's not a nice thing to say but I would guess it was said to highlight to the women that actually they aren't safe with a guy just because he is a student / someone they recognise. Most rapists attack women they know therefore I think it's better to say that than give the women lots of warnings about short skirts, spiked drinks and walking home alone. Perhaps it was also supposed to highlight the importance of actually getting positive consent from partners too? There is a fairly high chance that someone in the audience has / will rape someone so it might have been said in an attempt to tackle rape myths.

Is it maybe making the point that until you know someone better you should bear in mind that you don't know them
<clutching at straws>

WithoutCaution Sat 13-Oct-12 16:23:48

So even if a woman technically rapes a man or another women it isn't classed as rape? shock What is it classed as, assault? sexual harassment?

TeddyBare Sat 13-Oct-12 16:27:05

WithougCaution, there are actually a whole range of sexual criminal offences. Rape is the most well know word therefore it is often misused outside of it's legal definition. That doesn't mean that other situations aren't criminal, or are less severely punished, it just means they have a different name. It is a crime for a woman to force sex on a man or another woman, we just don't call that crime "rape" when it's in court.

WithoutCaution Sat 13-Oct-12 16:50:20

Ah, ok then blush Thanks TeddyBare

The Women's Society Officer is presumably just a student a year or 2 older than the ones she was talking to...

I don't see that students need a group of aunties/ mums policing what is suitable for their delicate little ears by a fellow student...

Oops I made no sense there, I meant what is said to them by a fellow student.

ZonkedOut Sat 13-Oct-12 17:16:24

I was thinking along the same lines as EnglishWoman. It's hard to tell without being there.

The point could be a shock way to say that you don't know which men could be rapists, which might cause the students to be more careful.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 13-Oct-12 17:23:31

When she talked about men abusing their power, I imagine she meant "men as a class". Given she was the University Women's Officer, it's unsurprising that she considers men as a class to have more power (privelige) than women as a class.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 13-Oct-12 17:24:55

Well what was the purpose of the speech? Did she go on to say 'so be careful out there, take responsibility for yourselves, don't be too trusting but here are the support facilities if you need them'? Or was she trying to provoke thought about the role of the women's soc?

Either way, an intelligent person ought to be able to understand the point being made, distinguish between that and hyperbole, ask questions, argue or dismiss exaggeration for what it is. I agree with the poster who asked what anyone incapable of critical listening is doing at university. Part of the point is to be exposed to new and extreme ideas.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 13-Oct-12 17:31:03

And assuming they're still going, just wait til the SWSS get going. Then he'll hear all about the diabolical actions of all sorts of groups of people defined 'as a class' (and learn to listen selectively).

mayorquimby Sat 13-Oct-12 17:51:09

"Why are women potential rapists? confused

You need a dick, at least in British law."

Well technically a woman could be guilty as an accessory or through the doctrine of innocent agency even though in reality it's not going to be the case, but they'd still be charged with the same crime as the primary culprit if they were an accessory.

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