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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.

limitedperiodonly Mon 15-Oct-12 09:51:12

As others have said, the operative word is 'potential'. I think 18 year olds can handle a bit of debate. It's how attitudes change.

enimmead Mon 15-Oct-12 09:50:54

One problem is the word "rapist" - to some men, I should think it conjures up the image of a stranger in an alley, not that nice guy who you go to bed with but you have not consented to have sex with. Yet that is what a rapist is. Anyone who has sex with you without your consent. I don't think even that definition is well known amongst teenage girls.

WorriedBetty Mon 15-Oct-12 09:44:33

You can view all men as potential rapists, if you want to spend your whole life paranoid and want to unlearn trust. In the same way you could go around believing 'every <perjorative word for black person> is a potential thief'.

I think she was wrong to state this frankly out of date piece of fear-mongering crap from her speech - but then perhaps she was trying only to appeal to that type of feminist?

Latara Mon 15-Oct-12 07:25:25

Agree with Kritiq - it's wrong to make a 'blanket' statement; there could have been some better way of putting the message across... but the truth is that most rapes & sexual assaults are committed upon women by men we know in some capacity; often when alcohol is involved.
University is definitely a high risk environment for sexual assault.

& Rape, attempted rape or sexual assault by a man known to you is the ultimate betrayal; it does make it hard to trust any man.

KRITIQ Mon 15-Oct-12 01:26:10

Obviously I didn't hear the presentation, but have heard and read many similar ones. Unfortunately, many folks seem to "mishear" or at least misunderstand what the speaker is saying.

Basically, the point is that any man could be a rapist. Rapists don't have horns and tails, nor do they carry placards that say, "I'm a rapist." They look and often behave pretty much like any other guy, until they start to assault you.

Many young women (and men) going to university, probably living away from home for the first time, will be getting to grips with a lot of new experiences, probably very excited about being at uni and all the "freedoms" that come with it. Many will feel invincible.

Many may have been fairly sheltered. Many will believe that rape is something that involves a violent, deranged, monstrous man attacking a woman by surprise using a weapon and superior force, most likely in a dark, secluded place. They won't necessarily be thinking it's something that can happen when you've had a couple of drinks, or someone's slipped you drugs. They might not think that pushing someone's boundaries when making out, ignoring when they say they don't want to go further, thinking they can be "convinced" is rape.

The blokes may not believe they are capable of rape (even if they have sex with a someone too drunk to consent, or push someone to do what they don't want in the belief they'll like it.) Women (and men) may not believe all those nice guys sitting around them could be rapists.

So, the speaker just gave everyone the heads up - to the men to think about what they do and whether they have the enthusiastic consent of the other person before proceeding and to the women, not to be lulled into a false sense of security because they're with a "naice" guy.

Surely, informing young women (and men) of the risks of sexual assault is more important than avoiding some men getting huffy at the suggestion that they or someone like them just might be capable of sexual assault. People recover easily from getting noses out of joint. They don't recover easily from rape.

And for those who think this isn't a big issue, have a peek at this article about the culture of sexism at universities and how many social activities are set up so that women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.

I think others have covered this, but as the law currently stands in the UK - one must have a penis to carry out a rape, so only men can rape. Either men or women can be convicted of sexual assault, however.

Dominodonkey Mon 15-Oct-12 00:42:25

Women's officers are very out of date now apart from at rabid left wing places. Any sensible uni now has an equality officer but yabu. The point of uni is to hear controversial and varying opinions and if people are do stupid they take it as literal fact they probably shouldnt be in HE at all.

flow4 Mon 15-Oct-12 00:10:22

Watching porn at work would be considered gross misconduct by my employer, and probably also misuse of electronic equipment. Depending on where he was watching and in front of whom, it would very likely also constitute sexual harassment - i.e. if he was doing it where anyone would be made to feel uncomfortable. It does sound like the lecturer was disciplined, but they stopped short of firing him. He may have a big black mark on his record because of this - but because disciplinary action is confidential, no-one would know.

allthefun Sun 14-Oct-12 21:07:38

Just plain wrong.

All men are potential rapists is like saying "all dogs are capable of turning nasty" or "a mothers love is the strongest love of all".
Lots of men,dogs and mothers are not that way inclined at all.

grovel Sun 14-Oct-12 20:57:24

They must have got very lax contracts/procedures.

He's an adult. Porn is not illegal. Presumably he was not supposed to be teaching at the time?

The problem then is inappropriate behaviour - hard to nail.


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

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

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

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.

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?)

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.

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.

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.

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

Awwww shucks, Alliwantis blush grin

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.

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 00:23:00

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?

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

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

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

I love Flow4. Completely. Undeniably. Utterly.


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!

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

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

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..

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