Posts Tagged ‘unilad’

  1. Let’s talk about RAPE

    February 3, 2012 by Anon

    This is the second part of a two part instalment following the ‘unilad’ pro-rape post earlier this week. Content could be considered triggering. 

    Photo from Slutwalk

    I am a healthy, happy, relatively straightforward twenty something woman living in London. I have an awesome job and awesome friends. I make filthy jokes and talk about my tits and cook steak and get laid and have a respectable fear of my Visa bill and run everywhere because I’m always running late. I’m a proud, porn watching, sometimes smoking, usually drinking, constantly swearing, good-frock-push-up-bra-and-matching-french-knicker-wearing highlighted lipsticked feminist.

    You’re probably a lot like me. Or I’m probably a lot like your sister or your daughter or a mate or someone you went to uni with. Chances are I have something in common with someone in your life.

    I hope it’s not this. I got raped by my boyfriend when I was 17.

    It’s not something I tell many people – it only comes out at the drunkest, darkest, intimate and emo moments. And I get teary and feel bad that I’m teary because I wasn’t attacked by a stranger who jumped out of a bush. I never formally reported anything to anyone. And I stayed with that boyfriend until I was 21.

    For the sake of clarity, here’s how it happened. We were staying with his grandparents, two sweet, kind, generous conservative people who I am genuinely sad to have lost touch with. We’d been there for a few days (I think it was the Easter holidays) and he was complaining nearly constantly about having blue balls, how desperate he was to fuck me et cetera. When you’re both adolescents this is to be expected – you learn to filter it out like white noise. I was against the idea – even though he was a two minute man, any periods of quiet or creaking furniture would have the grandparents rushing in to see what was going on. Also, they had given us separate rooms and sexing in their house would be bad manners.

    We were playing Scrabble. I had suggested, by way of a compromise, Sexy Scrabble. “We can spell things out and then…do them next time we’re in an empty house!” I said enthusiastically. Sexy Scrabble was dually frustrating. The boyfriend was suggesting that his penis might burst forth from his pants like a fleshy sea monster, and I was struggling to make normal words out of K, Q, W, R, R, T and L – never mind erotic ones.

    Here’s what I remember next. Him, behind me, pulling my jeans down, me saying “I really don’t think this is a good idea.” Then “I don’t want to do this.” Then “Stop it.” Then silence.

    Because if I screamed or struggled his grandparents would rush in, and that might be awkward. They might tell his parents and that would be really bloody awkward.

    I remember feeling sad, not angry, and hoping he’d come soon and stop. And then feeling sticky and cold and uncomfortable, and pretending to his grandparents that I was quiet and uncommunicative because I had an upset stomach. And they were adorable, fussing over me and offering herbal tea and Gaviscon and ginger biscuits as their grandson glowered in the corner because of the quiet conversation we’d had earlier.

    “You just…well, I told you to stop and you didn’t stop and there’s a word for that.” I blinked very hard.

    “Why are YOU crying? You’ve just called me a rapist.”

    I’m not sure why I didn’t break up with him then. I wish I had. I think I was scared of admitting what had happened to anyone – especially myself. I couldn’t reconfigure my thinking to see myself as some victim of abuse. I just didn’t fit the profile.

    A couple of days ago, I watched with slack jawed astonishment as links to a misogynist website appeared all over Twitter. (The people posting the links were as horrified as I was, no-one was suggesting it was the work of a reasonable human being.) The website made a joke about 85 per cent of rape cases going unreported, suggesting readers might as well have sex with someone without their consent because it would probably be fine. It then removed this joke, making an anaemic, mealy mouthed apology about it. The writers shut the site down (temporarily) last night.

    The rape joke was bad. But I can read something like that and deal with it. It’s not as if I’m getting traumatised by horrible flashbacks whenever it’s referenced. It’s pretty grim, and I’m not proud of it, but me and my similarly left leaning feminist friend collective often refer to pricey things as “pocket rape”, bad kissers as “mouth rapists” and have announced that we’d happily “rape that cake” when outside the Patisserie Valerie window. Yeah, I know. We’re working on it, and digging each other sharply in the ribs when we catch ourselves doing it. One shouldn’t use abuse to abuse language.

    But the weirdly polarised response freaked me out. Nearly everyone I follow felt it was utterly disgusting and reprehensible and said as much. The supporters and readers of the site started asking critics about their sexuality, implying that they needed a cock up their arse where the stick was, urging complainants to “look the other way” and “everyone who doesn’t agree that rape is pure banter is a frigid fun sponge!” (I may be paraphrasing the last one.) It was as if Blackadder’s Prince Regent was inhabited by Chuck Traynor and had a Broadband connection.

    Like everyone else, I grabbed my digital pitchfork and ran with the angry mob, far, far away from the point. 85 per cent of rape cases go unreported! Hold on, is this not what we should be talking about?

    And hearbreakingly I surmised that if I have good friends who don’t know I’m in the 85 per cent, then it must have happened to some of my friends too. And because they also weren’t attacked by a stranger from the depths of a bush, they filed their experience away under “I’m not quite sure what to do with that” and left it there. And not to go all Andrea Dworkin, but if we all know someone who has experienced rape (even if we don’t know about it), then we might well know a rapist too.

    Rape is undeniably horrific, and serious. But maybe if we were a little less serious about it, we’d talk about it more. We could start to figure out who the 85 per cent are – and what is motivating the criminals who are driving those stats. It would be a pretty dark game of Word Association Football where ‘rape’ came up, but if it did the word that would probably follow it is ‘victim’. Even ‘survivor’ sounds a bit grim – “yes, I got raped and now I dress like I’ve been in a nuclear apocalypse and my eyes have a hint of zombie about them – but I SURVIVED!”

    I wish I could eradicate all rape forever, but I think that the best way to start doing that is to normalise it as an experience. Of course we must be sad and upset and angry – but as well as wailing and gnashing our teeth and fetishising it in a Catherine Cookson way, we need to address it as something that happens to smart, funny women like us and everyone we know. Rape doesn’t just happen as a result of poverty or neglect or vulnerability or all the other human tragedies that we may or may not be able to relate to. And if a lot of ignorant, naive boys want to make a joke out of it, if we’re in a position to do so we must use our smart skills to show that the joke’s on them.

    If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault, you can speak to Rape Crisis or Solace. For additional information, have a look at Rights of Women

    If you have a story you would like to share anonymously, please email or DM me on Twitter for the anon account log in details. Thank you.

  2. Rape: it’s not a punchline

    February 2, 2012 by Anon

    Following the piece condoning rape (and its subsequent ‘apology‘) a couple of our members have chosen to share their experiences of rape anonymously (second post to follow tomorrow). Please be aware this piece could be considered triggering.

    Recently the website, Facebook page and Twitter of “Uni Lads” has been getting quite a lot of attention.

    One snippet came from an article where the writer:
    a) used the word “slut” like it was acceptable,
    b) made a homophobic joke,
    c) suggested that as only 85% of rapes were reported a boy had pretty good odds and
    d) stated they didn’t condone rape unless “surprise” was shouted.

    Unsurprisingly, the article spread over Twitter. People were understandably disgusted. Even Frankie Boyle was appalled by what they wrote. I think it’s fair to say that when you’ve managed to offend Frankie Boyle, you’ve crossed a serious line.

    Soon after, people started checking the website. I can’t quite decide what my favourite article was. The one where a boy boasted about vomiting over a women after she came on her period during sex? The one where a boy, fearing that the women he was having sex with wouldn’t take the morning after pill, elbowed her in the crotch and looked for chairs/tables to smash over her stomach, before saying that he wasn’t going to put any money into buying the morning after pill because it was her that might get pregnant? Or the article where a boy takes pride in the fact he has “revenge” on a woman who sobered up enough to realise she didn’t want to sleep with him on night one?

    The level of misogyny is almost impressive. If a girl is ugly, she’s not worth fucking. If she is good looking, all she’s good for is fucking (as long as she knows her place). If a woman actually enjoys sex she is a slut/whore/slag and you should think twice before going anywhere near her.

    So, the whole site made me sick to my stomach. But it’s the rape bits that made me spend last night shaking with fear and tears. When Uni Lads apologised for the article on the Facebook page, floodgates opened. Any hope of a meaningful apology was destroyed by the comments beneath.

    “It’s not rape if you say surprise, that’s surprise sex.”
    “When people ask me what I do I tell them I test rape alarms. It sounds better than saying I’m a rapist!”
    “Still, NO means YES!”
    “I called that Rape Advice line earlier. Unfortunately it’s only for victims.”
    “The person who complained deserves to be raped.”

    Now, I read articles with trigger warnings with no problems. I don’t have nightmares. I don’t have issues with consensual sex nowadays. In fact I lead a totally normal life. But this casual acceptance of and joking about rape was enough to, for one night, unwind eight years of “coping”.

    Okay. When I was 13, my then-boyfriend lay on top of me (he was a rugby player and I was short and chubby. I couldn’t move) and he told me calmly that if anyone came in now or heard about this they would think that I was a dirty slut and hate me forever. My world changed. This was my first boyfriend and in my head everything was going to be walks in the countryside and happy-happy lovey-dovey. Not him warning me not to make a noise and then slapping me across the breasts when I whimpered as he took my virginity.

    I didn’t cry. I didn’t have PTSD. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, actually. Oh, apart from the fact that I spent the next five to six years doing every I could that was sexual.

    I went online and read/wrote erotica like crazy. I went into internet chat rooms and had cyber sex with strangers. Any boy that would kiss me, I kissed. Any boy that would go further, I would go further with. I had sex with anyone that would have me – the “worse” the better. One-night stands with my best friend’s slightly-younger-than-me brother? Meeting strangers several years older than me from the internet for kinky sex? Having sex with my boyfriend in the morning and his best friend in the evening? No problem! Anything I could do that would make that first instance of rape seem trivial.

    I never told anyone the full extent of it. How could I? This was before I realised that it was okay for a woman to enjoy sex; I believed my rapist when he said I was a dirty slut and I seemed determined to prove it.

    The tipping point came when I was in the bedroom of someone over a decade older than me, tied to a bed and being beaten with a ruler. No-one knew where I was really; I was 300 miles from home but I had lied to my friends and family about where I was staying that night. Maybe it was self-preservation kicking in, but I realised something had to stop. I left, broke contact, tried to become “normal” again.

    It didn’t work. A year later I decided to go after a dangerous looking guy, convinced I could get some filthy sex and make everything OK again. Fortunately he wasn’t dangerous at all and three years later I actually think of him as my saviour. I shiver when I think about what could have happened without him, what I would have done without someone keeping me safe.

    Particularly because I started uni a few months after our relationship started.

    This is why I was so shaken last night. Uni Lads is aimed at and written by boys at uni. If I hadn’t had my boyfriend, if I had been single and still in self-destruction mode, what the hell would have happened to me? I know that most boys aren’t like that. I know that most of the boys at my uni aren’t like that — in fact, one of them was asking his Facebook friends to report the Uni Lads FB page. But what if some of them are?

    What if some of them read Uni Lads? What if they read things like the above articles and think that that’s a cool way to behave? What if some boys at my Uni were the ones commenting on that Facebook apology? What would have happened to me if I’d met these boys — after all, I would have been looking for filthy sex. Could I have been the one being elbowed in the crotch?

    Rape isn’t funny. It just fucking isn’t. I got off lightly and it still ruined my teenage years. Laughing about rape in that way and writing the articles that cause such comments is not helpful. Whilst a 13 year old girl will stay silent because she honestly believes that it is her fault and no-one will believe her, rape jokes need to stop. When you are writing for young men at university who are surrounded by women, rape jokes need to stop. Because as much as most people are smart and lovely, some people are idiots and won’t get the difference between an “out-there” joke and something that’s funny because it’s true.

    Stop saying that rape is anything but appalling, disgusting and life-changing. Just stop.

    If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault, you can speak to Rape Crisis or Solace. For additional information, have a look at Rights of Women

    If you have a story you would like to share anonymously, please email or DM me on Twitter for the anon account log in details. Thank you.