YOUNG VOICES

Oxford Student Heads Accused Of Mocking Anti-Rape Classes: 'Consent Is A Thing Now. Apparently'

10/10/2014 14:45 BST | Updated 14/11/2014 10:59 GMT
REX Features

Students at Oxford University have accused their peers of mocking the anti-rape courses designed to teach freshers about consent, saying they were left shocked and appalled.

According to the Oxford Student, a newsletter, sent to students at Christ Church college stated: "Consent is a thing now. Apparently it hasn’t always been (see Ancient Rome), but now it is.

"In a somewhat pleasant irony, you must attend, whether you consent to or not. But fear not, the atmosphere will be cordial and there will be delicious nibbles."

Kate Thomas, a student at Christ Church, criticised the letter, saying: "Women are raped in universities all the time. Not only this, but we are also sexually harassed, assaulted and this violence, perpetrated by men, is then made the subject of jokes and 'banter'."

Lucy McDonald, another Oxford student, told the Cherwell: "To imply that being forced to attend a sexual consent workshop (which is not happening anyway - the workshop at Christ Church is voluntary) is in anyway analogous to being raped is not 'ironic' or funny.

"The misogyny and general lad culture at Oxford is intimidating enough as it is, and now new students are being given the impression that their student body doesn't care at all about sexual violence. It's disgusting."

However Jordan Black, the student who wrote the newsletter - and also organised the workshops, said it was written and edited with a number of people, including rape survivors.

"I would like to make it absolutely clear that the joke in question was not intended to trivialise the issue, but rather to highlight just how overdue these workshops are."

Speaking to HuffPost UK, he added: "I fought very hard to bring these workshops to Christ Church and I am alarmed that my efforts to bring up consent as an issue have been twisted."