Daily Archives: October 24th, 2015

QotD: “what does a rapist look like anyway?”

I was once asked to draw a rapist, for a workshop. Back then, I didn’t know what a rapist did or didn’t look like. Now, thankfully, a man has taken a photo of himself holding up a sign saying, “This is not what a rapist looks like”, and put it on the internet, to help us.

That man is Warwick University student and non-rapist George Lawlor (who is not only not a rapist himself, but also has no known connections to rapist groups). Lawlor was so offended after being invited to a sexual-consent workshop that he penned a furious rebuttal to the organisers, published in online student newspaper The Tab. Meanwhile, rapists, who have now been alerted to the workshops, are upset about not being invited. The room in which the workshop was scheduled to take place is also deeply offended, and has written a piece for Rooms Monthly about how insulting it was to have to host a workshop on sexual consent, the implication being that it was the perfect space for such a discussion, when a sexual assault had never even taken place in its four walls. The room added that, while it accepted that a lot of rapes do happen in rooms, it didn’t mean that all rooms hosted rapes, and that some of the workshops should take place outside as well – in parks, for example. Then some parks read that and were offended as well.

In his article, Lawlor accused the Russell Group University consent teachers of patronising and insulting students, and said the invite felt like a “massive, painful, bitchy slap in the face… It implies I have an insufficient understanding of what does and does not constitute consent and that’s incredibly hurtful.” Then he took that photo of himself, which implies he has an insufficient understanding of what a rapist does and does not look like, and that’s incredibly hurtful not only to rape victims but to rapists, too, many of whom look exactly like Lawlor.

If Lawlor had been handpicked by the consent teachers out of a lineup of 100 male students as the one who looked most like a sexual predator, then I could see why he might feel a bit put out. But he hadn’t. He’d been invited on Facebook, along with many other students. And when you consider that one in three UK female students has suffered some form of sexual assault, ranging from unwanted groping to rape; that the government has deemed universities such an unsafe environment that it has ordered an inquiry into violence against women on campus; and that Oxbridge has introduced consent sessions into freshers’ introductory timetables, the picture begins to look quite different. That’s before you factor in that one in five women between the ages of 16-59 has experienced some form of sexual violence; that of an estimated 85,000 rapes in England and Wales every year, only 1,070 end in a conviction; and that 90% of rape victims know their attacker but only 15% report it. If anyone has a right to be offended, it probably isn’t George Lawlor for being invited along to a sexual-consent workshop.

Bridget Christie

“Petition urges Cardiff University to cancel Germaine Greer lecture”

An online petition has been launched seeking to prevent Germaine Greer from giving a lecture at Cardiff University, claiming her views are “problematic” for transgender people.

The petition on Change.org was started by Rachael Melhuish, women’s officer at the university’s students’ union, and alleges that Greer has “demonstrated misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether”.

The Australian writer is due to speak on 18 November in a lecture called Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century.

Asked about the petition, Greer told the Guardian: “I don’t really know what I think of it. It strikes me as a bit of a put-up job really because I am not even going to talk about the issue that they are on about.

“What they are saying is that because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman I should not be allowed to speak anywhere.”

Greer said that she did not understand the mindset of those who had signed the petition, adding: “I do not know why universities cannot hear unpopular views and think about what they mean.”

The author compared the recent growth of campaigns against speakers as a result of their views on transgender issues to the “Father 4 Justice” movement, which ran a high-profile campaign for improved rights for men denied access to their children.

“They were a right pain in the arse and they did not do their cause any good at all. This is very like that.”

The university, which has invited Greer to deliver the address for the eighth in a series of annual lectures, insisted on Friday that the event would go ahead.

The petition urging the university to cancel the event had been signed by more than 300 people by early Friday afternoon. The university has more than 30,000 students.


The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Colin Riordan, said that it was committed to freedom of speech and open debate. “Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated,” he said.

“This event will be no different. Our commitment to our LGBT+ students and staff members is unwavering and we fully recognise the tremendous benefits of having such a diverse community brings to Cardiff University.

“At Cardiff University we work hard to provide a positive and welcoming space for LGBT+ people and we are in consultation with student and staff groups to ensure that the views of LGBT+ people are represented at our events. We in no way condone discriminatory comments of any kind.”

Greer said that she had seen the university’s statement, which she said was “as weak as piss”.

“If the University of Cardiff cannot guarantee that I will not have things thrown at me then I won’t go there. I can’t be bothered.”

Of her critics, she added: “They think that they are entitled to throw things at me, and then they say that I am inciting violence against transexuals. I have never incited anyone to violence against anyone. I am just fed up with it all. It’s all just froth.”

“I don’t expect people to agree with me. On the other hand I don’t expect them to throw things at me and in the past, in New Zealand I have had things thrown at me and in the end it’s just an internet campaign, which is virtual rather than real.”

She continued: “I just don’t think that surgery turns a man into a woman. A perfectly permissable view. I mean, an un-man is not necessarily a woman. We don’t really know what women are and I think that a lot of women are female impersonators, because our notion of who we are is not authentic, and so I am not surprised men are better at impersonating women than women are. Not a surprise, but it’s not something I welcome.”

No examples of Greer’s alleged positions on transgender people were cited by the petition.

Full article here

QotD: “A letter to … the mother of the boy who raped my daughter”

We must have seen each other at parents’ evenings, we might even have interacted at the school fete. We bump into each other in the shops, you even smiled once in recognition, but you do not know who I am.

You have two boys, I have one of each. Your boys are sporty, my children are bookish. Our children do not attend the same school any more: my daughter and son have moved on to other schools and I guess both my children will fade from your son’s memory.

You are blissfully unaware that anything is amiss: the school refused to intervene unless my daughter pressed charges and the consequence was that she did not pursue her complaint but chose to harm herself instead.

In any case, she said, your son apologised so that was that.

Yet you still do not know. You have been sheltered from all this and it bugs me. Does rape not enter the minds of the mothers of boys?

Boys get raped too. And as logic dictates, although not exclusively, boys tend to do the raping, be it to a boy or a girl, so should you not do your utmost to ensure your son is not one of them?

My daughter was not the only one that your son raped or assaulted and your other son’s reputation as a predator is even worse in the school, so this is no accident of nature. I can only assume you did not teach your boys about consent and I wonder why.

Is rape for you only something that happens in dark alleys? Do you understand the concept of consent? Perhaps you have been taught that boys are stronger and good girls don’t have sex. Perhaps you oblige your husband even when you do not want to. Are your lines so blurred that you failed to teach your boys about the law?

I taught my children the basic principle that sex without consent is not OK. I was keen to drill this into them because, like many women, I myself was raped. I also taught them that you have to pay taxes and not be a fare dodger, regardless of your interpretation of the law.

I do know that rape shapes you, that to get on with life is a choice, and that to choose life is to choose power. I chose not to wrap my children in cotton wool, but took them to martial arts classes instead. I told my daughter to be careful to wear shoes she could run in and told both children that people who are drunk or high can be unpredictable. Yet boys like yours exist and nowadays such boys are the new norm.

My daughter sometimes feels guilty about not going further with the police as your son is free to go on doing what he does. Perhaps the other girls would have had the courage to complain too if my daughter had done so. But one girl did not want her mother to know as she had been drinking on that day, one thought it was just “one of those things” even though your son locked her in when she tried to get away; and the third dares not tell her boyfriend as he might think she asked for it. In any case, my daughter’s friends say that is just how things are nowadays. I am unique in that my daughter told me. None of her friends told their parents.

I have toyed with the idea of suing you personally for damage and loss of earnings as I think this is a language you might understand: between lost working hours for therapy, suicide attempts, abortion, private schooling and self-harm, it tallies … I am angry and I am sad and you, like many other mothers of boys, are just your usual unaware self, merely wondering why I do not smile back.

Then I remember the first unthinkable thing that popped into my head when my daughter told me: it would be so much worse if I had found out my son was a rapist. That I really would not know how to deal with.