Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pro-Rape, Crackbook and The Age

Did everyone catch the story in today’s Age titled: Elite College Students Proud of 'Pro-Rape' Facebook Page?

Interesting read. Crackbook breeds some beauties, doesn’t it?

Look, nothing good can be said of rape, or being “pro-rape”. I don’t care if you’re arguing against aged-based or “statutory rape” laws, as one student claimed; consent is sexy, rape is abhorrent. No other arguments apply.

No, what I want to concentrate on is something I believe reporter Ruth Pollard missed in her look at the atmosphere and attitudes of a college that might lead to the conception of this horrible piece of Crackbook shame.

“The Reverend Canon Ivan Head, who has been the warden of St Paul's College since 1995, said he had no knowledge of the Facebook page before the Herald contacted him, describing it as ''directly contrary to stated college policies'' and acknowledging that ''this could be a site that encourages criminality''.

He said he had received no complaints about the site.

''College officers ... endeavour to listen to gender-based conflict or complaint[s] with compassion, insight and the capacity to refer to relevant legal authorities,'' Dr Head wrote in a statement. ”

Revhead, as I will refer to him, in lieu of the preferred Dickhead moniker, shone some glaring insight on the attitudes of college supervisors, when he referred to rape allegations as “gender-based conflict…” Let that sink in for a moment.

Rape as a “gender-based conflict”.

In one foul swoop, the good Revhead has reduced this heinous act to a comic’s stereotypical laugh-line. Footy vs shoes, is a gender-based conflict. Toilet seat up vs toilet seat down, is a gender-based conflict. Rape is a morally and legally abhorrent perpetration of violation against another person.

(I would also argue here that reducing the definition of rape to the act of a man violating a woman is narrow-minded, ignorant and discriminating to those who experience other types of opposite or same-sex rape, but I’ll refrain, due to the pre-gendered nature of the original Facebook group.)

I believe every person is responsible for his or her own actions, and I am also a strong advocate of not expecting schools to hold the majority of responsibility for teaching morals to youths. Parents lay the foundations of a child’s character and should be responsible for building them into functioning members of our society.

However, kids spend a lot of time in schools, and so a lot of their day-to-day disciplinary actions come from schools. Imagine how violently I shuddered when I saw Revhead’s response.

To think the boys who created this “pro-rape” Facebook group could be brought in front of a man who believes saying “no” to sex holds the same weight as saying “no” to doing the ironing, or that consent is one of those mysterious things women have that men could not possibly understand - such as when they know you’ve been to the pub even though you said you were working late - is terrifying to me and bad news for society as a whole.

Later in the article, Pollard quotes the outgoing master of Wesley College, Reverend David Russell, as saying:

“There is no question in my mind, women are seen as meat. That is the awful, ugly truth of it.''

Unfortunately, Reverend Russell, with the evidence presented here, I totally believe you.

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