More on St Paul’s College “Define Statutory” facebook page

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?”

the news with nipples: “Re-writing the pro-rape Facebook story” (and “Sydney Uni – best in Australia?“)

Jezebel: “Facebook Allows “Pro-Rape, Anti-Consent” Group To Stay On The Site For Months

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

abyss2hope: “Pro Rape Culture At University of Sydney And Those Who Oppose It

how it feels to be fed: “facebook is dead to me.”

Feministing: “Australian students create “pro-rape” Facebook group

Categories: education, gender & feminism, violence


5 replies

  1. Ok, so the gamer comment made me pretty much explode inside my head. Sure, rape may have other meanings (or, you know, is a metaphor, which is most definitely exactly the same thing as having multiple meanings and definitely is above any linguistic analysis), but I’m pretty sure that anti-consent doesn’t have specific meaning within gamer communities outside of sexual consent and I REALLY WANT TO HURL NOW.
    Also, this is awful enough that even my wow guild, who are generally pretty terribad at any kind of inclusiveness are talking about how incredibly unacceptable it is. Ok, I am going to go and vent somewhere.

  2. Yes, the gaming thing is so blase. Ugh. I play WOW and most often hear the term “ganking” meaning one player set upon by numerous others which I didn’t think much about until I read it was a conflation of “gang raping.” Its always in my mind that I will read it there from some random (communication being via text in the game) and it will ruin my enjoyment of the game.
    Small point: Pru Goward is MP/Oppn Minister in the NSW state parliament, not the Fed one.
    Sydney Uni is right on the outskirts of the inner city, an area people are likely to warn you about because of street crime etc, but seems to me you are at more danger of harrassment behind the sandstone walls than outside them ….
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Bluesfest =-.

  3. In cases like the one getting so much attention in California at the moment where highschool boys pack raped a girl and left her for dead, or when the little girl was raped and murdered by students and surfers in Newcastle twenty years ago, we hear about the boys’ underprivileged backgrounds. When it’s the activities of these University students or of professional footballers we hear that it happens because they’re so over-privileged. Time to ask why whatever their socioeconomic situation the commen element is to violently act out their tribalism on the bodies of women.
    I’ve been mulling over this a lot the last couple of days, because I was at the smallest of the UNSW colleges in the early 90’s, and I was one of the ones who let it define their whole life at the time. Hell, I met my partner there, as well as those who remain our core group of friends. But there are several memories, and questions, that are rising to the surface:
    – I remember that we always regarded the Sydney Uni colleges as being of a different, and suspect order: church run, private school filled, spoilt and, yes, a bit scary.
    – Our Head of College was a feminist (I remember once she got an invitation from the Catholic college addressed to “Dr & Mrs”, and she wrote back that she was delighted to see they were so supportive of same sex couples, but she and her spouse would not be attending), and I think I only appreciate now what a massive difference it made to our whole college culture. And yet –
    – I remember there being an “eternal vigilence” feeling about the need to keep pushing back at signs of rugger-bugger (yes, we used that term too) culture, and the need to keep stressing that bigoted behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated. So we knew we weren’t free of it in our place either.
    – The year I left those of us who had been there a while were worried by the seemingly greater influx of guys from rural boarding schools changing the dynamic. Which makes me think by the time these men get to Uni they’re already broken.
    – A couple of them took a set against me for no earthly reason I can discern, except that I generally used to object to any really sexist stuff they did (bear in mind that I was waaaay less bolshie then than I am now) and proceeded to tear me to shreads in the college yearbook. Which says an awful lot about this spoilt child complex we’re seeing so much of.
    Sorry for the long. I may be back when/if I construct some conclusions.

  4. Amanda, I’m curious about where you read that “ganking” is a shortened form of “gang raping”, because to me, a shortened form of “gang raping” would be “ganping”. Where does the k come from?
    I’ve always heard it as an alternative to yanking, borrowing or using (as in userpics on LJ), thieving, or, in gamer terms, killing or mugging.
    That said, the “anti-consent” thing does pretty much explicitly say what the group was ACTUALLY about, because that doesn’t really have any other meanings.

  5. My understanding is that while “gank” is used in MMPORGs as a shortening for “gang kill” (not “gang rape”), “gank” for “steal/nick/reproduce” predates it.

%d bloggers like this: