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Jokes About Rape Aren't Just Banter 'Lads'

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"And if the girl you've taken for a drink happens to belong to the '25%' group and won't 'spread for your head', think about this mathematical statistic: 85% of rape cases go unreported."

Guess where that line's from? I'll give you 3 options:

The dialogue from a low rent horror film?
The words of a convinced sex offender?
A lifestyle website run by university students?

If only it was one of the first two. Unfortunately the words come from an article on the 'UniLads' website and were recently removed after a deluge of tweets expressing disgust at the trivialisation of this most serious of crimes. UniLads has quickly become infamous and as more people read their site more and more comments like this are surfacing.

The creators of the website would like us to think that this is a one off, an oversight but it's actually part of a pattern from a site that views women solely as sex objects and slaves commonly referring to women as sluts and wenches and advising their readers how to get what they want from them.

This article wasn't a one off, it was the latest in a long line of grotesque misogyny dressed up as fun.

But there's nothing funny about the fact that we live in a society where women are blamed for the violence committed against them.

The rape conviction rate in the UK is, at 6%, one of the lowest in Europe and that's with less than 20% of rapes ever reported to the police.

A website referring to women as wenches and slags isn't simply the harmless "banter" the writers want us to believe. Just this week the head of the CPS in London has said that jurors preconceptions about women has a negative impact on rape conviction rates. Society fails to take rape seriously enough and we regularly see statistics suggesting that women who flirt, dress provocatively or drink are to blame if they are assaulted. Even those who are trying to help often buy into this blame culture, telling women to change their behaviour to avoid rape, but not reminding men that no means no.

"Violence against women is a serious and current issue on university campuses and it is intensely irresponsible to target their violent misogynistic attitudes at students. NUS' Hidden Marks report revealed that one in seven women students have been the victim of a serious physical or sexual assault and the website's writers should think about that before joking about rape again."

And Hidden marks discovered that the main perpetrators of sexual violence against women students are other students so telling male students they not only have the right to treat women like objects, or property, but holding it up as a norm, even an ideal, is not just stupid it's downright dangerous.

What is deeply concerning is that despite the now removed suggestion that their readers rape women unwilling to have sex with them because their victims are unlikely to report the case to the Police, it seems UniLad have not broken any laws. In that light, we'll be writing to Chief Constable Carmel Napier the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on violence against women to ask her why a website that advocates violent crimes against women is allowed to remain live.

NUS have made our views about the site clear but I'd like to ask the people who run UniLads to respond publicly and explain their editorial policy, their attitude towards women students and exactly why they only realised they should take something advocating rape off their site after a deluge of complaints.

Oh and 'lads', having seen your previous responses, I should make clear, further misogyny, homophobia and brushing it off as a joke will not be an acceptable answer.

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