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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.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 13-Oct-12 17:57:14

All men are potential rapists comes from Reclaim the Streets doesn't it? So it is in the context of women being told they must take precautions, such as not going out alone at night, rather than men (the group from whom rapists come) being told they should be the ones staying in.

Impossible to get my knickers in a twist about it with all context removed...

lottiegarbanzo Sat 13-Oct-12 18:03:56

So essentially, YABU to think ANYTHING is 'not a point of view to express to 18 year olds' (i.e. young adults), especially when those 18 year olds are university students. All speakers, including lecturers but especially other students, are free to speak as provocatively a they like, within legal limits, and should always be listened to with an open but critical mind. Your nephew will get used to it.

flow4 Sat 13-Oct-12 21:08:59

This is a real old chestnut. Every Women's Society at every university in every year since 1978 has made a speech that includes the statement "All men are potential rapists".

It is a phrase first coined in Marilyn French's feminist classic novel "The Women's Room", by the mother of a young woman who has been raped. (Though I doubt most students these days realise that!)

It's a piece of polemic - a rhetorical claim - just like "Meat is Murder" and "The only good Tory is a dead Tory" and "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". grin

Like other rhetoric, it contains some truth, yet is not entirely true. People who say it generally mean to highlight some facts: that rape is an abuse of power in sexual relationships; that rape is more widespread than people think; that almost all rape is perpetuated by men; and that 80% of raped women know their rapists, so it's unlikely that you can tell which men are dangerous and which are safe.

Also like other rhetoric, it's intended to grab an audience's attention. Some listeners will be outraged, some will be hooked, some will think it's ridiculous... In a world where 18 year olds will all (almost without exception) have been exposed to images and descriptions of graphic violence, heads exploding, war, casual images of death, political scheming, global exploitation, sex scenes, and indeed probably scenes of rape, it seems a little odd to want to protect them from ideas - especially ones as obviously simplistic as this one...

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 13-Oct-12 22:19:42

Great post flow.

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 22:38:09

Thanks for that post flow!

I do still think though that some people make take it literally. I'm 21 and have 18 year old 'aquaintences' who I can imagine now saying 'a woman told us that all men are potential rapists and that'

flow4 Sat 13-Oct-12 22:43:18

Thanks, Doctrine and Ghost smile
I'm sure you're right that some people will take it literally, Ghost. There are people who are certain that the Apollo moon landing was faked, too! wink grin

flow4 Sat 13-Oct-12 22:55:12

Sorry Ghost, that sounded dismissive, and I don't mean to be. blush In my opinion, bits of polemic like this are interesting and sometimes even useful, because they catch the attention of people who would otherwise be apathetic and not bother to form an opinion at all. So the acquaintances you have who might say "Women think all men are potential rapists!" are likely to be those who would not otherwise have even considered the subject of rape, let alone reflected on their own sexual behaviour...

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 22:55:43

But the flag waves and there's shadows shock

WorriedBetty Sat 13-Oct-12 22:57:12

Typical woman's officer, in my recollection! Bet she kicks men in the shins if they smile at her grin

WorriedBetty Sat 13-Oct-12 22:59:18

Al-so.. maybe its because of wine but I can't help thinking of a men's officer standing up and saying 'just remember guys, every girl you go to bed with could put a finger in your bottom whilst you sleep... just saying..' grin..

GhostShip Sat 13-Oct-12 23:01:29

Worra I think some men might get excited at that thought... Some I know anyway!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 13-Oct-12 23:35:38

lovebunny : "thinking of how a man would sound saying 'all women are potentially up for it, so watch out, they might take you by force'. "

COMPLETELY different. If you think about it for a minute, maybe two, you will realise the difference. I hope!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 13-Oct-12 23:38:04

I love Flow4. Completely. Undeniably. Utterly.


Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 13-Oct-12 23:43:41

Knew I should have read the whole thread first - grin at WorriedBetty!!!

WorriedBetty Sun 14-Oct-12 00:23:00

Just out of interest, do you think a University Lecturer should be fired if he was viewing pornographic videos on a University computer, in view of students, for two and a half hours?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 14-Oct-12 00:29:52

Worried wouldn't he have been in breach of the university IT use rules, along with his other misdemeanours? That would be a firing offence at my work whether anyone else observed or not.

WorriedBetty Sun 14-Oct-12 00:44:09

Well this is a case at the University of Warwick - a lecturer, in engineering I think, was watching porn for two and a half hours, and was watched doing so by students, and he wasn't fired.

flow4 Sun 14-Oct-12 00:54:03

Awwww shucks, Alliwantis blush grin

Pictureperfect Sun 14-Oct-12 01:01:23

Maybe it went onto be a good lecture, there was a campaign a little while back saying you walk into a brothel a man and might walk out a rapist as you don't know if the prostitute is there willingly or by force.

Bluestocking Sun 14-Oct-12 10:53:49

Fab post, flow4!
"WorriedBetty*, if this really happened, and you know who the lecturer is and the date and time on which it happened, you should report it to the Head of IT at Warwick, who is easy enough to find on Warwick's web pages. PM me if you can't find him and I'll send you his email address. This is something universities take very, very seriously.

grovel Sun 14-Oct-12 15:52:26

This happened at my DS's university when he was a fresher a couple of years ago. The Womens Society officer went on to talk about sexual harrassment.
A boy asked for guidance as to when a man could use a spontaneous show of affection on a date (take a girl's hand, put his arm round her shoulders) without the risk being accused of sexual harrassment. The officer said that this should never happen without the girl consenting first. Most of the female students took exception to this and a huge row erupted (the male students just observed).
Not easy - but on reflection but I'm glad the debate took place and got the students (of both sexes) thinking. So I'm with flow4.

PumpkinPositive Sun 14-Oct-12 16:10:33

Under Scots Law, I believe, a woman who is an accessory to rape would be charged with rape. (Re English Law, wasn't Rose West charged with rape back in the day?)

WorriedBetty Sun 14-Oct-12 17:08:28

Oh the University were very well aware of it. It was witnessed by students, including him returning from a coffee break and continuing to look. His excuse was that it was an accident.

grovel Sun 14-Oct-12 18:17:06

WorriedBetty, where was he watching the porn? In a lecture theatre?

WorriedBetty Sun 14-Oct-12 18:43:50

I don't think so, I think it was in an open study area because his excuse was that he found the porn in the internet history accidentally... but then watched it for 2 and a half hours hmm

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