This week, Warwick University temporarily suspended 11 students for some of the most abhorrent rape threats I’ve ever been unlucky enough to read. These threats were madein a Facebook group chat entitled: ‘Fuck Women, Disrespect them all’. I’m not going to glorify these boys by detailing what was said, because not only would it make me sick to type them out, but I’m not going to waste my word count on their ignorance. If you do, however, desire to know exactly what was said, the screenshots are easy enough to find online, just prepare yourself.
Violent, unintelligent, uneducated lad-culture ‘banter’ like this is something you wouldn’t expect to find within a university whose motto is ‘Mind Moves Matter’; these minds certainly move nothing but disgust. Conversely, perhaps this type of repulsive, threatening language and behaviour is exactly what you would expect to find within this sphere. Since coming to the University of Edinburgh, another highly ranked, elite school, I’ve encountered more private school boys than ever before in my sheltered state education, and if it’s confirmed one thing, it’s that the more you pay for your education, the more you feel it is your absolute right to do and say whatever you want.
Upper-class male entitlement makes these boys believe that there is no environment in which their voices should not be heard, and at the maximum volume. They don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word ‘inappropriate’, or at least believe that this term could never apply to them, as their lives seem to have been a constant parade of validation. You cannot sit in the library, walk through campus, or participate in a tutorial at an elite university, without having a torrent of these boys speak over everyone else, coming out with the most irrelevant, inconsiderate, uncomfortable content, in a manner that shows how deeply they feel their right to speak, even when what they’re saying has no purpose. Think about that, and then think about how, as a woman, a member of the working-class, a person of colour, or just about anyone who is not these pretentious boys, how much thought you would put behind everything you say in a University environment, for fear of making an irrelevant or unintelligent point.
Now think back to that group chat; how much thought do you think was put into each comment?
Regardless, what those boys at Warwick threatened to do, no matter how little they intended to ever do it, the sentiment must be punished. That kind of rhetoric is not something that should ever be normalised, even in the safest space of a ‘joke’ with friends. Imagine carelessly typing out threats that would make the skins of most crawl, and expecting no consequences – barring the laughter of your disgusting accomplices. If you’re an upper-class white male, you probably don’t need to imagine; you’ve probably spent your whole life feeling that invincible.