Menu
Share
Share this story
Close X
 
Switch to Desktop Site

What Facebook’s pro-rape group says about our culture of sexual assault

It should not come as a shock that university students in Australia thought they could get away with creating a Facebook group that explicitly condoned rape. After all, they live in a culture that implicitly does the very same thing.

About these ads

What people reveal on Facebook says a lot about them. It also says a lot about our culture. 

When news broke this fall that male students at the University of Sydney had created a “pro-rape” Facebook group, it broke the silence around the culture of sexual assault and rape that for years has been allowed to fester on that campus and at many other Australian universities. The group has been removed from Facebook, and the controversy around it has subsided. But the culture that condones all kinds of sexual misconduct against women continues to thrive on college campuses across the Western world. 

I wish I could say that the news from Sydney surprised me, but it didn’t. Sydney is my hometown, and I know several young men who joined exclusive residential colleges like St. Paul’s, a stately cluster of buildings separated from the rest of the University of Sydney campus by high walls and green lawns.

These men had graduated from Sydney’s best and most expensive private boys’ high schools. In my interactions with them – I confess I dated one or two – I was appalled by what I saw: a culture in which sexism, racism, and homophobia were rampant, and where class privilege and an almost laughable sense of male superiority combined to make women like me feel deeply uncomfortable. 

On their own, most of these young men were lovely. When they got together, something truly awful was created.

En masse, the way these young men talked about women, about women’s bodies, and about sex could have been lifted from Tom Wolfe’s highly unflattering depiction of fraternity brothers in “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” On one occasion, one of my boyfriend’s friends, drunk on the booze he had smuggled into a school dance, saw fit to explain to my boyfriend, in explicit detail, exactly what he liked about my breasts – as I sat opposite him, speechless with disbelief and discomfort.

Next

Page:   1   |   2   |   3


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

Loading...