by Poppy Coburn
Friday, 16
April 2021
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07:00

The uncomfortable truth about sex at university

Wherever men and women live together, there will be instances of sexual assault
by Poppy Coburn
Credit: Getty

The expansion of higher education over the last few decades has turned an undergraduate degree into a highly valued coming-of-age ceremony, socialising the newest generation through a combination of binge drinking, boring seminars, scurvy-inducing diets and casual sex. But, for most students, it is also a time of contradictions. While you are given your first taste of freedom, the nastiness of the adult world is kept at arm’s length by the safeguarding network of tutors and administrators. At least, that is what most people believe.

The naming of more than 80 British universities by the anti-rape anonymous submissions site ‘Everyone’s Invited’ speaks to the rot at the heart of our academies. Marketisation has encouraged and rewarded ‘window-dressing’ policies that, while successful in luring in students, fail to actually achieve any material changes.

It is an unfortunate truth that, wherever men and women live together, there will be instances of rape and sexual assault. University is a time of sexual exploration for many young people, some of whom would never have been educated alongside members of the opposite sex before. There is, without a doubt, a kind of moral panic around uncomfortable, fumbling attempts at intercourse that cannot be neatly applied into the victim/predator framework.

Casual, drunken hook-ups do not fit the model of consent presented in university-held classes, where sex is legitimate only if it is between enthusiastic, fully informed and sober adults. Consent classes don’t work, nor do they really need to. The important thing is that they feel good — a totally ineffective, low-cost activity that reaffirms liberal sexual orthodoxy (autonomy reigns above all else, morality and safety be damned).

There is a conflict of interest between university administrators, whose primary goal is to protect the good reputation of their institution rather than the well-being of their students. After all, paying a little hush money to an abused undergraduate is much less taxing than the financial costs incurred from reputational damage. It is unfair and dishonest to force women and girls into a state of hyper-vigilance, always on the lookout for any potential infraction against them while also failing to then support those who come forward.

What good are all the flashy, proudly promoted ‘safe sex’ feminist events put on by universities if tutors relinquish their duties as soon as they have to actually act? Universities cannot both be centres of enlightened egalitarianism and sordid sexual abuse. Parents will not wish to send their children somewhere they may be raped, regardless of the excellent careers service provided and their position on the league tables.

This is an issue far beyond the scope of top universities and elite private schools. All young people are to some extent victimised by a culture that simultaneously exposes them to hard-core pornography and normalises violent sex acts while simultaneously posturing as ‘progressive’ and even ‘feminist’. University is the perfect coming-of-age ritual for our times: a crash-course in cloying sentimentality and safetyism masking the sordid, amoral underbelly of our culture.

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Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago

If you drink a lot of alcohol and then drive a car, it is still your choice and you are held accountable. If you are drunk in an airport, and make a hoax bomb threat, you are accountable.
If you are drunk – and conscious – and you choose sex, perhaps it should still clearly be seen as your choice, whether you are male or female.

Last edited 1 year ago by Waldo Warbler
Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

Brilliantly put, Waldo. If you don’t have maturity to assume responsibility for yourself, you don’t have maturity to leave the house without a chaperone – never mind attending university.
Handling cases of actual assault will always be police work (regardless of the victim’s gender), and university staff is neither qualified nor welcome to do police work. As for the cases that simply do not qualify as assault – and every honest person can tell the difference – we should make it clear that libel is a crime. Full stop.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andre Lower
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

If you don’t have maturity to assume responsibility for yourself, you don’t have maturity to leave the house without a chaperone – never mind attending university.
Oh dear! So all men should be locked up permanently under house arrest, then! Give them ankle bracelets, and don’t let them out without a chaperone. Oooh, sorry—I forgot the 5% who are mature. But who’s going to decide whether they are mature, or just lying through their teeth?
Actually, the more I think about your idea, the more I like it. Give over the public space to women. Take back control! Men, confined to quarters, forthwith! Then all women will have the maturity to leave the house unchaperoned…
Handling cases of actual assault will always be police work … and university staff is neither qualified nor welcome to do police work.
So who handles questions of dismissal, then? The police? Who handles questions of vetting at employment interview? The police? Who handles questions of objectionable and offensive conduct—conduct unbecoming, which fall short of criminal offence? No one?
How’s about the university employing specialist HR people to do just that? You know, those ones everyone else employs. Or are you exceptionally different from everyone else, somehow?

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

This comment perfectly illustrates where you are coming from. If you think only 5% of men are mature you despise men in general, which is an extreme opinion to hold and not worthy of consideration.

This completely undermines your attempt at an academic argument for feminist ideology and progressivism in your second comment/tract.

It would be better by far to have s e xual assault claims investigated by the police, tested in court by lawyers, and only when/if a crime has been confirmed should it be acted on by universities.
People accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty, that is the law in the UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Reply to:
# Your paragraph 1:
It was satire. So your censorious, humourless judgement was inapplicable. Actually I love men. I just find a lot of them very disappointing right now.
#Your paragraph 2:
I wasn’t attempting an academic argument. I was putting forth a position derived from progressive spirituality. I am feminist, but not an ideologue in the sense you mean. My feminism reaches way beyond that currently attained by ephemeral sections of academia which are currently fashionable.
I am progressive, not progressivist. The noun is progress, not “progressivism”. Try using careful language rather than throwaway putdown terms.
My second comment was not a tract. The word is usually used either in connection with adherents of the 19th-century English high-church movement towards primitive sacramental Catholicism (see dictionary), or, these days, a Bible-toting fundamentalist of some kind. It definitely carries the connotation of treatises evangelising illiberal beliefs.
For your information, my work is based in the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. It connotes the polaric opposite of everything you imply. I actually spend much of my time trying to combat the ignorance currently emanating from fundamentalist pentecostalist cults. See my detailed response to Colin Colquhoun below for further information.
So you couldn’t have got it more wrong. It might have helped had you been open-minded enough to ask questions of me, before publicly splattering your embarrassing ignorance over this discussion for all to see. You do yourself no good by this approach.
# Your paragraphs 3 + 4:
You merely repeat facts. You do not advance the discussion by offering further facts/examples or advancing the reasoning. It is magical thinking to believe that if you repeat something often enough that will make it true. Our enlightenment heritage is supposed to have helped us to progress beyond that.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Your attempt at satire definitely misfired, and it might be worth checking that there is not some unacknowledged, buried hostility going on inside you which is why it misfired.

I used the word “tract” because that is how your second comment comes across, like a tract – a short treatise or discourse or pamphlet (OED).

I like some of Steiner’s ideas regarding teaching children very much and he certainly influenced the way I brought up my children.

Facts are well worth repeating you know, they remind us in this instance that what is already in place serves society well.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Are you missing the point deliberately?
Here’s a straightforward question for you: should men be employed to attend university student union voting booths, to ensure that the women voting are sober enough to decide (consent to) who they wish to vote for?
Should women in university car parks need to be assessed by men, to ensure that they seem sober enough to choose (consent) to drive home?

Last edited 1 year ago by Waldo Warbler
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

It was an attempt at satire. May have misfired. See my serious answer below.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Ah. OK, thanks.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

It is wrong to compare two impersonal instances of an individual act of aggression against an abstract target group, with an overwhelmingly personal interaction between two people.
What you are actually saying is that in the first instance, the public is not a person, therefore not conscious, therefore not responsible for anything—only the perpetrator commits an offence, whereas in the second instance, the recipient target of the act is also a person and therefore is accountable for his/her actions.
Accepting that things are different where two individual people, rather than a person vs. a group, are involved, it becomes relevant to consider that traditionally the individual consciousness is held to represent the masculine principle, and group consciousness the feminine principle. Both sexes comprise both principles, but they operate in complementary opposite ways.
In a man, the masculine individualism is turned out towards the world; the feminine side of him lives in his inner nature. In a woman, the feminine group awareness is turned out to the world, and she hides an inner masculine.
Today’s challenge is for each human being to develop their inner nature and so equalise their own expression of these two principles. Put simply, we’re after gentler, more reflective men who have learned how to feel—to feel for others. And we need more resilient, confident women who have developed their sense of self and learned how to assert themselves.
WithIn this conceptual framework, it becomes obvious that if both sexes have developed both principles highly, rape is impossible, since sexual assault involves one individuality overriding the wishes of another.
If, however, as is still the case with the majority of people, the outer nature is more developed than the inner, then clearly women are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis men in asserting themselves and offering individual consent or refusal. They will be prone to being overridden. Differences in physical strength and adverse cultural conditioning simply add to this initial disparity.
From this standpoint, successful psychological and educational strategies would include, at the level of the single human being, both maximum encouragement and support for girls to develop a stable, resilient, independent selfhood, and premium emphasis for boys to attain to a gentle flesh and inner compassion for others.
At the level of society, it becomes more urgent than ever to cease spouting the meaningless abstraction “all cultures are equal”—a mumbo-jumbo which has brought an otherwise essential, diverse and wonderful multiculturalism into disrepute—to stop opining and start looking seriously, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali urges, at real facts on the ground. Cultures differ. At this point in time, some are more conducive to positive future human evolution than others. Every culture has its high point, its day; then it wanes, and the focus shifts elsewhere. Cultures need to be assessed against the touchstone of real knowledge, not fashionable ideologies nor blancmange motherhood statements.
We do not hesitate to assess individuals on various measures—of physical prowess, intellect, social skills, artistic ability, spiritual aptitude, etc.. Argument may arise, rightly, from time to time, as to the adequacy of some measures, but the principle of assessing and formIng judgements is not contested.
When it comes to cultures, however, a peculiar resistance arises against assessing, then forming judgements regarding, those who are “not like us”, in certain areas. Okay for the food—no one will try to deplatform you for hating Greek cooking! And Anglos for the most part wear the criticism that English cooking is close to death quite amicably.
But try criticising religion, or sexual attitudes, and a plethora of unexamined instinctual animosities explodes instantaneously. Why? Because some aspects of some cultures have had their day! Some features have passed their use-by date in their old traditional forms. And other aspects of other cultures are still at embryonic or kinder stage, trying hard to grow, the future stretching out before them, Then again, some cultures, like the modern West, are at peak creativity in some respects, or have already matured and are now approaching decline in other ways. No culture is monolithic and none is forever.
Cultures need to be assessed, in all their details, against the relevance of both their geographical place and their belonging in time. That way, true progress might be possible.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

All that seems very complicated indeed. I think that you should first focus on simple things, like not asking people who’ve experienced domestic violence what they did to “make” the person attack them.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

I have experienced domestic violence. Serious, and over many years, as a child. And it wasn’t from a woman. The woman just sat by and watched it happen, then made excuses for him.
I have also worked in the tertiary sector, again over an extended time, both as a university lecturer and in senior management on the administrative side.
So I have in-depth, firsthand experience and qualifications in both aspects of the issues raised in this article. That is why I chose to contribute to this discussion.
I experienced your last comment as both arrogant and patronising: that is to say, from my perspective on the receiving end, you were indulging in unconscious “mansplaining” on the basis of your untested presumption that you knew better than me. You would have done better to ask some questions if you did not understand me, rather than condescending to advise me when you were not in a position to do so. You actually knew less than nothing about me when you made that response. It never occurred to you even for a moment that I might share similar abuse experiences, did it?
Your response actually made me want to attack you. Does that tell you anything?
Women tend to want to attack men when they experience them as being unreasonable, pigheaded, stubborn, arrogant and authoritarian (that’s in addition, of course, to the behavioural repertoire of varieties of physical and sexual violence).
But don’t worry, I have my attack response well under control. That comes from years of huge expenditure of time and energy in learning to deal with my historical abuse issues. Have you made a similar personal investment in healing? It seems you have had some counselling?
You suggest I should “first” focus on “simple things”.
My whole point is that male commenters here are trying to make something that is inevitably, unavoidably, extremely complex, seem simple:

  1. The classic male “smart Alec” syndrome is very much in evidence, as is
  2. the other classic male avoidance mechanism of trying to confine everything to heady ideas, wrapped in comforting all-enveloping theoretical abstractions and hence secured against any hint of intrusion by the threatening requirement to consciously engage one’s feelings.

This stuff is complex because it is about life, the universe and everything. Jargon, formulaic prescriptions, slogans, propaganda, only serve to distract and hinder from attaining to solutions. Case-by-case assessment is needed, an approach which recognises the unique needs of each individual within a context of the maximum flexibility that is practically possible in a given environment.
So, for instance, I would advocate strongly for students to have the option of first recourse to a university counselling service, which must be adequately funded and have specialist expertise easily available to it. Why? Because this minimises time delay for on-campus issues, and time is of the essence. But also because counselling provides an empathetic, private environment which is far more conducive to positive outcomes than the necessarily formal, legalistic police procedure.
That is to say, then, that those who advocate going straight to the police are actively trying to cut out the real options for human support and caring. They don’t want to know about pastoral care. But I say, an education devoid of pastoral care isn’t an education at all. It doesn’t have to be the tutor/lecturer, but it could be them in cooperation with the counselling section. Flexibility is the keyword.
My attempt to offer a practical way forward showed a complexity that isn’t necessarily hard to understand. It is based in a lifetime’s work in progressive spirituality, the last 20 of which have been based in the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner, focussing on positive human futures. That’s the final thing you need to know about me and the qualifications/experience that underpin my contributions here.
If you are interested in any aspect of this complexity, much of Steiner’s work can be found online at RSArchive.org. Steiner, who lived around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, was a high initiate in the western esoteric tradition. He brought in the latest update in esoteric teachings about the Universal Christ of Love, and Life, the Universe and Everything. Steiner gave thousands of lectures, wrote many books, and introduced all sorts of applications of his teachings, such as Waldorf education, biodynamic farming, etc. He was a polymath and renaissance man of the first order. You may be interested to hear that his teachings were specifically designed for modern secular Westerners.
Have to go now… take care.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

I hope Colin will forgive me for interjecting here.

Penelope, you obviously have a lot of experience and knowledge but you come across, to me at least, as very angry underneath. Perhaps you need to give your own self more attention. I’m sorry that you suffered abuse as a child, that’s terrible, I hope you are getting long term, ongoing help to deal with that because it is not easily healed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Thanks for your thoughtful response.
Yes, I am angry, but I have learnt to switch it off or on as required by the situation. In other words, I have it under control as a result of long practice.
When I allow myself to switch it on, as in my comments here, it’s not the out-of-control anger that beats someone to death, but rather, the anger that overturns the tables of the money changers in the house of the Lord.
We have had a patriarchal culture now for about 4000 years. Civilisation is at a critical juncture where a shift to a new feminine awareness, accompanied by leadership from women, is now urgent.
Labelling people, e.g. as “woke”, and abstract generalisations about either sex, just don’t help move things forward. It’s inevitable that many men now feel really challenged to change their long-established, comfortable behaviours; and it’s equally certain that many women who also find change difficult will abuse their newfound power sometimes by resorting to atavistic “feminine wiles”.
But rather than retreating into rigid polarity conflicts, hurling mutual abuse and recriminations, it is vital that discussion avoids jargon and abstraction and tries hard for thoughtful empathy.
I will confess to impatience, though. One of the problems with dealing in human futures is that you’re never in the comfortable mainstream. It can be very frustrating that others find it so hard to see what to oneself is obvious. But then patience of a saint isn’t always the most fruitful approach either, since there’s none so blind as them that don’t want to see!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Penelope. You make some very interesting points. However you have gone on to the attack in quite an extreme way a couple of times now, seemingly based on little provocation. And unfortunately using the modern ‘woke’ method of screaming victimhood as soon as anyone disagrees, or indeed, even questions anything you say.

I am also a little suspicious of the idea that any one person, idea or movement should be put on a pedestal as you do with Rudolph Steiner. It ends up seeming quasi-religious. A lot of harm has come about through that form of followership. Most of what Freud said, for example, is unscientific bunkum.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I feel obliged to reply to you, but I barely know where to begin. Let me try, and see where that leads us.
First, my overall appraisal of the comments on this article:

  • they were overwhelmIngly from men
  • they were strongly, almost without exception, negative in their appraisal of women’s behaviour
  • the couple of women posting followed the male line virtually without demur
  • taken overall, they were radically unbalanced in favour of one narrow point of view chosen from among a number of other equally justifiable possible positions
  • taken overall, the commentary was of a very poor standard, both intellectually and emotionally, which meant that prescriptions for action were correspondingly inadequate.

My overall reaction to the totality of the comments was, accordingly:

  • as a woman reading it all, I felt my sex was being unfairly attacked and unjustly condemned out of hand by what seemed to be a spontaneously convened kangaroo court
  • abstract intellectual thoughts proceeding purely from the head were functioning as an avoidance mechanism in order that difficult feelings centred in the heart could be avoided, or, alternatively, such thoughts were functioning as an unconscious cover-up device to hide emotions which were the real motivation behind the apparently cool, superficially objective theorising
  • so much unexamined resentment was pouring out at the mere hint of a legitimate opening—Who needs men’s groups to let it all out, when we have the comment section of Unherd?

So—what you see as my “extreme attack” resulting from “little provocation”, was experienced by me as I composed it as an entirely reasonable assertion of alternative viewpoints in the face of an overwhelmingly narrow, unfair male attack on my sex.
Subjectivity! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, unless you adduce supporting facts and evidence, and engage in reasoned empathetic argument and debate in support of your position.
But when you come out with phrasing such as:

  • using the modern ‘woke’ method of screaming victimhood as soon as anyone disagrees, or indeed, even questions anything you say

I tend to think you are more interested in:

  • labelling–”woke”, “victimhood” (loaded terms), and
  • arbitrarily judging others—screaming “as soon as anyone disagrees”, or “even questions anything you say” (you do not know that), and
  • hence dismissing them out of hand (no evidence, no argument), than
  • genuinely engaging and interrogating the issues.

I will respond separately to your subsequent remarks regarding Rudolf Steiner, since this response is already overly long.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I am also a little suspicious of the idea that any one person, idea or movement should be put on a pedestal as you do with Rudolph Steiner. It ends up seeming quasi-religious. A lot of harm has come about through that form of followership. Most of what Freud said, for example, is unscientific bunkum.
I admire Rudolf Steiner and think him important.
This is for the entirely ordinary reason that I have found him to be the best teaching path for modern westerners.
I searched the planet and sampled offerings over many years (spiritual paths, religions, cults) so was well placed to make that final assessment. Subsequent experience of his work has fully justified my choice.
This was no different from, say, wanting to do aeronautical engineering, surveying the field as comprehensively as possible, then choosing the course that seemed best.
For your information, I tend to avoid the word “follower”, since it has acquired a pejorative sense these days, indicating blind faith and latterday cults. I spend a lot of my time trying to mitigate the baneful effects of these outfits on modern society.
Steiner called his teaching “spiritual science”, and it is just that: it builds on our Enlightenment heritage, applying scientific method to spiritual worlds within those worlds, and accepting and engaging in the natural sciences in their domain of this physical world.
Steiner designed his teaching specifically with the modern secular westerner in mind. There are no gurus, no authoritarianism, no dogma, no creed, just guidance in a context of personal freedom and responsibility. You may be surprised to hear that critical questioning is the sine qua non of the path Steiner taught. You don’t get far if you just sit back and suck it all up uncritically.
Here’s a link to Steiner’s critique of Freud and Jung, in case you’re interested:
https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/PsyAnt_index.html

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

When someone discusses an incidence of violence “well what did you do to deserve it” is not an appropriate or sensible response. Certainly not phrased in that way.
Re: your theories and whether I patronised you. Clearly I did, but I think that’s a reasonable response to what you were doing.
I agree, universities are educational institutions and they have a responsibility to care for their students and help them develop morally as well as academically. Two drunken 19 year olds having sex is usually not a police matter, but it might be a matter that they need help with.
But right now, it’s just too difficult for staff to get involved in that. They just aren’t in a position to any more. It’s not safe. Often it’s not even welcome. There is councelling but they need to take care too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Colquhoun
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

I accept that things have changed. And perhaps only properly situated and supported counsellors are secure in undertaking pastoral work these days. But the need for pastoral care won’t go away, and turning our backs on students only makes it worse. I think we have to stick it out. There is really no alternative.
Certainly, blaming women for getting really angry, as the majority of men commenting in this space appear to be doing, is a waste of time and gets us nowhere. Right now, here today in our shared present, when women complain of violence, the first thing they’re too often asked is, “What did you do to deserve it?” The comments from a couple of women on this thread are a very revealing case in point. So I guess I was trying to wake people up by turning the tables, making a complementary opposite point. It appears not to have worked. Which in itself is very depressing.
It is the increasing tendency to hardened black-and-white polaric extremism that is the real problem in my view, not women or men or neoliberalism or cancel culture or any specific thing. It’s not even identity politics per se that’s the culprit, but rather the increasing tendency to form an identity from hardened intolerances and exclusions.
The only question worth asking, in my view, is: Why is the glue that bonds society cracking and fracturing; why are relationships on every level coming unstuck? Why are we falling apart rather than coming together?
Oh—and of course, drastic funding cuts everywhere have only made things worse.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Quote: “If, however, as is still the case with the majority of people, the outer nature is more developed than the inner, then clearly women are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis men in asserting themselves and offering individual consent or refusal. They will be prone to being overridden. Differences in physical strength and adverse cultural conditioning simply add to this initial disparity.”

I don’t wish to pick holes in a thoughtful contribution on the basis of a singular word, but you say “They [women] will be prone to being overridden.” I would say “capable of being overridden,” as I do not believe that it is likely. Most men do not have sex with women when she says she does not want it.
My concerns here are based on having a young son who is not very far from university age. To brief him properly about what he will experience will entail ensuring that he never fully trusts women, and to warn him that a woman spurned can ruin his life.
There exist, specifically, two egregious threads of potential injustice:
1.) That accusations made may result in the man’s ruin absent any guilt or prosecution. This is unjust, and may be why so many commentators are stating that this should only be a police matter. I would add to this that the piece in the latest Spectator, about how organisations should have a duty of care towards the accused is thoughtful and (depending on how accomplished) probably a good idea.
2.) The concept of “she can’t consent if drunk” is an assured basis for injustice. It enables consent to be withdrawn retrospectively (only by a woman, though) on the grounds that alcohol was involved. This notion is infantilising for women and must be tightened with strict behavioural tests. I have suggested elsewhere in this column that a useful test is “was she physically capable of leaving and driving a car, and being stopped and prosecuted for drunk if she did so.” It cannot be right that she can responsible for her decision to drive but not her decision to have sex.
When these are combined with the current social milieu (which portrays men as predators) and an apparent steadfast refusal to take account of solid research on proven false-allegation rates (small, but significant) any young man must be tempted to have discrete recording equipment in his bedroom (clarification for the dimwitted – I am not advocating that).

Last edited 1 year ago by Waldo Warbler
Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago

All this is fascinating at the moment. I was talking to my psychologist last week. The NHS provides me with a psychologist following a physical attack by a woman which left me hospitalized for a couple of weeks. She (the psychologist) pointed out that I was most definitely “sexually harrassed” by a woman at university 20 years ago. She followed me everywhere, burst into my room all the time, jumped on me, spat on me, said I was “all mouth and no trousers”, winked at me, ate pills at me. Finally she followed me home i.e. to my absent parents house in another city. She was all over me. I was uncomfortable. But I was also tempted. Because I’m male. But I certinaly did not sleep with her. I put her in the spare room and that was that. Back at university she lied and told everyone I had. Since she had a boyfriend that caused problems for me.
The thing is: although it was uncomfortable, I’m really not sure it was such a big deal. She was just infatuated. University is a high pressure environment. She was unhappy. I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t think anyone’s life needed to be ruined over it. I don’t know what I did to lead her on. Very probably I did flirt with her. We were in the same social circles.
I think we all need to calm down. In 2021 I, rather than her, would stand quite a big chance of getting in trouble over that incident. There has got to be a better way to handle this stuff which is inevitable as the author points out, and also expected. University students are adolescents. I think the adults need to step in, but unfortunately Universities are full of children at the moment. And I don’t mean the students.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Colquhoun
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

I’m curious: just what is it that makes women want to attack you, do you think?

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

> what makes women want to attack you…

Being rejected?

Hell has no fury as a woman scorned…

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Kriens

Yes, agree. Rejection by a man is a major problem with women who are still trying hard to establish a secure sense of self. Their vindictive jealousy of other women is also infamous.
But there’s more… over to you. What are all the rest of the reasons a woman might attack? Let’s balance up and round out this list.
Here’s my offering: when a woman is under bullying verbal assault, she may lose her temper under extreme provocation..

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

What are the things a woman does that might make a man attack her? Or is that a disallowed question?
The question is, in my view, legitimate for either sex – partly because it is worth knowing how to avoid provoking another person.
Unfortunately, the stupid (see The Guardian) mistakenly see this avenue of inquiry as somehow attempting to justify assault.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

I think the problem is that that avenue is indeed often used to justify assault. People who attack others very often blame them for what they have done, and that blame is part of the attack. It’s not separate.
It’s better to find a way to phrase it that does not imply that the person who has been attacked is responsible for the attack.
Let’s a say a young woman is walking around in skimpy clothes. I don’t know about you Waldo, but I am easily able to resist the temptation to sexually assault her. Whether or not I assault her is my responsibility not hers. Even if she is stark naked.
Clearly walking around in skimpy clothes is not always a good idea, and she would be naive to imagine it doesn’t increase her chances of being assualted. But still, the idea she did something to “make” someone attack her is simply wrong.
Family conflicts are more complex, but there to, it’s almost always a feature of family bullying that the person being bullied is also blamed for it. That is part of the bullying. So that’s why it’s not advisable to ask what “made” the bully do it. Generally speaking, their own inadequacy made them do it.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

However, it can be helpful if someone is repeatedly bullied, for the victim to get help and advice, from a counsellor for example, to develop ways of being that will make them less likely to be bullied in the future.

I agree that bullying is always the fault of the bully but it is worth the victim taking back some agency if they can.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Agreed. Especially if it happens over and over with several different people. It’s very complicated. There are definitely women who are attracted to physically violent men and even encourage them. They should maybe try to take more control of their own lives. I don’t know, I’m not them. I really think it does usually boil down to the bully just being a bully. There’s different ways to be a bully. Sometimes women do it, and they do it differently to men. But none of it is necessary. It’s animalistic. I watch monkey behavior. That’s how to understand it I think.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago

I agree with you – I would not think to assault a woman even if she was naked. But as you say, walking around naked in a busy city is (i.) likely to get you arrested and (ii.) likely increases your chance of assault.
There seems to be a widespread confusion (not accusing you of this) between describing what is likely and describing what is moral good. If I leave my wallet out on the dashboard of an unlocked car, it is morally reprehensible for someone to steal it. It remains a foolish thing for me to do.
It is always worth assessing what might have been going on in the run-up to assault of any kind – not to justify, but to explain and perhaps to help avoid in the future.
In the drugs world, this strategy is called harm reduction. In the realm of sexual actions, the parlance seems to have gone all Nancy Reagan: “just say no.”

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

I think it is more true to say “Rejection by a man” or woman is a major problem with someone of the opposite s e x who is “still trying hard to establish a secure sense of self”, it works both ways.
Jealousy and spite are seen in both s e x es.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

I think there is a difference.
Rejection upsets women who are insecure in themselves. “He doesn’t love me!”
But with men, it’s very often an over-developed sense of self-importance that causes rejection to give offence. “How dare she give me the push!”
The sexes are not carbon copies of each other. The sense of self is less well developed in women overall. Emotions are less well developed in men overall.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Well, I’ve only been physically attacked once. It was because I did well at work, and she was jealous and controlling. Domestic violence is about control. Women are generally more verbal in their abuse methods (and frankly I prefer violence, because it’s easier to understand and escape from), but they will use violence if they get really desperate. She pushed me down the stairs.
You do know that the way you put that is an outrageous question, don’t you? She did it because she’s weird. I didn’t “make” her.
It’s very common, usually unreported and almost never discussed. Hospital staff know about it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Colquhoun
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

Yes, I did know I put an outrageous question to you. I was trying to provoke you into entering a discussion, because your comment interested me as well as annoying me. Sorry! But it did work…
My sympathies for your awful experience of my sex.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
1 year ago

“University is the perfect coming-of-age ritual for our times: a crash-course in cloying sentimentality and safetyism masking the sordid, amoral underbelly of our culture”
Marvellous.
Thank you

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

A fine point: there’s no such thing as “amoral”.
The capacity to be moral is inborn, just like the capacity for speech. It is either developed or not. If developed, that may be in a positive direction or not.
If a thing is not moral, then it is immoral.
“Amoral” is an academic weasel word developed to let people who should know better off the hook. A vile pretense at some abstract objectivity that in fact does not exist.

Martin Price
Martin Price
1 year ago

Universities do not need to deal with claims of assault and rape. That is what the Police and the courts are meant to do.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

This part is brilliant:

It is an unfortunate truth that, wherever men and women live together, there will be instances of rape and sexual assault. […] There is, without a doubt, a kind of moral panic around uncomfortable, fumbling attempts at intercourse that cannot be neatly applied into the victim/predator framework.

Casual, drunken hook-ups do not fit the model of consent presented in university-held classes, where sex is legitimate only if it is between enthusiastic, fully informed and sober adults.

For the rest, what does the author actually recommend? Does she think that university students should be free (and responsible) like adults, or protected (and restricted) like children?

As for ‘supporting the victims when they come forward‘ – accused and accusers, fumblers and fumblees are *both* attached to the university, and the university has a duty of care to both. You cannot divide them into poor victims and evil harassers until after the case has been tried.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
ralph bell
ralph bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think student should be treated as the adults that they are. There will always be varying levels of independence and maturity in students and treating them all like 6th form students is not the answer. Most students are not in hall but live independently in shared flats/house and just attend lectures/tutorials, with no paternalistic or pastoral guidance from University staff. In my day there was the University suport line(run by students) and the counselling centre where any serious offenses should be adivsed to be taken to the Police. I don’t think University staff have the skills or background to be making punitative decisions about allegations from students.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Although adults might attend university, it’s not really adulthood, and it’s not set up to be. The main activity is teaching. It’s more like a half way house.
These are charged and confusing times. Absolutely if you are teaching undergraduates you ought to be capable of some level of informal pastoral care. That used to be part of the job.
I agree lecturers don’t have the skills or background to be making punitive decisions about sexual conduct. But those ought to be a last resort.
The readiness to condemn clueless, frightened young people of both genders (or indeed some combination of genders, or total absence of gender or whatever the case may be) for what is mostly quite normal, or certainly perennial, behaviour is causing harm.
As the author seems to suggest, this is mostly about reputational control not student welfare. They are actually still kids in pracice and what they need is guidance and calm. I think University tutors and lecturers are capable of providing that informally, but are actually prevented from doing so these days.
I work in a government lab, but as a scientist the overwhelming majority of jobs available to me are in universities. Even where I do work, I interact with graduate students. Although I’m entirely capable of it, I would never discuss this with them in case I got in trouble, which is enitrely reasonable of me.
Something is wrong with that situation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Colquhoun
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

There is a simple halfway house: call in an academic colleague whose maturity and morals you trust, preferably of a different sex from yours; explain to the distressed student that this is for everyone’s benefit; then proceed to offer said pastoral care, in a double dose because there’s two of you.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

It’s not worth it, and it sounds intimidating for the student.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

I think student should be treated as the adults that they are. There will always be varying levels of independence and maturity in students and treating them all like 6th form students is not the answer.
Surely to god you didn’t get a degree with that level of illogic?
If students have varying levels of independence, surely treating them all as adults is just as misguided as treating them all like children? How about trying to think beyond basic black-and-white polarities?

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yet male suspects are named while the identities of supposed victims are protected. This happened to a young guy while I was at Uni. If, as often happens in these cases, the boy is found innocent and the girl was deemed to have had morning after second thoughts (happens all the time), or worse, is being knowingly vindictive (rare but not unknown) then for him, possibly irreversible damage has already been done.
As for the standard feminist argument that suspects must be named so that other possible victims are encouraged to come forward, I don’t buy it. It looks like a recipe for a witch hunt. If he’s convicted and then named fair enough, any other victims can come forward and he can be tried again.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Also if the girl is named she may be a stalker type -as Colin had-who gets obsessed with people and they can be dangerous. It would probably be best not to name either party until someone is convicted. However if accused is found not guilty the accuser should have a false/failed accuse listed on their record (so if they start to increase the police will know something is a bit strange ) and where it is clearly malicious should themselves be charged.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I don’t know that she was a stalker. That’s my point. We’ve all had unrequited feelings. I’ve never spat on anyone for not being interested in me, that was pretty memorable. I agree with the author, we are not handling normality well, and that makes things harder not easier for victims of genuine assault. I definitely think both parties should be secret. How to assess whether someone is a victim of an assault is tricky. I would suggest we might know it when we see it but I accept that’s unhelpful in terms of the law. But “believe all women” is monstrous. I thought Germane Greer made a useful remark about all this. I don’t want to repeat what she said, she’s a woman so she can say it. I’m not. I don’t know.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

I’m not an analyst or anything and obviously know nothing about your life but I think you might be too kind and easy going and are not setting boundaries for what is acceptable behaviour (spitting isn’t ) and possibly attracting the wrong kind of person if you got attacked. In some of these cases which get to court the people involved seem to be sending out the wrong signals to each other and young people today seem to be very rude , instead of just making a polite excuse they get all angry or accusing.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I’m not that easy going. We knew each other as members of a social group, so we had enough contact that her emotions were genuine, not insane. She didnt persist past the point where it really had to stop. She shouldn’t have lied but we were all very young and I really think thats the important point here.

naillik48
naillik48
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Don’t forget – being seen to be a ‘ victim ‘ can be quite attractive in itself for some .

Last edited 1 year ago by naillik48
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  naillik48

There does seem to be cases where a girl has made accusations to her friends-which she doesn’t really mean, she is just being dramatic, and then finds herself going through the legal process.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

What actually happened to the young guy you mention? Was irreversible damage done?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

what does the author actually recommend? Does she think that university students should be free (and responsible) like adults, or protected (and restricted) like children?
They are teens, hence ‘tweens. So treat them accordingly: a little more freedom than kids, but somewhat more protection than adults.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

Its amazing how the Human race coped for all those years . Things are ridiculous when one has to advise a young man to never go to bed with a girl who has had a drink lest she complains she couldn’t consent because she was inebriated- thus he and she had a perfectly nice evening -and in the morning he is on a charge of rape. Because the law now says someone inebriated cannot give consent and the lady claims she therefore didnt consent .
Some might say that getting into bed with someone and taking your clothes off is consent. But apparently it is not . And thinking it is is wrong apparently.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Cameron
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Admittedly it is getting very confusing and all, but it not quite that bad. Witness the Ched Evans case, where the judge held that you could in principle be too drunk to remember the next day, but still be sober enough to give consent (or at least to make the accused credibly believe that you did). Sure, being accused is no fun (and neither is getting raped), but I do believe that it takes more than a couple of drinks and someones unsupported word to get a man convicted.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

They don’t have to be convicted to have their career ruined.
‘There’s no smoke without fire’!
I know of a number of cases where the accused was proven without any doubt that they were innocent, but still people believe they are guilty.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

I also feel that it could be quite scary (were it not that me’ dancin’ days are over, as it were). But these things are not fun for any of those involved. Not sure things have tipped over quite as far as William Cameron seems to think

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

They don’t have to be convicted to have their career ruined.
That applies to men. For women, their lives can be ruined merely by the whisper of a suspicion. That whisper destroys their reputation. It’s called s**t-shaming. Why don’t you care about women?
‘There’s no smoke without fire’!
That applies to men, too. Why do you only point the finger at women?
I know of a number of cases where the accused was proven without any doubt that they were innocent, but still people believe they are guilty.
Yes, it happens all the time to women, too. Why do you only care about men?
Why do you hate your own sex so much? Who taught you always to take the man’s part?
You remind me of the reaction of many women here in Australia when, some years ago, a young mother was falsely accused of murdering her own baby. Her name was Lindy Chamberlain, and her case became an international celebrity.
I vividly remember my then-husband’s aunt holding forth with venom against the accused. Of course she did it! Unsubstantiated by any facts, the vituperation and hatred gushed forth, conditioned by aeons of brainwashing and cultural conditioning. Later it was proven that the baby had been taken by a dingo. But Lindy’s life had been ruined, as much by the reaction of her own sex as by anything else. And has my family aunt apologised? No way!
Several cases of dingo theft have occurred since. The aunt still does not apologise. The persecution by a bigoted male-sexist police was as nothing compared to the witch-hunt to which Lindy’s own sex subjected her, and continues to subject her. These women do not apologise.
That aunt of mine shared a characteristic in common with group-think women of all cultures—those elders who kidnap young girls in North Africa to excise their clitorises without consent… the Protestant witch hunts of New England… the Meghan-haters of today’s online social media… these proto-women at root hate their own sex.
Is it not bad enough that women have been subjected historically to endless abuse, without their own sisters piling in on them when, at last, they see some small hope of freedom and equality?

Last edited 1 year ago by Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

If someone is drunk, it is considered irresponsible and wrong for them to drive. Good friends of the drunk person look to protect them from themselves by calling a cab.
But you think it’s perfectly okay not to protect the drunk person from themselves when it’s a question of sex rather than driving.
Worse, you claim it’s just fine to take advantage of them while they are drunk, by hopping into bed with them. That’s like hopping into the car with the drunk and egging them on.
Who cares if innocent pedestrians get run over? Who cares if unwanted innocent children result? Who cares if sober regret leads on to later suicide?
You definitely do not get it. Not then, not now. Formerly, you would have been called a cad. Now you’re accused of failing to obtain consent. Hard to see how it could be spelled out more clearly.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
1 year ago

How many drunk women at Uni have gone to bed with a Prince, only to wake up and find a frog?
Regretted it all and – well, we know how some will react.
as long as the definition of rape, and sexual assault keeps expanding things will get worse.
My niece even said that a man putting his hand on her arm at a coffee machine would constitute assault. (not if she fancied him, I think)
Friendly gestures are become fraught with dangers. Sad.

Frank Nixson
Frank Nixson
1 year ago

Whenever you put young men and women together there will be sexual tension and frequently sex. Mostly there will be consensual sex. There will be many cases of quid-pro-quo sex (“If you get me promoted, I’ll sleep with you” ). But there will be some cases of rape and some cases of false accusation of rape. This has been the case with humans since the beginning of history and will be until the end. That’s why we need due process for all accusations of misbehavior.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank Nixson

quid-pro-quo sex (“If you get me promoted, I’ll sleep with you” )
Er, that’s actually called abuse of power, and it¡s outlawed in all workplaces.

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

> Er, that’s actually called abuse of power, and it¡s outlawed in all workplaces.

I don’t don’t think abuse of sexual poweris outlawed?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Kriens

Yes. It is. Any use of power of one’s position over a subordinate to get them to do things beyond the job description is illegal. That includes everything from getting them to make tea for you to raping them on the office desk. Use of power of one’s position means holding threat of dismissal or damage to career prospects over them. Use then becomes abuse.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
1 year ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

It won’t be stated that explicitly. And many outlawed actions occur frequently.. Ultimately society needs a common standard of morality. Law is not a substitute.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Brigham

We need both morality and the law. Neither is dispensable. They work on different levels.
But there is a thing called “workplace culture”. It is generally agreed that not enough has been done by senior execs in this area to ensure a safe and happy workplace. It is quite possible to create a culture of positive expectations regarding standards of acceptable behaviour in a factory or office. Spelling out the level of good manners, respect and consideration required of staff is not hard. Once a culture is established, most people tend to conform.
From what I read, the situation in Britain is dire in this respect. I currently live in Australia, which deservedly has a very poor reputation. Things got so bad here recently, however, that it all broke out in a nationwide eruption of rage and anger from women who had just had enough. The straw that broke the camel’s back was alleged rape of a ministerial advisor on the couch in a senior cabinet minster’s office. Ramifications have affected all levels of society, from our rotten prime minister and his appalling cabinet and their sexist advisors right down to the suburban office. We have a toxic parliamentary culture underpinned by a radical under representation of women on the conservative coalition side of politics from local membership up to cabinet level.
I can see no reason why universities cannot address the question of workplace culture in just the same way as private industry. Then add extra layers of counselling and allied support specialising in youth work, in recognition that students are not quite fully mature adults just yet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Penelope Lane
William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

The Scots are considering getting rid of Juries in Rape cases. Why ? Because Juries refuse to convict enough. But Juries are real people with real life experience they see through the false claims . And Juries are there to see justice done- not increase conviction statistics.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Indeed. Arguably that is what juries are for, in fact. As it happens, the trigger for making abortion legal in Denmark was that it became impossible to get a jury to convict.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

There may well be some isolated cases of assault. And there are most assuredly a lot of instances of regret which wind up being cast as something else. With genuine assault, there is a criminal justice system already. Multiple unis, certainly in the US, have demonstrated gross incompetence in attempts at adjudicating alleged sexual offenses.
Universities cannot both be centres of enlightened egalitarianism and sordid sexual abuse.
Schools have solved that by being neither. Anyone seeking enlightenment could hardly find a worse atmosphere than an environment steeped in groupthink and a demand for conformity. And few places are safer for young women than a college campus. If that was not the case, no sane father on the planet would willingly put his little girl in one of those places.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Lekas
John Lewis
John Lewis
1 year ago

I’m not entirely sure this stand at Brighton freshers fair is helping.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-be-a-sex-worker-advice-for-freshers-2nhxvlwjf

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  John Lewis

If, as the stand’s organisation says, ‘1 in 6 students does sex work or thinks about turning to sex work,’ and ‘Rising living and tuition costs mean that more students than ever are turning to sex work,’ then advice on safety may be appropriate.
‘The leaflets offer a wide range of advice on techniques for “safer escorting”, including: “If you don’t have anyone to look out for you, fake it! Make your punter think that someone else knows where you are. Pretend to make a call . . . to make it look like you are confirming your arrival . . . put men’s shoes or clothes out.”’ Sounds fairly sensible to me, and the dangers of sex work are implied, if not explicitly stated.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Perhaps they should lower the fees so students don’t have to turn to sex work?!

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

I’d be willing to be that “thinks about turning to sex work” is doing a lot in getting to that 1 in 6 number.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

1.) “1 in 6 students does sex work or thinks about turning to sex work,”
2.) “Rising living and tuition costs mean that more students than ever are turning to sex work.”
The first statement is relatively simple to assess. The second more complex. Has there ever been a time when students were not short of money? I wonder if the explanation for (the rise in) sex work among students is simply shortage of money, or whether de-stigmatising has played a part?

M Spahn
M Spahn
1 year ago

There will certainly always be sexual assault as long as the definition is ever-expanding. Wouldn’t want the greviance industry to run out of raw material. First it was no means no, a very reasonable standard. Then it was “consent.” Then it had to be “verbal consent.” Then “enthusiastic consent.” Now we see young wondering aloud if maybe their partners should have realized they were faking their enthusiastic consent, and perhaps that failure to mind-read consitutes sexual assault.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago

This is a strain of sexual puritanism that permits women everything and forgives men nothing.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Well Brian, this is obviously about power, and we men are known for striving to attain it too – sometimes using dishonesty as well. So while dishonesty is shameful, it exists in both genders.
My concern is more about the long-term consequences of empowering feminist abuse of false rape accusations, such as the increasing detachment of young men from females, required to protect their own future.

David Stanley
David Stanley
1 year ago

Let’s say that I go out, get drunk, meet a woman, invite her back to my place and then we have s e x. If my wife comes home and finds us in bed together and my response is ‘I was too drunk to give meaningful, enthusiastic consent’ what is the likelihood that my wife will feel that I have been raped?
These situations have been happening since time began and no woman has ever viewed it as rape when her husband says he was too drunk to know what he was doing.

simon taylor
simon taylor
1 year ago

Go girl, tell it like it is.

Jim Costello
Jim Costello
1 year ago

These are young adults but they will face adult criminal charges. Universities should explain consent and encourage safe sex to new students, but beyond that the responsibility to deal with sexual assault is best provided by experts. If victims don’t want to involve the police then refer to Sexual Assault Referral Centres and Domestic Violence charities. These specialists support and assess victims, explain options, make referrals to other services such as counselling and legal representatives, and also collect and store evidence.
Teaching organisations should be aware and involved where they can prevent repeat attacks and increase general safety from Sexual violence, but with individuals cases they must defer to specialists.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Costello

Universities should explain consent and encourage safe sex to new students,
Why? Why is the universities responsibility to explain? These are adults – according to law. Over the age of 18. Old enough to help decide the future of the country in an election (or referendum) so they should be old enough to take their own decisions.

Otto Christensen
Otto Christensen
1 year ago

Why an all male choir singing commentary?

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago

Otto, it has been refreshing to read comments of at least one sane, honest woman above. Let’s do our part and cherish it.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
1 year ago

Why an all male choir singing commentary?
A good question. They all crawled out of the woodwork, I think. A chance not to be missed!
But ignoring the one fem Andre Lower references, here I am! Have just spent several hours heroically trying to fill in the gap left by my sisters. Now exhausted.
Maybe my sex is just too cynical and worldly wise these days to take the male comments on this thread seriously? Maybe they think you guys will fight it out between yourselves? Maybe they think, keep stumm while the going’s good?
Your guess is as good as mine, sorry!

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago

Get rid of halls of residence and dorms. You don’t need to live at university to get a decent education.

Earl King
Earl King
1 year ago

I believe I understand the hypocrisy she is enlightening us with. Universities attempts to clearly draw the lines between consensual sex and sex that is not consensual. Universities do not want to be held accountable for rape. In America young men under Obama were thought to be guilty and expelled with no ability to defend themselves. It puts the notion of guilty until proven innocent. Girls were to be believed 100%. However, if drunk sex was to ever be thought of as “NOT” consensual I fear for all of western humanity. Having sex stoned, high or drunk is a right of passage and has been with many generations. Hooking Up is a right of passage at least so my daughters tell me. Boys desperately need it far more than girls….Lots of ego tied up in their penises and what not. The issue of when consensual becomes non consensual during sex seemingly comes about when in mid coitus does the girl say no or “no more”. How are we teaching our young men to understand that no is no. In such a private act at the moment I fear we may be trying to regulate millions of years of evolution….hormones being hormones. I am certain that young women get to a point, while even being drunk, where they say to themselves, “how did I let this get this far”. Alcohol lowers ones guard and judgement ability….But the elimination of alcohol from sex won’t work. Humans want to get high or achieve a state of altered…it apparently is something humans have evolved to do.