Mary wrote yesterday about rape culture in university residential colleges, and about her lack of surprise that students from St Paul’s college* at the University of Sydney had set up a facebook page, Define Statutory, that characterised itself as being “pro-rape, anti-consent”.
The PR machine is in full swing, with fervent denials being issued from colleges that it was an ‘official’ page in any way, that rape culture is a problem at university colleges, that they kick puppies, that they may have nicked a lolly once in kindy, and anything else that pops into their heads.
Today, politicians are getting in on the act. Pru Goward, Opposition** spokeswoman for women, who in the past has demonstrated that she huffs the patriarchy on a regular basis, has claimed that the whole page is just a metaphor for sports, and that rape jokes aren’t ok but really this was just about sport, not about raping actual women and girls. Goward characterised the actions as “foolish” and “insensitive”.
Others have latched onto the “It’s just sports!” justification as though it’s perfectly ok to use rape as a metaphor for dominating on the sports field, and as if “Define Statutory” is obviously all about football, not, y’know, raping girls. And because we also don’t have any issues at all with teams of footballers raping girls and women. Oh no. Never heard of anything like that happening. Rape culture is just as absent from sports as it is from all-male university colleges. But opinions, as they say, are like arseholes. Here’s legless123’s opinion:
but rape doesn’t always mean forced sex. It has other meanings especially within the gamers world and sport. To be raped on World Of Warcraft or HALO is to be beaten badly by the opposition. Same meaning in football and rugby. You might not like the fact that the term is being misused in this way, you may want the word only to be used as the literal dictionary definition but that’s tough luck. Language evolves and to be raped in a game is here to stay.
The SMH reports that some students have been angrily displaying their ignorance and misogyny on their own Facebook pages:
Listed in the ”status updates” on several St Paul’s students’ Facebook pages was the statement: ”Paul’s was raped by SMH”, the Herald understands. Those updates have also since been removed.
But the plot thickens. One poster on ontd_political, and this is unconfirmed, has claimed that the actual name of the college intramural soccer team is Define Statutory. Can any locals comment? And has anyone seen screenshots of the page?
Footnotes for non-Australians:
* “College” here refers not to an educational institution, but to residential dorms attached to a tertiary educational institution. They are sometimes, but not always, affiliated with a religion, and may be single-sex or co-ed. Colleges often have tutors, mini-libraries, active social calendars, and participate in intramural sports and activities with the other colleges, but they aren’t universities themselves as such.
** The Federal Opposition here is currently the “Liberal” party, who are the major conservative party and the closest thing we’ve got to USAn Republicans.
The blogosphere is hopping. Further reading:
Fuck Politeness: “Oh Fuckpoliteness, WHY are feminists ruining our fun?”
Huffington Post: “‘Define Statutory’: Elite Students Create Pro-Rape Facebook Page”
bras and ranties: rantie
foz meadows at shattersnipe: Bright College Days
In a strange land: “So where did the rape culture at St Paul’s come from?”
penguin unearthed: “Nurturing a misogynist culture”
how it feels to be fed: “facebook is dead to me.”
Feministing: “Australian students create “pro-rape” Facebook group”